The Prime Minister of Haiti has estimated the death toll of this week’s earthquake to be over 100,000. Reports yesterday suggest the death-toll could soon rival that of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

Suffering so much worse than it needs to be. Picture: AP

It is my firm belief that we could have done more to minimise the magnitude of loss as a result of the earthquake. Neither you nor I have the ability to play God and predict a quake or even lessen its power but what we do have is the ability to alter the death toll from such a horrific disaster.

Over 78% of Haitian residents live in poverty, which is defined by the World Bank as living on US$2 per day, and it is these conditions that are responsible for the saddening predictions from the Haitian Prime Minister.

We often hear enormous death tolls coming from natural disasters in countries like Haiti, India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, yet we never call into question why this is the case. When we look deeper we see that:

•  Japan and California have had much stronger earthquakes in more densely populated areas than the one that hit Port-au-Prince yesterday, yet the death tolls have been relatively minor.

•  Last year’s floods in North Queensland rose just as much as the heavy flooding seen in India and Bangladesh in 2007, however few deaths were recorded in Australia compared with over 2000 deaths in India and Bangladesh.

•  The intensity of the droughts in Australia over the last decade has been just as strong as those experienced in Ethiopia two decades ago.  However one failed food crop in 1984 led to approximately one million Ethiopians starving to death.

With poverty, comes vulnerability. And nothing exposes the vulnerabilities of people living in poverty more than natural disasters. A Haitian has greater vulnerability in an earthquake as he cannot afford quality housing; a Bangladeshi is vulnerable to flooding due to her family living and farming on flood affected land; and an Ethiopian has no food security to protect his family against a failed crop.

For the Haitian, Bangladeshi, Ethiopian and the other 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty we need to do something. We cannot just come to the aid of countries such as these when a disaster hits. The solution is not to put a band-aid on the symptoms exposed by the disaster, but to fix the root problem – and in Haiti’s case it is to alleviate the poverty faced by 78% of their population.

If you’re going to take action and lend support to those devastated in the aftermath, please ensure that your money is providing the right kind of support. It is imperative that the needs of the people are met as quickly and effectively as possible and the best way to do this is to place your donations with organisations already working in Haiti, or with community-based organisations that already have teams and infrastructure in place. (See the Global Poverty Project website for effective agencies to donate to).

Please consider one of the following ongoing actions that will allow you to impact the root problem of extreme poverty:

- Join the campaign to see Australia keep its global commitment to provide enough ongoing aid to developing countries

- Email Australia’s aid agency (AusAID) and ask them about the impacts of the aid that they deliver to the poorest and most vulnerable

- Tell our Trade Minister – Simon Crean, that you want to see a successful end to current trade negotiations, which will benefit not only Australia, but also developing nations

- Change your consumption habits, buy Fairtrade products which ensure that farmers get a fair price for their product and their families become less vulnerable.

- Learn more about extreme poverty, its causes, effects and solutions

- And most importantly – talk about extreme poverty, its issues and what you and your friends can do.

Most commented


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    • Brian says:

      06:39am | 15/01/10

      I agree with Mr Fleming.  However the location and density of populations and has some role to play. More people were killed in the Bangladesh flooding than in Queensland, in part because there are simply more people in Bangladesh.
      Australia’s terrible drought has not caused mass starvation, because there is almost no one who directly depends on drought affected land for food. (Rather, the farmers depend on the land for money.)
      On the other hand, Japan is very crowded, yet, as Mr Fleming indicates, its people survive earthquake because they have the wealth to prepare and to recover, unlike to people of Haiti.

    • Eric says:

      07:05am | 15/01/10

      The causes of poverty are corruption, tribalism, tyranny and incompetence. Throwing money at third-world countries as Mr Fleming suggests will achieve nothing apart from buying a few extra Rolexes for the presidents and crimelords.

      The only feasible solution for countries like Haiti and Somalia is a new form of colonialism. I believe China will step up to this task if the West doesn’t.

    • John A Neve says:

      07:21am | 15/01/10

      Eric @ 0805hrs,

      But they are a DEMOCRACY Eric. I think they were better off under a dictator don’t you?

