Monday, January 25, 2010

The poor you will always have with you...

First-world guilt, not so much. Televised pseudo-compassion is useless (as Right Girl points out, who cared about Haiti before the quake hit?).

Haiti was totally dysfunctional before the quake. I'm pretty sure that $50 (or $500 or $5 million, if I had it) won't get rid of their useless corrupt leaders or social structures. Haiti needs a miracle. Not sure what the answer is; pretty sure the Crying-on-TV-Live-Aid junk is not it. David Warren explains.

The impulse to "write a cheque" to assuage conscience becomes more and more deeply engrained in our psyches, as we abandon the moral and spiritual underpinnings of our civilization, and indulge the habit of quantifying each issue by the amount of money we throw at it. My advice to the people who have asked me what they can most usefully do to help is, start thinking ahead to the next disaster. For Port-au-Prince is already bottlenecked with supplies.

Love is not a declaration, but instead an action, and those who are troubled by the hideous conditions in which so many on our planet live and die had better devote more time than is required by PayPal.

A hard and unwelcome truth (to those who want the charitable equivalent of instant gratification) is the limit on the amount of money that can be usefully spent on a disaster, before counter-productive efforts begin to dominate all spending. By counter-productive I mean, especially, in a case like Haiti, restoring the circumstances that keep its people in desperation, including the power of a kleptocracy to create political obstacles to any direct human enterprise -- whether profitable or charitable.

Do keep reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment