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Developing Economies

Jeffrey Sachs' Plan For Haiti

Say hello to our new intern Ethan Arrow. He's a grad student at Columbia studying international economic policy. Here's his first post:

I went to this packed out event at Columbia University on Monday with Jeffrey Sachs talking about the current relief efforts in Haiti. Sachs is director of Columbia's Earth Institute and has written several books on poverty reduction, his most recent being Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet. He's also known as something of an aid champion to poor countries so I was expecting him to rave about all the aid going to Haiti. He said sure that's important, but rich countries aren't doing it quite right.

Sachs wants to see rich countries get serious about providing Haiti with roughly $2-3bn per year. Not only that, but he says those funds should be guaranteed with public funds, not simply pledged by private donations. On top of sending money, he says the US should be sending seed, fertilizer and infrastructural materials so that the coming rainy season doesn't wreak even more havoc.

Basically he wants us to give lots of money and make a long-term commitment to Haiti. Much of the aid given so far has been media-driven, and Sachs wants to ensure that support continues even after the cameras leave and all that remains are the the difficulties less suited for prime time television