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A sobering report on Haiti

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  • A sobering report on Haiti

    By Peter Crawley (Peter McCawley is a Visiting Fellow at the Indonesia Project, ANU, and author of a forthcoming book on the economics of post-disaster reconstruction)


    There has been a lot in the media in the last few days about the megadisaster in Haiti. Much of the media coverage, understandably, has been at the emotional end of the news spectrum. We've heard of the wonderful rescues of children assumed lost, and of medical teams battling against awful odds in the midst of chaos.

    But some figures are very sobering:

    * 50,000 to 100,000 people: the likely death toll in Haiti.
    * US$1.2 billion: the amount of international assistance pledged to Haiti so far.
    * US$14 billion: 2009 bonus payments, US investment bank, Morgan Stanley.
    * US$20 billion: 2009 bonus payments, US investment bank, Goldman Sachs.
    * US$45 billion: total bonuses paid by major Wall Street banks in 2009.

    We could doubtless go on, but the picture is pretty clear. Bonus payments to a relatively small number of rich bankers in the US are a factor of 20 or so larger than international aid pledges to Haiti.

    What do we make of this? First, we should obviously take statements by the leaders of rich countries about their concern to respond to the disaster in Haiti with a grain of salt. By their actions we shall know them. And their actions are rather puny.

    Second, the people of Haiti are essentially on their own. At the end of the day, they will get little help from rich countries. Response to the terrible disaster, and recovery, is basically in their own hands. The crumbs from the tables of rich countries will help, it is true, but only a little.

    Finally, rich countries must understand that poor countries will watch all of this and draw their own conclusions. Rich countries want poor countries to cooperate on important global issues such as climate change. But if rich countries respond to urgent megadisasters in poor countries in such a miserable way, why should poor countries bother to play the international game?

  • #2
    Yeah, let's try communism again and 'spread the wealth', because it will work this time!
    I really don't see why US bankers need to pay for Haiti. The U.S. alone cannot solve the world's problems. Furthermore, that "$20billion" of bonuses paid to Goldman employees is stretched out over 13,000 employees. That money is the livelihood and personal income for ordinary citizens, not rich cigar-smoking execs. Trust me, I worked there, I know how much bonuses mean to the average employee. Salaries in Goldman are smaller than many mid-size companies, and the bonuses make up for it.
    There are natural disasters every year. The Tsunami in Indonesia, Hurricane Katrina, Haiti, etc. We cannot insist on private industry in the USA paying for problems half way around the world or even in their own backyard. It isn't practical.
    1.5billion has now been pledged, and the biggest donor on the list is the collective donations by private industry and individuals
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datab...ntry-donations
    That money does not include the costliest parts of the aid effort: US military and coast guard flights, helicopters, and boats ferrying material in and out of the airports and harbors.
    In addition, 1.5billion is more than enough to help feed the city. It's enough to provide limited housing for the homeless. It's not enough to rebuild the city, and that's something Haiti will need to do on its own. The USA cannot go rebuild and repaid every war-torn, natural disaster-victimized third world nation. It simply doesn't have the resources.
    Warpox exposes himself | Editorial 1 4 | 2Pox

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    • #3
      The comparisons to people getting bonuses are stupid. People should be penalized for working hard and earning money because of a natural disaster?
      Steelers|KU Jayhawks|USC

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      • #4
        wheres my bonus
        Originally posted by Tanner
        at least youre not hungover and have to sneak out a fat 30 yr old white bitch who you were banging in your parents house last night.

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        • #5
          The Walrus - Noone is expecting there to be an international communist regime. The article isn't trying to offer any solution to this problem by such means.

