Tom,, here's the bottom line question.
How many earthships do families who earn less than two dollars a day in Haiti live in now?
If that number is small, how many families do you think will live in earthship homes in Haiti 5 years from now?
I very much like the earthship concept, and I think its very attractive for customers who can afford it in the west. For example, I see earthship homes advertised for sale in the US at prices from $148,000 to $1.5 million., But they will never reach scale in Haiti with a materials cost of $4100 when they are made available as a charitable donation by governments and NGO's.
Instead, here's what's likely to happen when earthships are given away in Haiti
1. A few families will receive them, and will be very pleased
2. Charitable and goverment sources of funding will run out well before any meaningful scale is reached, and 99% of the families living in totally inadequate housing will continue to do so
3. There is a high likelihood that the families who do receive earthships will have to pay a bribe to get them, and therefore are likely to be wealthier families instead of poor ones
This is exactly what happened in Bangladesh when the World Bank decided to heavily subsidize $500 diesel pumps- the richest farmers paid bribes, got heavily subsidized diesel pumps, and put poor farmers without access to irrigation water at even more of a disadvantage. When we sold treadle pumps for $25 without subsidy through the private sector, , one and a half million families bought one, earned $150 million in new net annual income from their investment put more land under irrigation than the subsidized diesel pumps did
The same economic impact is likely to happen if and when you solve the practical challanges to building and marketing attractive, secure earthquake resistant homes in Haiti that sell for less than $200
Tom, thank you for continuing this very interesting and useful discussion