Monday, March 1, 2010

A Sad Tale of Two Nations....

Chile was recently (Saturday, February 26, 2010) rocked by the fifth largest earthquake since seismic records began being kept in 1900 at 8.8 on the Richter Scale.

The quake, which lasted an interminable 3 minutes, damaged over 1.5 MILLION homes and the death toll is approaching 1,000, but Chile has, so far, eschewed any foreign assistance, because it’s been one of the most earthquake-safe countries, ever since it suffered the largest earthquake since records were kept, back in 1960 with a quake that measured an incredible 9.5 on the Richter Scale.

It’s hard not to notice the huge difference between the way Chile has dealt with an even larger quake than the one that absolutely devastated Haiti about a month ago.

First, while the Caribbean does have a tectonic fault line running through it, Haiti has not been an earthquake prone nation, as Chile has.

Secondly, Haiti has long had a dysfunctional government, and as a result, a population with a 60% illiteracy rate and virtually no entrepreneurialism to spur economic advancement. Moreover, it’s had no sustainable agricultural policies and as a result has depleted much of its once rich soil.

Chile went from an economic basket-case under the Allende regime to the “Jewel of South America” when it adopted the free market policies advocated by the late, great Milton Friedman!

As a result, even though a Center-Left government now rules Chile, there have been few “economic reforms” that tinkered with the Friedman Plan that has served that nation well for decades now!

Because of that prosperity, coupled with Chile’s being so earthquake prone, Chile has been able to not only recognize a problem but had the wherewithal to deal with it effectively.

THAT is the primary reason for the huge difference in the way Chile has dealt with a larger, potentially more devastating earthquake than the one that decimated Haiti.


Skunkfeathers said...

Sadly, these contrasts are not all that irrelevant in our own country. Contrast how one city -- New Orleans -- and one state -- Mississippi -- reacted to Hurricane Katrina in '05.

NO still howls for aid and still screams "racism", after billions poured in. The state next door makes no such noise. But I digress.

Granted, Chile has long known they sat upon a fault powder keg, and built accordingly; Haiti -- ineptly run and criminally corrupt -- probably wouldn't have been ready, had they known better.

Something to add to that: Haiti suffers a 7.3 and loses 200,000; Chile suffers an 8.8 (by seismic measurements a quake 800 times more powerful than the one that hit Haiti), and has a death toll of, at least up to now, 1,000.

Preparation and self-reliance; 'nuff said.

Jess said...

What an insightful post. I was thinking about that yesterday how Chile is facing serious problems right now but how they have said they do not need foreign aid. Finally, a nation that doesn't need our help! We've been pumping billions into Haiti for so long, when are we going to realize it isn't working?

JMK said...

You're absolutely right about the way New Orleans handled Katrina and the way Alabama handled the same devastating storm. Even more stark was the response of the Dakotans to the recent massive flooding of the red river - neighbors helped neighbors and they got through with minimal aid and a minimal outside presence.

ALL of America was like that before "the entitlement ethos" took hold in some places.

JMK said...

"We've been pumping billions into Haiti for so long, when are we going to realize it isn't working?" (Jess)

Hi Jess!....And thanks for the kind words.

Sometimes "helping" can actually hurt. When people are fed and given all they need they often become dependent. Time after time, we've seen nations that get massive food aid, seeing their farming capacity reduced. Why farm food, when you're getting it for free?

Thanks to the incompetent UN, we've made "emergency relief" akin to welfare - a system of self-limiting bureaucratic assistance that strips people of both their dignity and their independence/freedoms.

In this country, one of the unfortunate sins of the last three years of the Pelosi-Reid Congress has been a slow, but steady retracting of the welfare reforms that greatly improved that system and brought countless Americans to a place of self-sufficiency.

The liberal mindset in America has been both toxic and corrosive, perhaps the coming harsher economic times will go a long way toward eradicating that once and for all.

American Ideas Click Here!