    • Eric says:

      07:46am | 15/01/10

      What’s your point, John? I know you like dictators, as your enthusiasm for Che Guevara shows, but they don’t really make people any better off. I’m pretty sure the Haitians suffered even more under your mate “Papa Doc” than under their democracy - but they suffered great poverty in any case.

      I don’t agree with you that Haitians were better off with a dictatorship. Basket case countries like Haiti aren’t likely to improve under any indigenous form of government - they need external intervention if they are to develop.

    • BMJ says:

      08:15am | 15/01/10

      Corruption is killing country’s like Haiti. It’s a shame.

    • Q.E.D. says:

      08:20am | 15/01/10

      Once again, probably better to send money to support a coup. :-(

      @Eric 08:46 am
      I’m not quite sure what you’re saying.  If you believe that Haiti would not develop under an indigenous government, are you suggesting that an invasion of Haiti is necessary? Perhaps that’s not a bad idea, I can’t see how sending support will lead to long-term improvement. That just never seems to work.

    • Pete says:

      08:32am | 15/01/10

      I agree that poor housing has led to the high death toll in this earthquake, but only thus far. Without significant international assistance, many more people in Haiti will soon perish due to other aspects of poverty which cause other types of vulnerability which will play out in the coming weeks.

      Poverty means low levels of food stocks or financial savings which are needed when such events disrupt livelihoods. Underdeveloped medical infrastructure and supplies will mean that the Haitians that survived will be more vulnerable to pandemics, especially if there is a breakdown of formal or informal provision of water, sanitation, mortuaries and care for the aged and infirm. Poverty and conflict has meant a greatly diminished capacity of the Haitian government to fulfil its responsibilities in maintaining security, providing basic needs and coordinating international support relationships in such emergency situations. Financial support for credible organisations that operate in Haiti is urgently needed, as Mr. Fleming suggests, as this situation is going to get a lot worse, perhaps even long after it leaves the headlines

    • Lee says:

      08:34am | 15/01/10

      Doesn’t matter who or where they are. As soon as i woke up yesterday and read the scale of it I donated via World Vision Australia, which I do whenever anything happens in any part of the world… I can’t do much but I am a citizen of the planet and will do my little bit…

    • Helen says:

      08:35am | 15/01/10

      I think saying that any donated money will only go to corrupt leaders is an excuse for not giving anything. Dubious ideas about a “new form of colonialism” are -no matter what their merit- just never going to happen. So why not help, through the avenues currently in place, and make at least a little difference. Some of it will get through after the “rolexes” have been bought.
      Also, as much as corruption is an issue (and it is, I agree with you there), so is so-called ‘aid’ with all its conditionalities and strings attached getting the recipient nation into even more trouble.
      The best way to help poor nations is to drop the debt. They spend their lives trying to pay us back instead of building infrastructure.

    • Angela says:

      08:41am | 15/01/10

      I agree but here is the big BUT for you

      How much money have we thrown worldwide and where has it all gone , food, supplies, clean water it goes on and on, I agree with the first comment, corruption and religious tribalism is mainly the problem within these countries , most western societies do not have this, hence we get on with building our society and the death rate is lower.

      You forgot the main reason, Population, look how many of them their are in those countries when is their government going to address this issue.

    • Margaret Gray says:

      08:45am | 15/01/10

      Over-population is the problem.

      Why are we ignoring the elephant in the room?

    • Jamers Hunter says:

      08:52am | 15/01/10

      I have never been to Hati but I have been to Brazil,Argentina,China,India,Thialand,Malaysiaand New Guinea,  all of which are to my mind wealthier countries then Hati. However in all of them in the poor districts(and I stress there poor districts as brazil and argentina and the others have excellent buildings and standards generally) it is always the same. homes are built from the cheapest cement blocks often with so little cement in them that they have to be allowed to cure for a couple of months so they dont fall apart just handling them. the bigger buildings the cement is weak the amount of steel reo is almost non existant. any earth tremmor and woops! ‘
      Im sure this comes down to overpopulation and no policy to control it,often because of catholic church mandates
      also desparation for families to make find buy shelter of any kind
      also the graft and corruption that allows no building codes and or no enforcement .
      So it is all down to human nature and there desire to breed and to lie and cheet to ripp of the poor to the profit and obscene self power of a few “rich” VERMIN.

