Do-Gooders Doing Well (For Themselves)

Via Samizdata, an interesting tidbit:

[L]awyers are also good at asking questions, and as far as what’s happening in Haiti is concerned, there is no shortage of those. Like, for example, what is happening to millions of extra dollars pouring into a country that already had a staggering 10,000 NGOs before the earthquake. For an island with a population of fewer than 10 million, there is at least one NGO per 1,000 people.

Now, I don’t have numbers on how much money various NGOs in Haiti actually get. My guess is that it isn’t inconsiderable. So if before the big disaster a couple of months ago there was at least one NGO per one thousand people, where did all that not-inconsiderable money sent to NGOs in Haiti after the earthquake go? To actually helping the people of Haiti? To strengthening infrastructure? Or did it go to the wallets of self-proclaimed do-gooders who feel eternally justified in cumulatively gobbling up tens of millions of dollars per year for their no doubt staggeringly impressive “administrative” talents while poorly- or unpaid volunteers are the ones actually out in the sun building the hospitals and digging the ditches?

And what of the dupes who sent their money to one of those NGOs charged with helping that roughly 1000 Haitians? Was their money wisely spent? How come Haiti, even before the earthquake was one of the most wretched places on earth despite the fact that for every thousand Haitians, an entire non-governmental organization was on the ground ready to provide for each person’s very existence? Perhaps more importantly, what of those Haitians whose entire existence is predicated on the presence of one or more of those NGOs? What does it mean when a state is too feeble to exist without massive and sustained subsidies from another state? Can it really be said to be independent? Can this state of affairs instead effectively be critiqued as representing a particularly insidious form of neo-liberalism, one dressed in the culturally (in)sensitive garb of Euro(American)-centric neo-colonialism? If so, what does that mean for the whole “humanitarian aid” project? Or, if not merely the manifestation of a new form of colonialism, is such aid in the final analysis merely the obligation of the rich to the poor? If that is the case, how do such clear power imbalances effectively translate into a situation that can not be described as “neo-colonialism”?

Well, never mind that! Who the hell are white engineers to suggest more earthquake-resistant construction techniques, anyways?

Racists. Prolly didn’t support the majority of the country that elected Obama on health care reform, either.


2 Responses to “Do-Gooders Doing Well (For Themselves)”

  1. 1 CJ Ciaramella
    March 28, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Yeah, a reporter who had just gotten back from Haiti came and talked to one of my reporting classes. He said the administrative bloat in a lot of the NGO’s was pretty disgusting. He said one time a truck pulled in that needed to be loaded with relief supplies, and he said no one would help load it except him and one other guy because it “wasn’t their job.”

  2. 2 Vincent
    March 28, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    At this point, I would bet that more money has gone to Haiti than constitutes the entire state budget of Wyoming. And virtually nothing will come of it except a lot of fat paychecks for NGO types.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: