The timing of this article doesn’t match up well with the current need for massive humanitarian relief, but the point is well taken that traditional aid hurts much more than it helps. Not mentioned in this article are the (much smaller) untraditional aid practices that deliver help directly to individuals, as opposed to governments, such as loans to individuals for education & small businesses, that do have a record of delivering real improvements. But those successful aid programs tend to be administered by private organizations and charities and not national governments.
For actual Haitians, just about every conceivable aid scheme beyond immediate humanitarian relief will lead to more poverty, more corruption and less institutional capacity. It will benefit the well-connected at the expense of the truly needy, divert resources from where they are needed most, and crowd out local enterprise. And it will foster the very culture of dependence the country so desperately needs to break.
A better approach recognizes the real humanity of Haitians by treating them—once the immediate and essential tasks of rescue are over—as people capable of making responsible choices. Haiti has some of the weakest property protections in the world, as well as some of the most burdensome business regulations. In 2007, it received 10 times as much in aid ($701 million) as it did in foreign investment.
Reversing those figures is a task for Haitians alone, which the outside world can help by desisting from trying to kill them with kindness.