    • Helen says:

      08:57am | 15/01/10

      I don’t think it’s an elephant in the room, it’s just not an issue that you can do anything about to fix the situation.

    • Q.E.D. says:

      09:14am | 15/01/10

      Too true, Margaret 09:45 am.

      I don’t understand the argument for over-populating: “families need to be much bigger because there is no social security”. Could someone explain how that’s ever going to help in a realistic situation where resources are scarce?

    • Sandra says:

      09:20am | 15/01/10

      James you are right on the money.  It’s the burgeoning population that is the root cause - more people with the same amount resources means there is less to go round, and that causes poverty.  And of course we can do something about it!  Support groups that are committed to reducing population and put pressure on the Australian Government to ensure birth control is a stronger component of AusAid’s brief.  Fight organisations such as the Catholic church which deny birth control to so many in developing countries

    • AdamC says:

      09:24am | 15/01/10

      Richard, I used the list of NGOs on your site to make a donation to the quake relief effort – that was a good resource.

      However, the rest of your site is, to be blunt, a lot of feel-good rubbish. Reading tired, conventional wisdom about an issue is not ‘informing yourself’ (as your site suggests), quite the opposite. And, perhaps more importantly, aid is not a solution to poverty. While authors like Dambisa Moyo have not quite convinced me that aid is actively counter-productive in reducing poverty, the fact that no country has successfully developed using an aid-dependent strategy must surely demonstrate that aid is not at all effective in doing so.

      Sure, humanitarian aid in times of crisis or famine can save lives, but aid for development and poverty reduction is almost a contradiction in terms. How can you possibly create self-supporting, growing, independently prosperous communities and nations by hooking them on a cargo cult of unrequited foreign cash?

      Countries like Haiti, whether (precariously) democratic or otherwise, simply lack the governance and institutional frameworks to properly modernise their economies and enrich their people. Sadly, I am with Eric, it is unlikely that countries like Haiti (which has had 200 years to do so) will independently develop these institutions. The example, right next to Haiti, of American-run Puerto Rico should serve as the best argument that ‘imperialism’ is the best solution to chronically failed states like Haiti.

    • Helen says:

      09:26am | 15/01/10

      Sandra I think you are right with the advocating of birth control (especially condoms in these countries where AIDs is such a huge problem).
      I guess I was wrong, you can do something about over population, it will just take generations and generations to bring numbers down. What do we do to help right now? I still think drop the debt and let them help themselves.

    • John A Neve says:

      09:39am | 15/01/10

      Helen @ 0957hrs,

      Do you really believe “it’s just not an issue you can do anything about”?

      There are many things we can do about it, however most people would rather look the other way. Ancient people’s knew what to “do about it”, animals eg. Kamgaroos know what to “do about it”, but we are too civlised to even talk about it!!!!

      We breed like Rabbits and we thought they were a plague.

    • Helen says:

      09:59am | 15/01/10

      John A Neve
      I stated later to Sandra that I had been convinced the other way, but I still think it takes too long.

      Are you actually encouraging culling humans?
      Without wanting to invoke Godwin’s Law and lose the argument, I believe someone’s tried that before…

    • Q.E.D. says:

      10:01am | 15/01/10

      @ Helen 09:57 and 09:58 AND 10:06

      Helen, it’s a huge elephant!

      Also, saying that not giving because the funds are frequently used by corrupt officials or organisations is anything but a cop-out or excuse for doing nothing.

      It shows that some people are thinking about how best to help. Blindling giving is arguable worse.

      If we all said ‘it’s never going to happen’ then, guess what? - it never will!

    • Get Real says:

      10:04am | 15/01/10

      Papa Doc and his lovely son Baby Doc stole over A$2billion dollars of foreign aid money during their reign. Given Baby Doc still lives happily in excile in France. Rather than telling us to give more money to Haiti, perhaps Baby Doc could return the foreign aid money his family stole. $2 billion would go a long way!!

