While corruption and gross misallocation of aid money by slimy NGOs is definitely a big part of Haiti’s problem, there’s a reason why things have been getting worse beyond just corruption. That reason is inflation:
Chicken is a staple of the Haitian diet but its price has doubled in four years. Cooking oil and rice have gone up 10 percent the last 12 months. A liter of milk costs more than half the daily minimum wage, putting it out of reach for most of the country.
The cost of living seems like it is spiraling out of control to many Haitians, making life even more of a struggle in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.
“It’s really hard,” Cassandre Milord, an accountant in a small shop in Haiti’s capital, said of the inflation that has been in double digits since 2014. “You never know how much money you need to go to the market. The prices go up every day.”
It’s a nearly universal complaint across Haiti, and it lies at the root of the four days of deadly protests over steep fuel price hikes that shut down Port-au-Prince earlier this month and raised the specter of the mass unrest that has paralyzed the country in the past. Inflation is a fact of life in much of the world, but amid so much misery it resonates painfully here with everyone from people selling small bags of rice in the street to owners of small businesses — everyone except the tiny elite.
The Central Bank has sought to contain inflation but prices are rising around 16 percent a year. And the bank’s policy of devaluating the currency, the gourde, has in the eyes of many only made the situation worse because Haiti relies heavily on imports.
Haiti is not the only country which is struggling badly due to horrible monetary policies. There is of course the famous example of Venezuela, but the Turkish lira is also getting killed due to Erdogan pushing hard for low interest rate policies and making insane public pronouncements like “Because my belief is: interest rates are the mother and father of all evil.”
Runaway inflation seems to be slowly growing into a global problem. At first, it only happened rarely, and in true basket case countries like Zimbabwe. But now we are seeing inflation becoming a problem in much richer countries, such as Turkey and Venezuela (or at least Venezuela USED to be rich).
The common characteristic tying all these countries together is a corrupt and often fanatical leadership who are fixated on socialist-style economics. They make their high spending, high debt policies into a weird state religion, and they continue to abuse the monetary system beyond all sanity to avoid having to admit they made a policy error.