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Jack Shafer at Slate writes to say that I was unfair to Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution in an item yesterday on Haiti. I had referred to a post which offered a list of reasons for Haiti’s poverty that gave, in my view, short shrift to the historic role of the U.S. and France. “I thought that Marginal Revolution was thinking out loud,” Shafer writes.
He noted that Cowen subsequently linked to this good essay that offers a broader look at the reasons for Haiti’s poverty, offering the two “root causes” as being international forces and the Haitian elite:
The poverty and misery in Haiti are human created. The root causes are the political and economic systems which have dominated Haiti for the whole of her 182 years. These oppressive factors have come from the international community, especially France and the United States. However, the Haitian elite, comprising only 3% of the Haitian people has also been a major factor in creating and continuing these oppressive conditions.
So I stand corrected about Marginal Revolution, but the broader point about the media’s general failure to provide historical context to the situation in Haiti certainly stands.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Amount that Egypt owes the United States in unpaid parking tickets:
Studies of humankind’s original states—in China, Egypt, the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, and Peru—suggest that the emergence of bureaucracy catalyzed predatory imperial expansion.
An Egyptian court sentenced former president Mohamed Morsi and 106 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for killing and kidnapping police; conspiring with Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah; participating in a 20,000-man jailbreak; and stealing chickens.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”