Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Friends of mine are often surprised when I attack former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill -- yes he did save the U.K. from the Nazis but Mr. Churchill was an ardent imperialist which is a political/economic system I completely reject. However -- I will concede that the lands under the British Empire fared much better than the French colonies. The clearest example of this differential is represented in today's Associated Press article by Jonathan Katz entitled, "Eating Dirt in Haiti."Given the lack of school choice in the USA let me note for readers that the former French colony -- Haiti -- is nearly the poorest country in the world in located off the coast of the USA in the Caribbean Sea. Unfortunately their number one import in the last few years have been foreign military troops sent to "stabilize" the country.

But let's focus on Mr. Katz's article which simply explained that due to rising fuel prices and the demand for bio-fuels the cost of basic foodstuffs has increased dramatically -- nearly a 40% increase in some parts of the Caribbean.So Haitians are resorting to buying clay (dirt) in the local marketplaces to combine with salt and vegetable shortening to produce biscuit-like food. Apparently this clay is a good source of calcium although it is also a potential source of parasites. Wow, what a trade off caused by the failure of Haiti to recover from French imperialism.

Yes Haiti can be reformed -- election reform, expansion of foreign exchange student programs, the ending of US agriculture subsidies that essentially put Haitian farmers out of business, and the ending of foreign aid to be replaced by micro-finance solutions via groups that use private sector equity from people like me such as Kiva ( .Sadly the current leaders in the Caribbean have failed their region. Mr. Katz's article notes that these leaders --"held an emergency summit in December to discuss cutting food taxes and creating large regional farms to reduce dependence on imports."

Now let's break this statement down a bit:1) Why do nations tax food products? Food, clothing, and shelter are the most basic of human needs yet governments tax these items thus keeping citizens in poverty and dependent on government programs.2.) Why creation "large regional farms"? Stalin tried this in the Soviet Union by forcing peasant farmers off their property to work on large, collective farms -- oh yea, millions of people starved to death.

Lastly, I did a quick search on to find a business to loan to so I could do my small part to help them but sadly no entrepreneurs are on the Kiva system today.

Freedom not empire,Todd

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