The benefits of corruption

Increases in the price of rice are making a bad situation worse in Haiti. The problem, however, is not solely due to increases in the world price but also because, believe it or not, Haiti has customs duties on rice even though most people can afford nothing else for their one meal a day.

[Under Aristide] an Aristide crony received a near exclusive concession on rice imports and evaded customs duties. That evasion allowed the rice concessionaire to cut about $3 a bag off the market price, pass some of the savings on to the market and pocket the rest.

The new government is apparently less corrupt or at least the lines of corruption have not yet been formed, and as a result the price of rice has risen.


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