What would Bill do? Haiti edition

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Megan McArdle looks to The Elusive Quest for Growth for lessons on how to assist Haiti. Her conclusion: "We should give Haiti a bunch of money and other help".

Easterly makes a convincing case that aid doesn't improve the level of economic growth, or pull nations out of poverty. But aid can alleviate human misery, and that's what Haiti has a lot of right now. Haiti may not be any richer when we pull out. But it will have fewer dead people, fewer children missing parents, or parents missing limbs. It will not have descended as far into the brutal chaos of starvation and desperate thirst--a chaos which can irreparably rend the social fabric.

Tyler Cowen says pretty much thing, arguing for more immediate aid to alleviate immediate misery.

Bill has been relatively absent this week from his Aid Watch blog, leaving his readers with only a few crumbs regarding his ideas for Haiti.

While Bill may be absent, Bob is not.

In an interview yesterday with the Financial Times, World Bank President Robert Zoellick has warned the donor community of the long haul ahead in rebuilding Haiti:

Mr Zoellick said it was essential to ensure that "when the cameras leave the donors do not leave with them... The goal would be grasping the opportunity to build back better."

Building a consensus on how to rebuild Haiti over the long run will be a challenge. At least there is near-universal agreement on the need to act fast, and generously, in the short run.

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