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Workers’ Paradise

Tweet [1]

Check out all the great jobs Haitians get to fill by being spared the capital investment made possible by saving, free markets, and free trade. [2] And here [3].  And here [4].  (HT Kerry Dugas)

I sent the following letter a few days ago to USA Today:

Wyclef Jean deserves applause for his efforts to improve the education of Haitian children (“Don’t forget long-term goals for Haiti [5],” July 15).  But in his sensible call for Haitians to focus on the long-run, he misdiagnoses Haiti’s core problem.

Contrary to Mr. Jean’s argument, neither poor education nor a despoiled environment without sufficient trees is at the root of Haiti’s woes.  These troubles – along with Haiti’s inadequate infrastructure – are merely symptoms of a deeper problem, namely, Haiti’s appalling lack of secure property rights and market institutions.  For example, according to the Economic Freedom of the World index*, property rights in Haiti are the least secure in the Americas – less secure than even in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela!*  (Is it, then, any wonder that no one in Haiti has incentives to plant and protect trees?)  Also, according to the World Bank, legally starting a business in Haiti requires, on average, 195 days and costs 228 percent of the average Haitian’s annual income in administrative fees.**

What Haiti needs most is a freer, more-entrepreneurial market based upon the rule of law and secure private property rights.

Donald J. Boudreaux

* James Gwartney & Robert Lawson, Economic Freedom of the World, 2009 [6].

** Ian Vasquez, “Haiti’s Real Crisis Is Poverty,” January 21, 2010 [7].