Aid and Philanthropy: Two Stories

Story one:

For a long time, Governments gave money to other Governments.  The money was called ‘aid’.  It was to be used to increase prosperity and reduce poverty and suffering.  But there were problems.  Projects went wrong, were not finished, or didn’t meet the need.  Administration costs were said to be too high, and recipients struggled to be independent of the aid support.  Some of the money couldn’t be accounted for.  Another way was sought.  Soon, countries learned not to give money, but rather to purchase goods, or services, from one another, or to give money in return only for tangible outputs, or agreed outcomes.  They expected to be partners in the projects, have a say in decisions and be kept informed of progress.  They had learned through experience that this was a better way to achieve goals than writing cheques.

Story two:

For a long time, donors gave money to charities.  The money was called a ‘donation’.  It was to be used to increase prosperity and reduce poverty and suffering.  But there were problems.  Projects went wrong, were not finished, or didn’t meet the need.  Administration costs were said to be too high, and recipients struggled to be independent of the donations.    Some of the money couldn’t be accounted for.  Another way was sought.  Soon, donors learned not to give money, but rather to buy things from the charity, or to give money in return only for tangible things or agreed outcomes.  They expected to be partners in the projects, have a say in decisions and be kept informed of progress.  They had learned through experience that this was a better way to achieve goals than writing cheques.

I wonder if these stories are in fact as similar as I’ve made them out to be?  Answers on a postcard (or in the comments).

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