Sunday, June 6, 2010

5 economic lessons from Haiti

5 economics lessons from Haiti and disaster. This is an illustration of the benefits found in spontaneous orders - adaptive efficiency, feedback loops, trial and error . . . . response to need coordinated by free individuals acting out of liberty - a value that is cocommitent with responsibility.

1. Economies of scale can have a large impact even on micro-entrepreneurs.

2. Markets outperform governments in the delivery of services.

3. Economic growth is the fundamental requirement for safe and affordable buildings.

4. Cultural attitudes can help or hinder post-disaster recovery — and economic growth in general.

5. Non-profit disaster relief organizations can offer impressive strengths — and a few weaknesses.

Murphy’s conclusions:

“In my brief time in Haiti, I saw the laws of economics at work. Entrepreneurs rushed to satisfy customers, as proven by the owners of motorcycles who suddenly became taxi drivers after the roads were filled with rubble. Government, in contrast, completely failed to deliver promised services to the people. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the ‘nongovernmental organizations,’ at least the one I worked for, were filled with some of the most interesting people I have ever met.

“Although outsiders can definitely provide emergency relief, and even long-term advice, ultimately Haiti will remain mired in poverty so long as the majority retains their current hostility to open competition and commerce.”

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