    • Caroline says:

      10:09am | 15/01/10

      In response to the arguments relating to corruption, let them help themselves and overpopulation, consider this. You are talking about real people. People who have lost everything, including family and friends. Sure, corruption will continue to be a problem everywhere, including here in Australia. As for letting people help themselves, did you think the same of the Victorian bushfire victims? Or the American’s after 9/11? Surely not. So why is the situation in Haiti any different? What is it about those in developing countries that makes them any less deserving than those in the so-called Western world? We in the developed world seem so quick to judge and pinpoint the “causes” of poverty as issues of overpopulation and lack of action on the part of those stricken by the vicious cycle of povery. The simple fact is that we, as those who are lucky enough to live in a country such as Australia, should do all we can to help those less fortunate. Please do your research regarding aid programs, overpopulation and over-consumption by those of us in developed countries before passing judgement.

    • Eve says:

      10:24am | 15/01/10

      any capital city, even in Australia would have a high number of casualties with a strong earthquake at shallow depth and yes we are lucky it hasn’t happened here, but who knows, 200 odd years of history is nothing in nature, just remember Chaiten volcano in South America which erupted after 9000 years, give or take

    • yas says:

      10:26am | 15/01/10

      there are 6.5 or so billion people in the world. it would probably cost close to say, $30 or $40 billion to feed everyone enough to make them chubby, or help them with infrastructure… the US spends around 750 billion on weapons and an enormous army. every year, about $6 billion worth of ice cream is chucked out in Europe, more the $10billion worth of food is chucked out every year in Australia… 
      population and corruption aside, the maths says no one HAS to starve for countries like the US and Australia to “suffer” from an obesity “epidemic”. 
      maybe a good way of tackling the weight problem is to make the clinically overweight donate their money budgets to poor people…

    • John A Neve says:

      10:30am | 15/01/10

      Helen @ 1059hrs,
      In answer to your question; No, I am not suggesting we cull humans.

      But to expand on my earlier post, ancients did not interfere with nature, they let it take it’s course. Kangaroos breed in the good times and back off in the bad. Both groups are smarter than us aren’t they?

    • Dogbolter says:

      10:53am | 15/01/10

      Yes, we can donate to the people of these countries. But while we have such people like the pope, who lives in extreme luxury unattainable by 99% of the world telling them not to use birth control, what hope is there? These people will forever be stuck in a cycle of breeding and poverty that cannot be broken until someone stands up to the insanity that is religion.

    • T.Chong says:

      10:56am | 15/01/10

      JAN: Smart kangaroos? Im sure Skippy could fly the helicopter and play a harpsicord recital, and if necessity dictated, save Sonnys ass.Repeatedly..

    • John A Neve says:

      11:17am | 15/01/10

      T.Chong @1156hrs,

      You have just convinced me. Some of the comments about you are true!! Still, there is time for you to grow up, at least I hope.

    • no shit says:

      11:26am | 15/01/10

      * The Punch: Lucky we live here

    • Little Haiti says:

      11:28am | 15/01/10

      I used to live near Little Haiti in Miami, and I know from talking to real Haitians that there is a crucial element contributing to the poverty of Haitians that Richard Fleming has conveniently overlooked: the culture of the Haitians themselves. Specifically I refer to a combination of cultural traits that may be described as indifference to life (and death), acceptance (and embracing) of corruption and laziness. Laziness is especially bad there: a large fraction of the Haitian economy is funded by international aid and they know that no matter if they work or not, they will get food somehow and that is enough for a lot of them. International aid *must* stop being the “handout” type and fund projrects that Haitians must work at themselves. Only then will they have a chance to break out of endless cycles of poverty.

    • monkeytypist says:

      11:36am | 15/01/10

      *facepalm* Eric, Haiti was a US colony for 19 years - and an indirect dependency for most of its history.  No governmental changes have happened in Haiti for decades without the US’s involvement.  Haiti is dominated by American interests and priorities far more than any sovereign state theoretically should be.  There isn’t a type of western paternalism around that Haiti has not been subject to.  What kind of interventionism is the “answer” to the supposedly indigenous-caused problems?  Haiti is simply the future of Afghanistan and any number of US client states worldwide.

