CGD in the News

A Cruise Ship Full of Vacationers Does More to Help Haitians Than Billions in Aid (National Post)

July 17, 2017
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From the article:

I have never been as certain as many of my libertarian-leaning friends that rational selfishness is the best way to create systematic social benefits. Yet, the Labadee example is persuasive in its small way.

Over US$13-billion in charitable relief (both public and private) was earmarked for Haiti after the country’s deadly 2010 earthquake. We don’t know how much of that money made it directly to the Haitians who needed the help, but some dispiriting estimates hover around 10 per cent.

A few years after the earthquake, a blog post by two employees of the Center for Global Development summed up how unsuccessful the charitable push had been in making a difference. “Haiti received an amount almost equal to its gross domestic product,” wrote Vijaya Ramachandran and Julie Waltz, “but several hundred thousand people remain in tent camps set up in the aftermath of the quake. Port-au-Prince (the Haitian capital) still lacks good roads, electricity and safe drinking water.”

As our guide reminded us, there are still displaced Haitians living in tents today, seven years after the disaster. And according to the CIA World Fact Book, the country’s unemployment rate is around 40 per cent. (Our guide estimated unemployment at 80 per cent, his view possibly influenced by the fact that less than a third of Haiti’s labour force has a formal job.)

Read full article here.