Essential reading

What happens when you\’ve all the money in the world, all the really smart people trying to build an economy from the top down?


An official from an international aid agency notes that Port-au-Prince is now overflowing with waste, yet 52 disposal trucks that have been imported to handle it are still sitting in customs.

Why hasn\’t someone shot the customs officers?

I could only get through four pages of this before boiling with rage.

Less government is the solution far more often than many are willing to admit.

3 thoughts on “Essential reading”

  1. Amazed you made it to four pages. I got through the first para and the mention of Sean Penn immediately got me thinking of Team America:
    “Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up, it was a happy place. They had flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles. ”

  2. It’s well worth a full read. I like this comment in particular;

    “I wish I could organize a trip of Tea Party activists and take them to Haiti, so they could see what happens if they have a country with no government,” says Earl Kessler, an urban-disaster consultant for USAID

    That in the middle of an article detailing at length the complete failure of hundreds of various government and NGO organisations, USAID itself’s trying to build toilets that meet US regulations in a country with no functioning water system.

    Even more amusing the only parts of Haiti’s government that do still function are either stopping reconstruction (like customs), or are government minsters doing a little ‘rent seeking’ before allowing anything to be done.

    To compound this, the only effective rebuilding done has been completed by a private company on there own initiative.

    USAID don’t do irony, but if they did……

  3. I live amongst madness like this. The best thing to do is laugh.

    Here in Nigeria, the government deliberately let the refineries decay through lack of maintenance because importing refined products offers an avenue for scamming. Basically, you fiddle the books to overstate how much has been imported and pocket the difference, the government being the ones who pay. Of course, the ones receiving the cash are part of the government, but outright theft from the public treasury is considered a perk of the job here, so successive governments have deliberately set up this fuel scamming system (as well as a million others).

    But it doesn’t stop there. Because fuel is at a premium and it costs millions to import it (despite Nigeria being one of the world’s largest exporters of crude oil), they need to ensure people buy more of it. Simply stealing a few million from the public treasury isn’t enough, oh no, they need to fuck the public over too. So they have blocked successive attempts to increase the power availability of Nigeria (which currently is equal to that of Bradford, apparently). Why? Because a powerful mafia, almost certainly comprised of government ministers, senior policemen, and the like, want every household to buy a generator and to buy the fuel to run it, the mafia having the monopoly on the generators and the fuel, of course.

    So, we have a government who deliberately lets its refineries fall to bits and deliberately doesn’t build more power stations because – not content with being millionaires – they want to become billionaires at the expense of the general population. And yet, people think more government is the answer.

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