    • AJ of Here says:

      11:42am | 15/01/10

      Less than $2 a day… I wonder what is the local cost of living? In certain areas of the world, US$1 is a minor fortune…

      That is the problem with the UN. One slogan fits all. Sorry, guys. Doesn’t work like that in real life.

      The Useless Nations. How appropriately named…

    • Brett says:

      12:01pm | 15/01/10

      We all know the real problem, but we not allowed to say it.
      The evolutionary process has not allowed for equality.

    • Bitten says:

      12:07pm | 15/01/10

      Caroline, I’m not sure what you’re getting at when you reference the Victorian bushfire tragedy - Australians were harmed and Australians donated and supported - that is the very definition of US helping ourselves and supporting ourselves. How does that example support your argument?

      International aid is a contentious issue because it risks creating a ‘welfare mentality’ writ large. There is no gratitude for international assistance, in fact, there is outrage that the assistance is not higher and the ‘wealthy’ nations must continually endure abuse from ‘poor’ nations about how we need to just give them everything because, well, the poor nations are just entitled to be given piles and piles of money. Well, I’m all for supporting people who are in need - but I don’t appreciate being abused. I don’t appreciate a lack of graciousness. I don’t appreciate greed or corruption. I don’t appreciate a nation that doesn’t properly invest the international aid it so greedily receives in an adequate healthcare workforce. I don’t appreciate nations not investing in public sanitation and infrastructure to deliver clean water to its citizens. In short, I don’t appreciate people who are too greedy and lazy to help themselves with the assistance of others. We know tackling global poverty will take effort from all of us - my question is, has anyone mentioned that ‘all of us’ includes the populations of poor countries? Because it does - they will actually have to make some good choices for a change, even with our money pouring in. We can’t fix the problem for them, we can only fix it with them.

    • Greg says:

      12:34pm | 15/01/10

      And what do the most poverty-stricken countries have in common?

      If the populations of Haiti and Australia were instantaneously exchanged, within a decade Australia would be the most impoverished nation and Haiti would be giving donations.

    • Anton says:

      12:45pm | 25/01/10

      You just hit the nail on the head. We all know they are total lazy and next to useless. Please name an African state that can support itself without hand outs or input from a western country.
      Answer = NONE! ....Bar South Africa which is slowly turning third world after the colapse of apartied.

    • suze says:

      01:13pm | 15/01/10

      Anyone expecting “gratitude” from seriously disadvantaged people need an elephant to poop on their head.
      Seriously, are you kidding me?
      Get angry at the corrupt leaders of these impoverished countries and our affluence that has a negative influence on the World but do not take it out on suffering people and condescend them by calling them “lazy” and “greedy”.  Some of the insensitive, ignorant and mean comments I’ve been reading make me want to vomit!
      People have died and are dying and will die because of this natural disaster, they have NOTHING yet people can judge them?

    • Dingo_aus says:

      01:19pm | 15/01/10

      History shows that the only way any group has got out of porverty is through Capitalism.  Handouts will only have any real benefit to the point in time that you stop giving handouts.  “Wealthy” nations are those who have or had a large period of Capitalism to build wealth in.

    • E says:

      01:22pm | 15/01/10

      @greg: Education? Arable land? Natural resources? Good health care?

    • TB says:

      02:14pm | 15/01/10

      Dingo, your naivete is gob-smacking. Captalism is what put Haiti in its current predicament - decades of exploitation by wealthier nations through corrupt governments bought and paid for by foreign interests. Over the last couple of centuries the gap between the haves and have-nots has done nothing but widen - great if you’re a ‘have’ but unfortunately Haiti is a ‘have not’ and the sweatshop operators have no interest in altering that reality.

    • D'oh says:

      02:31pm | 15/01/10

      Here is a thought.  How about we abandon the bio fuel scam and use the land to grow, ummm, food.

      More food = cheaper food prices = less starvation = raising people out of poverty = population stabilization.

