Friday, January 22, 2010

Why Would I Donate to Haiti Now and Not in the Recent Past?

I've heard a lot of tut-tutting about the inconsistency, supposed, of one's willingness to contribute to Haitian causes six months ago (in my case, minimal) and now (in my case, some).  Most recently Stephen Lewis and Jian Ghomeishi pontificated about this on CBC's Q this morning.  They missed the most obvoius answer.
Like guys!  NOW if I contribute money I have a fairly strong sense it will go to something useful and necessary - it will go to utterly essential aid.  People are in desperate need of food, medical care, shelter, all of which will be delivered in simple ways (I believe).
Six months ago I do not think money I contributed would have gone to anything so well-defined.  It would likely have trickled through NGOs, through corrupt officials, and finally probably have supported 'development' policies that were generally counterproductive.
There is a difference between contributing support to an effort to help people suddenly in desperate need (where the needs likely mostly get served) and people in more general need (where the needs get mis-identifed and funds pissed away).
OK that's my reason.
Note this is the same thinking as regards the tsunami.  I was very ready to contribute to aid right after the tsunami in Indonesia.  Now, not so much.
I think this 'inconsistency' is in fact deeply rational in terms of trying to help others.


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