Saturday, October 9, 2010

Alms Dealers

Philip Gourevitch's recent New Yorker piece on how humanitarian aid contributes to conflict throughout the world was eye-opening.  He refers mostly to the strong arguments of Linda Polman, a Dutch journalist, who wrote the new book, The Crisis Caravan:  What's Wrong with Humanitarian Aid, after spending 15 years researching the ill effects that humanitarian aid has on people, as it has a strong tendency to increase and lengthen conflict, arguably causing more harm to civilians than help.

As David Kennedy writes in The Dark Side of Virtue, "Humanitarianism tempts us to hubris, to an idolatry about our intentions and routines, to the conviction that we know more than we do about what justice can be."

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