Friday, February 26, 2010

Haiti and Building Bigger Barns

Here is a chart comparing the population of the US and Haiti:

As you can see the population of the US is 31 times larger than that of Haiti.

Below is a chart of the GDP's of both the US and Haiti [Gross Domestic Product]:

As you can see the USA GDP is around 2,043 times larger than that of Haiti.

The difference in those numbers mean that a person who lives in the US is somewhere around 65 times richer than somebody in Haiti. That's a huge difference. With these numbers the average person in the US makes $46,710 per year and the average peron in Haiti makes $716.00 per year. [That means the average bi-weekly pay check for an average American is 2.5 times larger than the entire year's wage for an average Haitian!]

The problem with Haiti is not that they just went through a massive earthquake. The earthquake that went through was a 7.0 on the richter scale, nearly the same as the 6.9 that hit the Bay Area of California in 1989. The '89 quake caused 63 deaths, injured 3,757 people, and left somewhere between 3,000 and 12,000 homeless. Compare those numbers to the 230,000 deaths that occured in Haiti. Even though the populations are [somewhat] compareable, somewhere around 229,967 more people died in Haiti. Let me say it again, the problem with Haiti is NOT that they went through an earthquake.

In Luke chapter 12, Jesus tells a parable of a rich man who had barns which hold the crops he grows [as a sort of retirement fund]. Jesus says that this year he has a bumper crop. His crop is so big that the barns he has are too big to contain it all. So this man decides to tear down his barns and build bigger ones. He only cared about his own financial security and because of this Jesus calls him a fool. It is not because he is rich, its because he only thinks about himself and his future security - wanting to have his bottom line look good - that Jesus condemns this person. Its not because he's rich, its because he keeps trying to get richer.

The thing is that its responsible to save. Its responsible to protect your future. But if the rich never look to help the poor, how will they ever pull themselves of poverty? If the rich only are concerned with their own safety and security, the poor will only get poorer. Not only do the poor suffer when the rich do not look to help them, the rich also suffer. Jesus in the sermon on the mount goes out of his way to pit riches and money against God [Matt 6.19-24]. So the rich person, when focusing on his own riches, is really making their God their money. It is for this reason that Jesus calls our friend in Luke 12 a fool.

I guess Haiti's problem is not that they went through an earthquake, or that they're poor. I think that their problem is that they have a rich neighbor who keeps building bigger barns.

1 comment:

Kickert said...


This is quite possibly the best blog post I have read all year. Thanks for the research and the perspective.