Other ways to help Haiti

by on January 19, 2010 at 7:35 am in Current Affairs, Economics | Permalink

1. Repeal tariffs on Haitian sugar and lower remaining restrictions on Haitian garment imports.

2. Give expedited approval, in terms of food safety rules, to the importation of Haitian mangoes.

3. Set up a Term Loan Auction Facility for Haitians, or alternatively apply quantitative easing to the market for Haitian mud cakes.  It's worked for every other macro problem.  Alternatively, get out the helicopter, I have heard worse ideas.  Stabilize Haitian nominal GDP!

4. Find someone from the government to give a radio address.

5. In Port-Au-Prince and environs, define squatter's rights.

6. Invite Haitians to occupy the empty homes in the run-down parts of New Orleans.

7. Set up nearby charter cities which would welcome Haitian migrants.

8. Redefine the mission of Guantanamo to help Haiti.

9. Shift the capital to Cap-Haitean, if only temporarily, and build up Cap-Haitien in the meantime.  That may be a better investment than PAP.  As it stands, people will flow into Cap until living standards across the cities equalize.

10. Move Citigroup to St. Marc, which is underbanked (hat tip).

11. Offer special Haitian coffees at select shops, to boost employment in a more or less intact sector of the Haitian economy.

12. Continue military and special operations assistance.  Reconstruct the port as quickly as possible.

13. Let more Haitians enter the United States and organize a consortium to accept refugees.

Addendum: Here is Whirled Citizen, a very good new blog on Haiti, which will eventually turn into a blog on development in general, Africa too.

Ano January 19, 2010 at 8:10 am

6. Invite Haitians to occupy the empty homes in the run-down parts of New Orleans.

I’ve been thinking something similar about Detroit. Everyone says it’s a city built to hold 2+ million people with only 900k residents. Plus, there are already tons of French street names (though with anglicized pronunciation) like Gratoit (“Grashet”) and Cadieux (“ka-jew”). Maybe the nearby Canadians can help us out with our French. So, maybe a million or so would like to come North?

Actually, this is a terrible idea because no one would make it through the first winter here. (It’s probably a bad idea for lots of other reasons too.)

Tori in DC January 19, 2010 at 8:39 am

Definitely agree with moving the capital temporarily to Le Cap — it seems to be relatively unharmed by the quake. In general relocating people to tent cities and hospitals in the North might be a good idea

Andrew January 19, 2010 at 8:42 am

1. Haiti exports was the first thing I googled this morning wondering about sugar.

All the planes have to come back. How ’bout speed approval for adopting orphans.

reader January 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

6) Reminds me of this [http://en.afrik.com/article16794.html] offer.

farmer January 19, 2010 at 9:37 am

with all due respect, trade might be a medium term problem. Note that at present money is useless and water is the commodity people value. So you sell a few mangoes? now what?
imvho, the sooner we stop using the word “Haiti” in the formal sense, the sooner we are accurately mapping reality. “Haiti” as a government unit might simply not be valid now.

KingM January 19, 2010 at 9:54 am

What, don’t Detroit and New Orleans already have enough problems without inviting in a million illiterates?

libert January 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

Tyler said, “10. Move Citigroup to St. Marc, which is underbanked (hat tip).”

Actually, Citi has been in Haiti since the 1970s. See here: http://www.latam.citibank.com/corporate/lahtco/english/index.htm

I only happen to know that because I heard on the news that its Haiti HQ collapsed.

anon January 19, 2010 at 10:05 am

Let Brazil take the lead (Max Boot’s suggestion):

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/boot/218606

David January 19, 2010 at 10:43 am

Neal stole my answer. The best solution (technically, though maybe not politically) is to put Haiti on the route to statehood. Annex it. Make it a UN Trust Territory under U.S. administration. Something. It is, like it or not, America’s problem. If it were American territory it would expedite things by removing problems of sovereignty, immigration, trade, etc…

Carl-Henri January 19, 2010 at 10:47 am

#1: Haiti doesn’t produce sugar since the 1980′s

Bill January 19, 2010 at 10:56 am

How about enlisting architechts to design low cost earthquake proof buildings, contribute the design, and teach people how to build buildings ala Habitat for Humanity.

Next, view this as an opportunity to eliminate urban congestion, and establish cities outside of Port au Prince. Create a city of the displaced and build it around some businesses, such as sewing, etc. Create free trade zones for the cities for them to export to the US products from these certified businesses.

Finally, Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the same island. Why not shared services agreements between both governments, ie, Haiti contracts with DRep for certain services or they joint venture services to achieve economies of scale and diversify their risks from similar events occuring again and one or the other not being able to provide services for their own country.

Dimitri Rotov January 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm

It’s Cap-Haïtien, or as we render it stateside, Cap Hatien. It’s good, when recommending new capitals, to be able to spell your own choice. Puts an added patina of “quality” on those planning masterstrokes.

Mike Walsh January 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm

How about legalizing offshore gambling via Haitian corporations, with license and tax income flowing through Haiti? They would have cash flow in days without any significant changes to infrastructure.

