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Reuters: Don’t Donate Money To Japan!

From the ‘Analysis & Opinion’ section of Reuters:

Don’t donate money to Japan

Felix Salmon
Mar 14, 2011

Individuals are doing it, banks are doing it — faced with the horrific news and pictures from Japan, everybody wants to do something, and the obvious thing to do is to donate money to some relief fund or other.

We went through this after the Haiti earthquake, and all of the arguments which applied there apply to Japan as well. Earmarking funds is a really good way of hobbling relief organizations and ensuring that they have to leave large piles of money unspent in one place while facing urgent needs in other places

And as Matthew Bishop and Michael Green said last year, we are all better at responding to human suffering caused by dramatic, telegenic emergencies than to the much greater loss of life from ongoing hunger, disease and conflict. That often results in a mess of uncoordinated NGOs parachuting in to emergency areas with lots of good intentions, where a strategic official sector response would be much more effective. Meanwhile, the smaller and less visible emergencies where NGOs can do the most good are left unfunded.

Sure things look bad in Japan. But that is just TV. There are people in the third world with real needs, that might not get the attention Mr. Salmon thinks they deserve.

In the specific case of Japan, there’s all the more reason not to donate money. Japan is a wealthy country which is responding to the disaster, among other things, by printing hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of new money. Money is not the bottleneck here: if money is needed, Japan can raise it

So save your donations for third world countries, preferably ones run by tinhorn dictators. Swiss banks have to eat, too, you know.

On top of that, it’s still extremely unclear how or where organizations like globalgiving intend on spending the money that they’re currently raising for Japan — so far we’re just told that the money “will help survivors and victims get necessary services,” which is basically code for “we have no idea what we’re going to do with the money, but we’ll probably think of something.”

Globalgiving, it’s worth pointing out, was created to support “projects in the developing world,” where lack of money is much more of a problem than it is in Japan.

I’m not at all convinced that the globalgiving model can or should be applied directly to Japan, without much if any thought about whether it’s the best way to address the issues there.

That said, it’s entirely possible that organizations like the Red Cross or Save the Children will find themselves with important and useful roles to play in Japan. It’s also certain that they have important and useful roles to play elsewhere. So do give money to them — and give generously! And give money to other NGOs, too, like Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which don’t jump on natural disasters and use them as opportunistic marketing devices. Just make sure it’s unrestricted

By the way, Mr. Salmon’s expertise in this area is undeniable. We get a little background on this Solon, via a Benzinga.com interview from back on October 22, 2010:

Benziga: How did you get involved in the financial media?

Salmon: Basically I was an unemployable art history graduate in this sort of mini-recession in the UK in the 90s, and the only person foolish enough to give me a job was Euromoney, which I rapidly fond out was involved in the bond market. What a bond was? I didn’t know.

Who are we to doubt him?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Reuters: Don’t Donate Money To Japan!”

  1. jambon says:

    All I have to do is compare Japan’s troubles to the situations in Haiti and Louisiana – it takes me about 1/4 second to see that any money I could donate would go a lot farther in Japan than in Louisiana or in Haiti.

    I heard a comment that Japan will rebuild half its country before the WTC area will be rebuilt and that the USA has a 10 year head start on Japan. We might have a chance to win that race if Gov. Walker could move to NYC and clean up NY.

  2. Astravogel says:

    Somewhere in Kansas, at this very
    moment, some elderly widow is
    purchasing tsunami insurance from
    a fellow in a pickup truck.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    It’s no secret the left hates Japan. After all, look at what they did to turn their nation around after WWII by becoming a manufacturing and innovation powerhouse. That just bugs the crap out of liberals. But, every liberal I’ve ever dealt with, in order to play their protest music with the highest level of fidelity, have always demanded Japanese technology to do so. Hmm.

    Yes, their culture is steeped heavily in tradition, respect for one’s elders, fair play (which is why baseball caught on there, I think) and honor. All of which are totally foreign to the left. The Japanese deal largely in reality with some heavy Shinto thrown in..which…again is largely based on logic. It does escape me that they have such an upside-down economy but in fairness, I have to address their overwhelming pride on that issue. Not declaring bankruptcy is a matter of honor. Some may see it as misguided but it has caused them to make some poor decisions. Saving face and all that. But, ultimately, they will realize the difficulty and may find another way out. Hopefully.

    I have always respected the Japanese for their adherence to a culture based on honesty and character. It’s not without its own kind of trappings but I think we have strayed from our own version of same and look where it’s landed us. The age of D’OH-bama.

    • proreason says:

      Yes, and Japan did it without turning to Communism or overt socialism. Japan is a test tube testament to the value of hard work and innovation. The lack of communism is a big reason why the left hates them.

    • NoNeoCommies says:

      The Japanese committed a terrible sin after WWII.
      They read, understood, and adopted the principles of business experts that America was ignoring.
      They used our own expertise against us while we sat on our hands.
      The media hates that and fears any nation that may toss political correctness and all other Liberal dross overboard in the drive to success because they will succeed and more people will wake up to the reality of Liberalism’s failure..

  4. tranquil.night says:

    Now they’re openly manipulating facts against independent charities so that the cash and control of humanitarian aid flows to them? I don’t know how many times one can ask “Have you no shame?” but this is getting sick.

    • proreason says:

      Of course. The left hates charities. That’s why they are always pushing to end the tax deduction for charitable giving.

      What really bugs them is that charities do ten times the good work with 1/10th the financing of government.

      The only kind of charities the left supports is the Al Sharpton kind….in other words, criminal organizations.

  5. Liberals Demise says:

    Liberals have no scruples…….so they know no shame.
    ‘Liberals Demise’ is not just a handle…….

  6. canary says:

    Reuters learned Japan thinks muslims are weirdos and will not allow their Sharia law, while Christianity is growing.

    It’s far better to give money to Indonesia who did not want our help for fear we’d teach Christianity.

    It’s far better to give money to Cairo who beat-up Americans and continue and have increased murder on Christians, the youth now forgiving the most evil of muslim terrorists.

    Hillary has announced billions and billions of our dollars going there, when the people are holding festivities and
    choosing not to work. Forcing Christians to do their work.

  7. Illusions says:

    Interesting picture with this one chosen.

    It was the same tactic used by the by Reuters in Lebanon where they staged photos to make readers more sympathetic to their side. How it worked was easy. They were staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring. All done to pull at the heartstrings of the readers. A reader seeing a photo of a child’s toy causes the reader to immediately think of the child it had belonged to and possible lost.

    But like the Reuter’s Lebanon photos with a child’s toy center in the photo, note how clean and undamaged it is after the devastation that ravaged the area.

  8. U NO HOO says:

    Want to help Japan?

    Buy something made in Japan.


  9. Tater Salad says:

    I don’t understand why the left hates Japan! Japan is a socialist democracy and the reason why they have been in a 10 year recdession. 60% of their society is on some sort of entitlements. America, with Obamacare and his agenda, enjoy the recession you are in for another 10 to 15 years!

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