Today we talk about "disaster relief" in Haiti. But we should also talk about what could have prevented most of the deaths.
(T)he Haitian earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. But the quake that hit California's Bay Area in 1989 was also of magnitude 7.0. It killed only 63 people. This difference is due chiefly to Americans' greater wealth. With one of the freest economies in the world, Americans build stronger homes and buildings, and have better health-care and better search and rescue equipment. In contrast, burdened by one of the world's least-free economies, Haitians cannot afford to build sturdy structures. Nor can they afford the health-care and emergency equipment that we take for granted here in the U.S.
These stark facts should be a lesson for those who insist that human habitats are made more dangerous, and human lives put in greater peril, by freedom of commerce and industry.
Economic freedom saves lives. The ultimate tragedy in Haiti was not the earthquake. It was Haiti’s lack of economic freedom. That tragedy plays out every day in most of the third world.