I have already commented on the mess in Haiti - now we have a means of comparison between African tribal kleptocrat rule and a more typical western democracy in Chile.
The Chilean earthquake was several hundred times more powerful, yet there are very few fatalities. This is due to 1) a far more honest government's enforcement of building codes appropriate for seismic zones and 2) a functional economy making it possible to construct safe buildings - again courtesy of a more honest government.
Chile's main problem now is fiscal. They won't have to deal with tens of thousands of rotting bodies buried in rubble, or the inevitable epidemics that follow when a third world country has a sanitation disaster of this magnitude. The next problem would be the need to restore power, water and sanitation, but at least they know what those things mean. Also a concern is the fact that the structural integrity of many buildings is compromised beyond repair, and that aftershocks stronger than the main Haiti earthquake are possible. (All in all, though, it's most likely STILL safer to be in a damaged Chilean building that it was to be in a Haitian building during their quake.)
It's important to place the blame where it's due - the tens of thousands of deaths in Haiti are due to a corrupt government that has no respect for human rights. Rights that start with property rights, which are the foundation of gainful work. Gainful work and property rights combine to produce an economy capable of building safe structures in seismic zones.
It's also worth noting that the US government is fully engaged in destroying that equation here at home. Give THAT some thought too!
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