Anderson January 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

6. Invite Haitians to occupy the empty homes in the run-down parts of New Orleans.

I suppose this is tongue-in-cheek, like Haitian immigration or statehood, since nothing else Obama could do, short perhaps of openly announcing his high priesthood in the Church of Satan, could more certainly guarantee his defeat in 2012 and the rout of the Democrats in 2010.

America is a racist country. Always has been.

mulp January 19, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I’ve been thinking something similar about Detroit.

Detroit has water, sewage, power, and gas, services I believe lacking in major parts of New Orleans, so Detroit is a much better choice, along with Flint, et al. But there are also lots of vacant homes in Las Vegas and many rural American farm communities.

For Haitians who have little work experience other than farm and factory labor, the rural America seems a better fit. Food factories are scattered around the region in need of labor for meat packing and other food processing.

Don the libertarian Democrat January 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I’m with Neal and David. Make Haiti a state, subject to a vote…

P Schwartz January 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm

“13. Let more Haitians enter the United States and organize a consortium to accept refugees.”

This might help Haiti but would be terrible overall for the US.

The National Research Council, found that low-skill immigration costs $120.000 per immigrant, in 2009 dollars. That was using the over-optimistic assumption that immigrants 100% converged to natives in 3 generations (not true empirically).

So the fiscal cost of 50% of Haiti immigrating to the US would be $600 billion. That is comparable to the direct costs of the Iraq war so far.

Also, you have to factor in the results of having an underclass and the accompanying crime and welfare problems. This is a really terrible idea.

londenio January 20, 2010 at 1:33 am

I which ways is Port-au-Prince 2010 similar to Berlin 1945? No government, no functioning economy, large number of deaths, despair, occupation by foreign authorities, no utilities, no housing, a city in rubbles. Can anything done back then in post-war Berlin be replicated?

Esperanza January 21, 2010 at 10:08 am

¿Porque no se usa en estos momentos el agua Coloidal o de plata para mitigar los virus e infecciones en Haití?, hay mucha gente en el mundo usando este remedio barato y eficaz
En situaciones así los intereses no deberían existir

babar January 21, 2010 at 11:56 pm

how about making an offer to a large number of unemployed americans that they can move to haiti (not port au prince) for a year or two while continuing to receive US government unemployment benefits in US dollars. the money the americans spend there will be quite welcome, and as they will also be bringing their expectation of a normal civil society with them, they will be setting a process in place for haitians to follow.

Doug1 January 26, 2010 at 3:42 pm

A vast immigration of Haitians would be a disaster for the United States. I’m extremely opposed to it.

People have completely the wrong take on the relative success of most Haitian immigrants in the US, compared to the native black population (though not compared to Asian immigrants). That’s because the Haitians we got, especially those that settled in the north, were mostly fleeing Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, and then some fleeing Aristeed after he in turn turned dictatorial and oppressive of the middle and higher classes. Most Haitians in the US are from mulatto or other middle or higher class origins, because they were oppressed by the Duvaliers. Same thing in Canada, which as well has a rational skills/IQ/wealth based set of immigration criteria far more that the US does.

The average Haitian IQ is 72. It would be a disaster for the US to admit average much less below average Haitians in numbers. A disaster.

55% of the US population under the age of 5 is already non Euro white. Do we really want a huge low IQ Haitian influx? (Oh and IQ, while certainly not entirely genetic, it’s also heavily cultural, is clearly heavily genetic. Haiti’s cultural contributions to IQ for the vast majority of it’s population are also dismal, and people don’t easily or quickly give up their culture, esp. these days in “all cultures are in all ways equal” America.

Bar the doors. Help them there. The whole country would now like to come to American. Virtually none should be allowed to.

Ruth January 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

what overwhelms me the most about the disaster in Haiti are the orphaned children. I would like the Haitian people to consider living communally to be able to provide for their children and the orphaned children. The Israelis have kibbutzim that work very well. These are communities that are self-sufficient. The members have their own modest living areas and share a dining hall for meals. The children live together in homes with staffing to meet their needs. The parents are able to work on the kibbutz or in the community and know that while they work their children are receiving good care. They can visit with them when they are not working. For parents who are in need of learning child care skills there would be other members who would be able to lend support.

Members take turns with all the jobs that make the program work- from planting and maintaining gardens and orchards, food preparation, cleaning, laundry, building, keeping equitment in working order, running the business end of the program, ground maintenence, etc.

Tina Brooks March 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

We had expected to take receipt of a container of coffee and other Haitian exports on January 15th. That container has STILL not been allowed to depart from the Cap Haitien port.

We had ordered a pallet of chilli peppers to be sent during peak produce season, ie, the weeks following the earthquake. Those peppers have had no choice but to rot on the bush BECAUSE we are unable to export anything from the country.

What little of the Gross Domestic Product of Haiti was working PRIOR to the quake has ground to a halt, so that relief efforts can proceed.

Prior to the quake, the cry amongst those of us working directly with the Haitian entrepreneurs was: the NGOs are going to relief Haiti to death. It has gotten worse since the January 12th quake.

When will Foreign Governments allow Haitian’s sovereignty to be taken into consideration?

How about the first order of business be to ask the Haitian people what they want and need. I bet you’ll discover that “aid” and “succour” by foreign nations are rather low on their list.

Tina Brooks
Brooks Pepperfire Foods Inc.
Montreal Canada

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