January 22, 2008

How to help the poor

I have written an essay where I argue that biological conservation can do relatively little to remedy global poverty. It is going to appear in Biotropica, a journal devoted to biological research and conservation in the tropics, and some of its readers are not going to like it. One of several reasons not to like it is this:
A suspiciously large fraction of people who claim to care about the third world poor believe that the best way to help is to pursue their favorite hobby or career, and not to just give the poor money. Medical researchers seek disease cures, computer folk build laptops or subversive software, musicians hold concerts to inspire donations, policy wonks lobby governments to build schools, and so on.
This is by Robin Hanson.

1 comment:

  1. I actually considered putting conservation on that list of examples, and though people might say that was a straw man - guess not.