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Developing Economies

Is There Hope For Haiti?

So clearly things in Haiti are totally sucky at the moment. There's really no other way to look at it. That said, Adam and I have been wading through all these relatively hopeful economics papers about Haiti written just a few months ago.

Take this one from Paul Collier arguing that Haiti's "fundamentals favor economic development." Sure, it was written 12 months ago but many of those fundamentals are still in place. Collier argues that compared to many other "fragile states" Haiti's got a lot going for it. Such as:

-the neighbors are peaceful and relatively prosperous. You can't say that about most poor African and Asian counties

-Among the neighbors are the US and Canada, both eager to prove they can actually help Haiti succeed.

-Haitians living in the diaspora want to see Haiti succeed. And they are expert at lobbying for Haitian interests and sending money home

-Speaking of successful lobbying (and America's interest in Haitian success), Haitian exports now enter the American market duty-free and quota-free. That's thanks to this agreement.

-Haitian labor is cheap and competitive with China

-That incredible market access and cheap labor means Haiti may now be the world's best place to make garments! (if you ignore the fact that the port was just destroyed and there's no reliable electricity)

OK there a lot of "if you ignores" to add to that list ("if you ignore the giant earthquake") BUT there was a was a hopeful plan just a few months ago. And not everything in that plan was just wiped out.