…George Mason University’s Tyler Cowen’s opening salvo (Jan. 30 Marginal Revolution) in what’s sure to be a lively debate over what foreigners could do to raise Haiti’s living standards in the wake of the earthquake? Cowen sees some hope in the possibility that a surge of development aid will open the door to fresh legions of corrupt rent-seekers – and in the process undermine the ability of the current elite to inhibit private economic initiative.
Cynical? Maybe. But Haiti’s grim history and paucity of market-friendly institutions don’t otherwise leave much room for naiveté – or optimism.