academics > politics
document updated 2 months ago, on Nov 14, 2022

philanthropy and international aid

My take on philanthropy and international aid is similar — they're all bullshit.

Philanthropy and "effective altruism"

Call me a Marxist, but ridiculous concentrations of wealth shouldn't be allowed to occur. That money doesn't belong to those billionaires, and it should be handed over to the most needy immediately.

Philanthropy means that the donors get to choose where to direct the money, instead of actually listening to people on the ground about what their needs are (usually it's "give me cash"). The billionaires get to feel sentimental about their philanthropy, even though it's simply economic paternalism to exert control over where the philanthropy should go.

Also, "The white savior supports brutal policies in the morning, founds charities in the afternoon, and receives awards in the evening", which is to say that they often earn their vast sums of money in a way that directly harms minorities, and that's not something that can be simply undone by donating a bit of it in order to get tax write-offs.

International aid

International aid should be directed to the countries that need it the most, but that's not what happens. Instead, the money gets distributed based on the donor's interests, and that's bullshit.