    • AdamC says:

      03:12pm | 15/01/10

      @TB, Haiti is too capitalist, is it? According to the hyper-capitalist, neo-liberal heritage foundation ( Haiti is the 147th freest (most capitalist or free market) economy in the world (i.e. pretty close to the bottom of the list).

      In particular, the American capitalists say:

      “Restrictions on foreign capital are significant, and investment is subject to an arbitrary bureaucracy.”

      Or, in other words, Haiti is a country that keeps the foreign exploiters out, not one that lets them in like, say, HK (freest economy) or Singapore (second freest economy). Guess which of these countries have reduced poverty the most in the past 50 years? (Hint: the answer is not Haiti).

    • Justan Oz says:

      03:12pm | 15/01/10

      Dogbolter—-how true,, how true,,—well done!!!

    • H of SA says:

      03:33pm | 15/01/10

      Do’oh. Its a nice thought but we don’t lack for food in this world .

      Half the world dies of starvation the other half dies of obeisity.

      Even the poorest countries usually produce enough food. Its just that it either gets grabbed by the nearest warlord to keep his soldiers fed (and the promise of a meal is probably why they joined) or goes over to countries with more voracious appetites.

      There is more than enough food in this planet just ridiculously unbalanced distribution

    • Richard Fleming says:

      03:42pm | 15/01/10

      @ Eric 805 One of the biggest causes of poverty is poverty itself. It is a vicious cycle that people, communities and even nations can get stuck in. Corruption, tribalism and incompetence are again just symptoms of poverty. Your step back into colonialism makes no sense, can you detail how reverting to colonialism could be a possible solution?

      @Angela 941; Margaret Gray 945 -  I agree that population size is an issue; however it is again a symptom that accompanies poverty. When countries are able to lift themselves from the vicious cycle of poverty it is often seen that their birth rates will drop. A great example is in Bangladesh during the devastating drought that killed 100’s of 1000’s in the 70’s Bangladesh had a birth rate as high as 7, now they are developing they have been able to reduce their birth rate to about 3. 

      @Sandra 1020 – I totally agree, birth control and supplementing education around birth control is something we have to put pressure on our govt and non-believers (like the Catholic Church) to support.

      @ AdamC 1024 – thanks for your feedback on the site. Drop me a line through enquiries to provide more feedback smile Aid is by no means the solution; it is just part of the solution. I reckon you should check out organisations like Opportunity International and Grameen – they do amazing work with Aid money through microcredit activities
      RE doubting Haiti will develop themselves, people use to that Brazil, Vietnam and South Korea were basket cases. Look where they are now.

      @ Caroline 1109 – great comment. Corruption often becomes a matter of survival in these countries.

    • Anthony says:

      03:56pm | 15/01/10

      My understanding is that Haiti was the first (if not one of the first) countries to remove itself from the evil yolk of European colonisation. Since then it has managed to be an unmitigated basket case of continual social unrest, violence & corruption.  Nothing that we do for them now will change these facts…...

    • Richard Fleming says:

      04:03pm | 15/01/10

      @dogbolter 1228 – I do believe that access and education around birth control will improve the situation. However, I would say that you live in extreme luxury too. Go try globalrichlist [dot] com
      I myself am on a meagre salary and still 95% of the world cannot obtain my luxury and I give.

      @little Haiti 1242 – Australia is often regarded as a laid back lazy culture… does that mean we should be in poverty?
      International aid is only 6.3% of Haiti’s Gross National Income, which equals $29/person. Did you know that over 40% of the Australian Federal Govt Budget goes to Welfare? I would guess that is more than $29/Aussie.

      @AJ of Here 1242 – Whilst what you say may be correct in Haiti, please read up on the definition of $2/day. It is measured in US dollar terms, when those dollars are spent in the US (ie going down to walmart with $2 to buy your breakfast, lunch and dinner for the day)

      @Brett 101 – please expand?

      @greg 134 – I totally agree. In my experience the poorest people are the most giving and caring cultures. Maybe they appreciate the little they have.

    • Kevin Rennie says:

      05:05pm | 15/01/10

      There appears to be little awareness that Haiti has been tackiling its problems in recent times, with some help from the UN/Bill Clinton, NGOs, and business investment. There was a PBS Newshour report just before the quake. It seemed to be genuine good news.

