Chile, Haiti earthquakes show mainstreaming of economic freedom

It's tempting to say that Chile is better off than Haiti after its earthquake because it's a more developed nation. But it's more developed because it's figured out how to govern a modern-day society. 

Aliosha Marquez/AP Photo
A camp set up for earthquake survivors surrounds a school in Lota, Chile, March 3. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile early Saturday – 500 times stronger than the quake that shook Haiti. But Chile has faired better than Haiti.

The earthquakes that struck Haiti and now Chile this winter are creating an unavoidable contrast. It also to my mind marks the moment when the idea of economic freedom is going mainstream. Here's an essay in TIME magazine:

... The 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Chile early on Feb. 27 was 500 times stronger than the 7.0 quake that killed an estimated 200,000 Haitians last month. And yet the number of casualties in Chile appears to be exponentially smaller, with the official death toll still in the hundreds.

... Wrong. It's the other way around: Chile is more developed because it's doing things right. The same goes for Brazil, Uruguay, Costa Rica and a handful of other Latin American and Caribbean nations that have decided in the 21st century to stop running their societies like medieval fiefdoms. They've conceded that niceties like rule of law, accountability, education, entrepreneurial opportunity and administrative efficiency actually have merit.

Keep in mind that this theory promoted by TIME is derided as "magical thinking" in Jeff Sach's The End of Poverty.

Still, the recovery in Chile will be long and difficult. They deserve our help. Thank goodness the U.S. and Chile already have an open trade agreement in place, since 2004..

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