Does Haiti need model urban zones? -

Does Haiti need model urban zones?

Economist argues for new cities, new rules, a new development model for fragile nations


The problem of how to rebuild Haiti brings into new focus the bigger problem of how to deliver aid effectively to the poorest countries. Paul Romer, a Stanford University economist and expert in the field of economic growth, argues for a radical new model in his recent essay for Prospect magazine. He calls for creating charter cities where the sorts of poor governance and failures of the rule of law that hold back growth in fragile nations would be banished. Romer suggests Hong Kong’s history as an example of how it might unfold, but he leaves open the question of whether a single rich country, or a group, of a multinational body, would partner with a poor country on setting up the cities. “In the case of Haiti,” he writes, “if nations in the region created just two charter cities, they could house the entire population of that country.”

Prospect magazine

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Does Haiti need model urban zones?

  1. I'm torn. Sounds fine in principle, but I think the west's record at fixing countries from the outside has been rather brutal lately, for all the obvious reasons. What I really think Haiti needs – and this is something we *can* help with – is a Haitian de-diaspora; ideas like this need to be implemented by Hatiians with the help of former Haitians experienced with more honest, stable and responsible systems of government, so the country can not only climb up on its own but be seen to be doing so. Cash is not the issue; leadership is.

  2. Economists can go to hell.