I’d put the blame for the magnitude of Haiti’s problems 100% at the feet of its government. It’s not
the geology, nor that this earthquake was the strongest ever, nor a lack of building codes. The devastation is due to the government having kept the place so dirt poor for so long, they simply have nothing to help them cope with the event.
If the same thing happened in a wealthier society, there would be a lot of damage, lots of problems, a great deal of inconvenience — but it wouldn’t have killed hundreds of thousands of people. These Haitians are so poor, they don’t even have shovels to dig people out. They don’t even have crow- bars to pry apart collapsed walls; they have to do it with their own bare hands — and they don’t even have gloves. They’ve got nothing.
So, of course there was widespread devastation. There were no savings. No food set aside. No water set aside. These people are living, literally, hand-to-mouth. So, if there’s a natural disaster, the impact is magnified by several orders of magnitude because of the poverty — and that’s due entirely to the government. And, idiotically, people you see on TV are looking to the government to solve the problem . . . the stupidity of the chattering classes leaves me thunderstruck.
I mean, the Dominican Republic next door is hardly any glowing beacon of freedom, but it’s vastly better than Haiti, and it’s got the same geography, climate, and so forth, so it’s all a matter of government. That’s illustrated equally well with the differences between East and West Germany, North and South Korea . . . there are many examples throughout time and across space. And now they’re looking to the Haitian government to be in charge of rebuilding the place . . . the concept is literally insane.