The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador has caused hundreds of deaths and thousands more injuries. The physical damage is beyond what one country can fix all on their own, queue all of the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) like Red Cross or Catholic Relief Services to come in and help with the clean up. These organizations do great things in times of strife for countries just struck by a natural disaster. The problem is, they never leave.
Let’s look at Haiti. In 2010 a 7,0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti and did incredible damage to the country. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world, so there was no way they could have dealt with that disaster all on their own. Plenty of NGOs came and helped that country in that time of dire need. But they’re still there. There are people in Haiti that are ready for these agencies to leave. The Haitian people want to fix their own country on their own. That’s every country’s dream is self-determination. But if you keep the country dependent on the free resources that NGOs handout Haiti, or any country that goes through a natural disaster, will never build themselves back up and create a system that works for them.
Now I know I sound like a curmudgeon telling charities to get out a country that needs help, but keep reading. There is something to this. I’m a conservative, but I’m not one that says all poor people are poor because they are lazy. Some of course are, but not all. And especially people in third world countries that are born into, quite frankly, a horrible situation. The only thing that is going to help people out of poverty is a job. Now the main driver of work and creator of jobs with good opportunity is a business.
There are now more less people in the world living in extreme poverty than ever before. I know it’s shocking but it’s true. What made that happen was people finding work that they were able to live a life off of and send their children to schools. It was not Catholic Relief Services handing out rice on the corner of the street. That fills the immediate short-term need, but what about the long term?
I write about this now because I see a great opportunity in Ecuador. A country that is currently reeling from a devastating earthquake and of course, needs all the help they can get at this very moment. But after a while, those NGOs need to get out the country and let the Ecuadorian people build themselves up. This is a country that is well on it’s way to becoming a shining economic light in that region. In 2010 the unemployment rate was 32.8 percent. In 2014 it was 22.5 percent. That’s a 10 percent drop in four years, that’s phenomenal for a country of that region!
There is great opportunity in Ecuador. Let’s not make the same mistakes we’ve made for many years when it comes to aid packages and NGOs. The help is absolutely needed at the very beginning, but please, let’s let Ecuador build itself up.