      I’m staggered that some commenters are blaming the victims of an earthquake.

    • Daniel says:

      05:09pm | 15/01/10

      The world will sit on its hands while these people suffer in terrible poverty.How do these corrupt governments there survive and keep geting elected.

    • Paul says:

      07:21pm | 15/01/10

      Easy on the exaggeration AJ. Where in the world do you think $US1is a minor fortune. What riches do you expect it will buy you?
      Whatever you think of the UN / World Bank, I think their assessment that US$2 a day is not much to live on, even taking costs of living into account.
      I mean, for a start, you have to take out the currency exchange fees and commissions,

    • TB says:

      07:50pm | 15/01/10

      AdamC, the last time I checked Haiti had been bowing down to foreign pressures (via the IMF) to ‘modernise’ its economy,  namely through trade liberalisation, privatisation of SOEs, etc.

      Also keep in mind that Haiti also ranks highly amongst the world’s most corrupt nations - I wager that the term ‘arbitrary bureaucracy’ is little more than a euphemism for ‘investment in bureaucrats is strongly advised.’

      I would surmise that the Heritage Foundation merely regards Haiti as “not capitalist enough” for their tastes. Which is kind of surprising when you consider how many “Made in Haiti” goods can be found on American shelves.

    • Jamers Hunter says:

      10:42pm | 15/01/10

      D’oh and others
      Population controll is the basic ground to build upon.get rid of the tecachings of the catholic church who world wide have sooo much that should be on their consciounce.
      Birth controll should be a mandatory part of any long term aid priject.
      end of story if you dont foreign aid keeps some alive so they can bread so next time foreign aid feeds a lot more so that time after foreign aid is feeding millions who are simply parisites on the world.

    • Mark says:

      11:41pm | 15/01/10

      Yes Overpopulation is a problem but how do you suggest we solve it?
      Educate people to have less children? Enforce limits? without dealing with the underlying issues,

      How do you expect a less developed country to develop itself, when the fundamental first step agriculture is taken out by having susbsidized US grown rice selling cheaper than Haitan farmers can produce it. Farm susbsidies are a FAR bigger and more prevalent form of Corruption that we have in the “Developed” world.
      You take away agriculture and of course a country is going to be dependent on international aid.

    • Jamers Hunter says:

      09:43am | 16/01/10

      I would be putting field hospitals or mobile clinics all over the place and every one who has a vasectomy or tubal ligation is given something that is prised or aspired tpo like maybe a small block of land and seed and fertilizer or a cow or whatever is appropriate to toe culture. do that and or restrictions on those who dont like food and water subsidies time or quantity limited or go global ( country wide i guess) and put a limit on infrastructure until population issues are compiled with.
      we also should not be supplying arms to these rabbits and while our aid is going in arms from any where else are banned.
      problem is lotta the time we supply food and guns to the same thugs/despots/ that run these failed states, im not picking on Hati here but hell someonew has to become a leader and face the demographic reality otherwise we as a species are doomned

    • David says:

      10:25am | 16/01/10

      Here’s a solution to the problems facing the developing world; build a business there. Industrialise these countries. They are potential goldmines for prospective manufacturing and primary industry companies, who could surely pay their workers more than $2 a day if they are exporting product to developed nations. China is your shining example of this. All of a sudden, jobs are created, and a better standard of life develops. Sound good?

    • Jamers Hunter says:

      10:53am | 16/01/10

      Dave ,problem is these people have no resources of their own. no minerals or coal or oil so what your sayingrealy means we just exploit them as cheap labour BUT in a place with poor ports ,roads, buildings, expensive power makeshift communications and a government abnd administration that is corupt inexperienced and self serving .... at best.
      Simpelest way to help the people is to shut down the island altogehter , ship the people someplace where infrastructure and resources can be utilized by the new cheap labour and maybe we get a result. Cept soon as they arrive someplace all the unions and do good lawyers will be telling them how they now got all these new rights and they shouldnt allow themselves to be exploited ???
      Forget that we giving them a whole new start,.
      Like the peoples that turn up uninvited on Australi8as doorstep. they should work 12 hours a day for the minimum wage for five years as a means of paying for their new life. seems itd be cheap compaired to what they pay the people smugglers. Maybe then these peoples will by having paid their way will value the new life they have and now go round turinig into terrorists , junkies and idiots in enclaves ??

