Haiti and the Charter City

Contrary to what some have suggested, a charter city in Haiti is simply not an option at this time. A charter city can only be created through voluntary agreement. Under the current conditions, the government and people of Haiti do not have the freedom of choice required for any agreement reached now to be voluntary.

That is Paul Romer, finding himself in the unusual position of quelling enthusiasm for a Charter City. Well, at least one in Haiti. He points out there is a better solution to putting Haiti under charter: a Charter City for Haitians elsewhere.

There are clear limits on the number of Haitian immigrants that nearby jurisdictions are currently prepared to accept. But if nations in the region created just two charter cities, they could accept the entire population of Haiti as residents. There are many locations close to Haiti where these new cities could be built, but for now, Haiti itself is the one place we should not consider.

I’ve expressed skepticism about Charter Cities before, but I think this is as good a time as any to see proposals.Whatever the systemic risks of a new system of rules, they may be no less than the systemic risks that will face a future Haiti. A little diversification would not hurt.

While we’re at it, however, we could diversify a little more. If half the OECD countries each took 50,000 refugees, even on temporary visas, that would be a 750,000 people sending back remittances. (Come on, Canada. Even the Senegalese are offering to let them come.)

I have now exhausted my (non-existent) knowledge of migration and refugee issues. I would love to see comments those actually informed about such matters.