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Haiti Stagnates Under Crony Capitalism



(p. A13) A May 2015 World Bank "systematic country diagnostic" on Haiti is instructive.


. . .


As the World Bank report notes, Haiti suffers from crony capitalism that holds back economic growth.


. . .


The record of Haiti's elected politicians, since the transition to democracy at the beginning of the 1990s, is dismal. The political class still uses its power for personal aggrandizement, as the infamous dictators Fran├žois Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude did for almost 30 years.

Just as discouraging is that after more than two decades of going to the polls, Haitians have yet to taste economic freedom, and emigration has become the only option for those who hope to get ahead by hard work. The World Bank reports that between 1971 and 2013 gross domestic product per capita "fell by .7% per year on average."


. . .


The World Bank authors gently speculate that there is "little competitive pressure." They observe this "could be the result of high legal or behavioral entry barriers" and this "could facilitate tacit agreements among families/groups to allocate markets among themselves, which may harm productivity and incentive to innovate."

This is polite jargon for collusion, which Haitians already know. They also know that absent the political will to open markets to competition, elections won't matter much.



For the full commentary, see:

MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY. "Diagnosing What Ails Haiti's Economy; The World Bank fingers cronyism, of which Bill Clinton was for years a symbol." The Wall Street Journal (Mon., Oct. 12, 2015): A13.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary was updated on Oct. 11, 2015.)


The World Bank report mentioned in the passages quoted above, is:

HAITI: TOWARDS A NEW NARRATIVE SYSTEMATIC COUNTRY DIAGNOSTIC, May 2015.






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