The Mid-Atlantic Blog

February 15, 2006

When NGOs Attack!

Handbags at dawn within the NGO community. The craze for giving goats for Africa as a Christmas present encouraged by some of the large NGOs has come under attack... by other NGOs (The combination of sanctimony and ruthless competition is quite charming, don't you think? Nice to see it turned against each other for once). Goats, it turns out, are terrible for the ecosystem, and will lead to big problems for the recipients.

This approach (tools rather than food or money as aid), to be fair, is much better than simple donations, so I'm not meaning to be totally dismissive. It does draw your attention to two points, though.
  • Central planning is central planning, whether done by a government or by an NGO. And it basically doesn't work.
  • If we in the developed world really want to help, we'll eliminate some of the barriers to trade that remain in place. CAP anyone? A gift of £50 into a fund to campaign against agricultural subsidies... now that might actually help much more
Now, don't tell me that these organisations don't do politics: they do. It's just that the politics that they do are actively counterproductive.

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