Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Bureaucrats Without Borders

Foreign Policy magazine has a good article about "the new colonists," that is, the large corps of internationalist do-gooders who staff the non-government organizations that have, one way or another, ended up running many failed states. The FP article is available to subscribers only, but it's discussed by Judith Apter Klinghofer at her blog (here), only she takes a decidedly jaded view of "the growing power and influence of unaccountable and self appointed NGOs".

I had a good look at some of these NGOers while working for the World Bank in the late 1990s, and I share Judith's reservations about them. I'm sure they all went into the NGO business for the most altruistic of motives, but I couldn't help but notice that many of them were doing well by doing good. As one of them told me on my very first day at the Bank, "there's a lot of money in poverty."

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