Friday, July 08, 2011

Anon on the Nons

Anonymous s/he may be, but The Economist seems to have a real winer on the nonprofit/NGO beat, his/her work made not less worthwhile by the fact that it raises more questions than it (so far) answers.

Item: a splendid piece this week on the head-butting conflict in Japan between the army of nonprofits and an insular, self-contained foot-dragging state bureaucracy--how it's pulling teeth to make anything happen in the nonprofit world over there and how. despite all, some teeth continue to get pulled.  One strong message: the picture will have to get better for the non-profits, if only because government, reaping reduced tax revenues and facing increased demands, will only find itself weaker, less able to cope and thus a fortiori compelled to accept help where they can get it.

Item: last week's account of the (burgeoning?) role of NGOs in conflict resolution, with particular reference to the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. As with Japanese relief, the rising prominence of NGOs in conflict resolution may be severely practical: for some jobs, it seems the NGOs just have the chops. But here's a suggestion for the anonymous reporter's next assignment: compare peace and war. Commentators have remarked for years on the privatizaiton of the military via Halliburton, Blackwter, et al? Could it be that at each end of the continuum, the private providers are picking the low-hanging fruit--leaving, perhaps, the public purse with the less glamorous and more expensive parts?

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