It's very sad to see and hear about the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. In the United States, Japan and other 1st world countries prone to earthquakes, we have building codes to ensure our structures can withstand a certain minimal level of shaking and earth movement. Haiti apparently has no building codes at all. However, her biggest problems are persistent poverty, lack of a dependable government, violence, corruption, a general lack of property rights and a completely ruined environment. With these problems, she can't easily grow food, invest in business or even import business. I've been reading how in the last 2 decades, Hatian governments have allowed squatters to take over buildings and land throughout the country. This seems to be a common situation in the 3rd world. "Democratically elected" leaders in already poor countries are typically socialist. They continue to appeal to the every growing masses who love the "steal from the rich" story. And the more they steal money and pass it out to get votes, the more those countries nose dive.
Look at some of the stats on 1st world countries as compared to those problem prone 3rd world ones.
|GDP||GDP per Capita|
I know it's a very complex formula that determines who has a healthy economy and who doesn't. However, there are some factors that can't be denied. Personal and economic freedom and liberty are huge. So is an educated VOTING population. The rule of law is key. The protection of personal property is also key (including real estate.) Once you have these and a few other values, you can gain wealth and in turn people can afford to build better structures (and as well set standards for such structures.)
Earthquakes happen. Even in Kobe Japan in 1995, over 5,000 people lost their lives from a devastating earthquake. And Japan is 1st world and very modern! However, it could have been much worse. Going forward, the best gift we can give Haiti is the knowledge of how to build institutions that will help her build wealth. And with that wealth build an environment that limits the effects of natural disasters.