Archive for March, 2012

*this post is so old.  I left it in a pile of drafts that I had started and simply forgot to post. I’m not even sure if it is relevant anymore and most of you have already seen the article. O well . . . *

The 7 Worst Aid Ideas

The first two examples  are especially emblematic of a flaw in aid that most people don’t understand unless they’ve taken an Econ 101 course.  Basically, whenever something is given away from free, it really *isn’t* given away for free.  With free stuff comes a displacement of the profit that someone would have made off of selling that stuff, and that profit unfortunately can come out of the communities where it is needed the most.  When I was a kid in high school, I was fortunately warned by one of my mentors against sending *anything* to Kenya (where our org was set up) but instead to just have it manufactured locally.  Except for toothpaste.  So I went to a lot of dentists asking for those really small tubes of toothpaste you get after visits in the hopes that I could ship these over with my mentor and she would be able to deliver them to some (cavity-free) children.  To this day I wonder if that was even a good idea.



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