Category Archives: Africa

Bad Aid, or why we are probably all focusing on the wrong thing

I’ve been pretty happy with some of the pushback I’ve seen on Facebook regarding the Kony 2012 stuff, but the cohort of people I’m friends with skews towards individuals who have a competitive incentive to know what the LRA is, so that helps.

Kony is probably not especially nice. I don’t think that’s sufficient, but there are a lot of uniquely awful things in the world and not all of them are helpful enough to have a face. The strategy of comparing him to Hitler is disingenuous and rather useless hyperbole. He’s hardly the worst, even among contemporaries, and certainly not if we evaluate non-human bad things. Nonetheless, aid organizations have a similar problem as environmentalists: we want to act on trendy or sympathetic issues, so pandas and Kony get the dollars and the headlines, while insects and agricultural assistance get ignored.

All of the articles I’m linking are worth reading in full, but the highlights: Continue reading