          The main point is at the end. Developed countries like the US do have a certain responsibility to lend assistance if they wish to retain their status as the 'legitimate superpower' that can convince the international community that it has the right to intervene militarily in certain areas of the world, or encourage developing countries to cooperate in international regimes. Otherwise it just looks hypocritical if the US shows so much interest in rebuilding Iraq (a country we invaded due to security reasons) but then says its 'not our problem' when a natural disaster fucks up another poor, but non-threatening, country. The US, Europe, and Australia boast alot of high-minded rhetoric about how they are pledging all this help for Haiti - but as the article suggests these claims need to be taken with a grain of salt. The US isn't the main target here, they have pledged more help than certain european counties who have been a bit slack.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by blair View Post
            The comparisons to people getting bonuses are stupid. People should be penalized for working hard and earning money because of a natural disaster?
            The comparisons to the bonuses shouldn't be viewed as some 'these bonuses are too much rant'. Its to show how small the level of aid is compared to such figures.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by escobar View Post
              The Walrus - Noone is expecting there to be an international communist regime. The article isn't trying to offer any solution to this problem by such means.

              The main point is at the end. Developed countries like the US do have a certain responsibility to lend assistance if they wish to retain their status as the 'legitimate superpower' that can convince the international community that it has the right to intervene militarily in certain areas of the world, or encourage developing countries to cooperate in international regimes. Otherwise it just looks hypocritical if the US shows so much interest in rebuilding Iraq (a country we invaded due to security reasons) but then says its 'not our problem' when a natural disaster fucks up another poor, but non-threatening, country. The US, Europe, and Australia boast alot of high-minded rhetoric about how they are pledging all this help for Haiti - but as the article suggests these claims need to be taken with a grain of salt. The US isn't the main target here, they have pledged more help than certain european counties who have been a bit slack.
              Im like as far anticommunist as you can get just cuz I know that I would personally hate to live in that system and it would kill my drive, so I disagree with what Walrus is saying. I completely agree with you, but I mean the US doesnt care is hypocritical and when u have the people on top staying on top and in charge none of that is ever gonna change. Its all a game of distractions for profits or power.

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              • #8
                The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

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                • #9
                  This is silly.

                  Are the bonuses tasteless and disgusting? Yes.

                  But this idea that we are giving "crumbs" to Haiti and that they are on their own is just factually incorrect.

                  Just because some bankers have 40 billion dollars to fuck around with and let grow in the stock market doesn't mean the considerably less money going to Haiti is too little money. Just turn on the television. Blah blah blah it's a show for the cameras, right? Kill yaself.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the input. I agree that alot of people are doing great things helping in Haiti with the money that has been donated. If i didn't believe this, then i wouldn't have donated the money that i did.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by blair View Post
                      The comparisons to people getting bonuses are stupid. People should be penalized for working hard and earning money because of a natural disaster?
                      The bankers should be lined up against a wall and shot, not have their incomes regulated. Certainly not being bailed out by the taxpayer, who the bankers still treat like shit. I long for the day where the families of bankers weep and wail when they see the the giant ditch filled with bankers.

                      Originally posted by TheWalrus
                      We cannot insist on private industry in the USA paying for problems half way around the world or even in their own backyard. It isn't practical.
                      You certainly can.

                      All businesses, especially the international mega ones, should be made to put the nation before profit during certain times. The Haitian disaster will lead to a massive influx of undeseriable immigrants into the United States which will adversely effect the nation, particularly the popular masses, so avoiding this is a national priority.

                      The U.S. companies and government should help in some ways for Haiti to revover and, most importantly, develop into a country where immigrating to the U.S. will not be deseriable to the people.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pazuzu View Post
                        The bankers should be lined up against a wall and shot, not have their incomes regulated. Certainly not being bailed out by the taxpayer, who the bankers still treat like shit. I long for the day where the families of bankers weep and wail when they see the the giant ditch filled with bankers.
                        Steelers|KU Jayhawks|USC

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                        • #13
                          yea fuck banks n fuck the system .... ANARCHY!!!!


                          Manchester United 34-12-4
                          Real Salt Lake 7-1-1
                          SF 49ers 0-0

                          so stoned but leave no stone unturned

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                          • #14
                            Those banker vermin put a ~140% charge on me for going overdraft. I wish to exterminate them even more.

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                            • #15
                              I will help.
                              Steelers|KU Jayhawks|USC

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