chapter  5
17 Pages

The perversion of idealism

ByAdam D. Kiš

Beneficiaries sometimes recognize a vested interest in remaining 'poor' – it attracts support and aid from benevolent donors. If a society rises slightly above abject poverty, they are no longer on the bottom of the list for the world's needy. Development agencies tend to like helping the poorest of the poor, sometimes at the expense of ignoring that just one step up from absolute poverty. The ways in which self-interest on the part of aid implementers can conflict with the interests of beneficiaries are varied. Dictating policies that are beneficial to the implementer but of dubious benefit to the beneficiaries is just one way. Fundraising concerns and image management 'back home' can also interfere with beneficiary interests. Conflicts of interest have more than once interfered with progress toward the end of poverty, and they will continue to do so because self-interest is an integral part of human nature.