The Primate Diaries

Here at ScienceBlogs we regularly take The Huffington Post down a notch by pointing out such cutting edge lunacy as vaccine denialism or pseudoscientific spiritualism masquerading as health advice. Now the latest in a long list of unsubstantiated crazy is on full display.

Some writer named Eric Michael Johnson, who clearly thinks he’s so self important as to include his middle name, has published an article called “Haiti’s Political and Economic Earthquake” on the US and World Bank role in maintaining Haiti’s poverty.

Since 1990 there have been two US-supported military coups, a series of economic “readjustments” at the behest of the World Bank, and a US corporate trade bill that have all served to return the former slave population to economic serfdom. Up until the earthquake on January 12, two-thirds of Haiti’s exports were apparel products contracted by multinational companies such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart and the Walt Disney Company. And while the Magic Kingdom was stocked with goods made in Haitian sweatshops, 80% of the residents lived below the poverty line and earned less than $2 a day.

But we all know that couldn’t be. Especially when The New York Times reported on Sunday that:

Western donors invested hundreds of millions of dollars in state-building. But Mr. Aristide and the new elite he promoted proved as contemptuous of popular welfare as their predecessors. In 1998, the World Bank reported that “political instability, woefully poor governance and corruption” had again frustrated hopes for reform.

Sounds like a lot of woo. I make it a policy to never read the articles at Huffington Post, so you’ll have to let me know what you think of it here.

Comments

  1. #1 Pierce R. Butler
    January 27, 2010

    Department of Pure Coincidences: Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and Haiti has been liberated by US troops more than any other nation in the world.

  2. #2 Rose
    January 27, 2010

    Um… I think in this case, I’m going with HuffPo. I think any reference to a World Bank study would be automatically suspect. And a NYT article based on the WB report…

    The HuffPo article is worth a read, as it’s pretty well referenced.

    I make it a practice not to write off something I haven’t read… nor do I recommend others do so either.

  3. #3 Rose
    January 27, 2010

    D’oh! Just read author bios on both…

  4. #4 JerryM
    January 27, 2010

    Took me a bit to realise you were the author of the hp article. After reading both, they’re not too dissimilar, just that your article goes much deeper.

    The World Bank and the IMF have traditionally reflected the open market capitalism idea from the US rather than the more social capitalism from Western Europe. The constant hammering on privatization and opening local markets to outside goods has led to western corporations growing exponentially, with local markets barely improving.

    It’s too much to hope for for the current administration to change this pattern, even with the evidence from the market collapse showing that privatization may not be the best solution for everything.

  5. #5 EMJ
    January 27, 2010

    Yeah, sorry about that. Sometimes my sarcasm is a little too thick and raises more confusion than anything else.

  6. #6 Hamid
    January 27, 2010

    You got me too with this one…

  7. #7 phayes
    January 27, 2010

    “I make it a policy to never read the articles at Huffington Post”

    I gave it the benefit of the doubt recently after a couple of rational articles, including one by Steven Newton, made it look like it might be cleaning up its act. I even signed up so I could contribute in the comments.

    Never again.

  8. #8 yogi-one
    February 1, 2010

    I guess you hit a nerve here…warning: late-night rant follows.

    Huffpo survives off the same depsperate celebrity voyeurs as People and Us magazines. They try hard to be liberal, but it comes off as (not surprisingly) Hollywood-style bleeding heart liberals. You know, the crowd that makes their dogs into vegetarians and spends thousands of dollars on a luxury vacation that includes paying $500 to see Deepak Chopra drone on about “the quantum field of pure potentiality” for two hours.

    Your quote sums up the problem with globalization pretty well. We have created the biggest parasites on the planet and adopted a philosophy that religiously worships the parasites.

    The convert-religiosity of the “free market” devotees has always amazed me. Substance-addiction and religion are the only other areas I have seen such total ignorance of reality clung to as if it were the Word of God.

    Even the AGW denialists know they are lying. The free-marketeers are just punch-drunk on their own Kool-Aid. I love it when sources at Goldman Sachs swear that nobody could have seen the collapse coming.

    Free marketeering as the main component in structuring society doesn’t work. It just plain doesn’t work, not any better than feudalism, which it actually ends up looking very similar to, especially in the way in which it stratifies the society.

    The fact that we have to push the economy to the point of total collapse before we’ll admit it isn’t the magical one-size-fits-all answer to everything flies in the face of claims that homo-sapiens is an intelligent species. Instead it seems that we can regulate our populations or control our behaviors no better than any other animal that has caused its own extinction by overpopulating and overrunning its own ecosystem.

    Nature’s intelligence test is can a species continue to thrive once it becomes too successful? We have proved we can breed endlessly, kill all the other animals who might compete with us food, and consume on a scale unimagined before we overpopulated.

    Do we have the intelligence to regulate our species so as to avoid causing a mass-extinction event?

    So far the answer is a resounding “NO!”

    That will have to change before we can regard the species as “intelligent”.

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