    • Marion Simpson says:

      11:32am | 16/01/10

      The situation in Haiti is deplorable. I can’t express how desperatly sad their situation makes me and probably everyone else in the world feel. It seems to me that while the quake has devastated this area, the fact that housing was poor, food was inadequate, ect has helped to make this situation worse. They need help and not for just now, they need help in a long term way till they can get their country to a decent standard. They are a Democrocy and thats a good start to any endevour there.

    • TonTon says:

      12:48pm | 16/01/10

      Haiti has NO indigenous people left! The last one died in the 1700s after European disease and maltreatment and discrimination. This nation WAS the first black republic ( it was French run at the time of the French Rev but Napolean later tried to take back control violently).
      So the politics and national creedo from the start was “You brought us here as slaves from Africa, now you owe us a living”.
      When this country frequently riots, the US suspends foreign aid, precisely because that is what successive Govts rort.
      Right next door is Jamaica which WAS taken over by wicked bogeymen imperialists, and it is the best place of the Carribean bunch.

    • Tom says:

      02:24pm | 16/01/10

      Most of the countries which have successfully developed - i.e. South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan (The Asian Tiger economies), have done so due to targeted assistance to certain industries in the context of a wider government led development plan, and gradual opening of markets preceded by high trade barriers to promote industrialisation. Note that neither foreign aid nor immediate and wholesale liberalisation was a part of any of these development programs.

    • AJ of Here says:

      04:36pm | 16/01/10


      Some of the objections to the dollar a day nonesense.

      Also, I believe that it is a flawed form of measurement in that it takes into account exchange rate, which is notorious for being over or under valued, not the least because of apparent demand or, if you believe the comments by a former Malaysian Prime Minister, the actions of a single man.

      Lastly, it is a ready made slogan for idiots to follow. The anti-sweatshop movement, for example, made a lot of mileage out of using a variant of this measure. Many bleeding heart retards swallowed it hook, line and sinker, leading to closures of factories in South-East Asia. The predominantly female workers of those sweatshops had the choice of going back to working in the fields or prostitution. The irony was that the sweatshop was actually bringing up the standards of living in those regions before the do-gooders put a halt to it.

      Thus, I am extremely skeptical of any slogans from the UN and the liberotard Left. They inevitably cause more damage than good (if any good can ever come out of their actions) all for the sake of their own selfish desires to feel superior to someone else.

    • Richard Fleming says:

      10:39pm | 16/01/10

      Thanks for that link AJ of Here - that is actually a great resource. It nicely demonstrates how you go from a national poverty line (in a country’s currency) to the global US1.25/day (PPP)

      I find that many people (including experts) dont fully understand the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and that it is able to standardise global currencies across a basket of basic goods. I might write on it soon.

      Thanks for your points.

    • Clary says:

      01:07am | 17/01/10

      It is enlightening to observe and partake in the debates of those that lack direct self-interest in an issue such as the disaster unfolding in Haiti. 

      I wish for a mechanism to be put in place where the wisdom of good people like you would be more headed in world affairs, no matter how many opposing, informed or ignorant views emerge. 

      Has anyone in this group explored the works of Slavoj Zizek and Jared Mason Diamond?  It would raise the bar of the conversation many fold, I believe.

      Let’s face it folks!  You wouldn’t want to be tried for your transgressions by a biased and ignorant court, jury and spectators.  Why would anyone deserve less than what you would hope for yourself?

    • Scott Morrison MP says:

      03:02pm | 25/01/10

      Well said Richard. Global poverty requires a response as much from individuals as it does from Governments, if not more so. There are countless organisations around the world doing great things in desperately poor coutries. They all need and rely on our ongoing support . Please don’t make your generous reponse to Haiti a once off, make it a habit. To make poverty history, we need to make it our own business first. My family and try to practice what we preach here. I’ve attached a recent article in Viewppioint magazine @


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