Why Foreign Aid Is Getting Better at Saving Lives

Thursday, May 9, 2019

By Kelsey Piper

There are more billionaires than ever before — and in the past few years, as they’ve come under more scrutiny, so has their do-gooding. Stanford’s Rob Reich has argued that we’re too eager to applaud the ultra-wealthy for donations that are often unjust. Amid public protests, museums have started refusing donations from an ultra-wealthy family, the Sacklers, that made their money off opioids.

Historian Rutger Bregman became a folk hero at Davos for ditching his prepared speech to call out his audience, saying, “It feels like I’m at a firefighters conference and no one’s allowed to speak about water, right? Stop talking about philanthropy and start talking about taxes.” Anand Giridharadas wrote a book on billionaire giving recently, stridently titled Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.

So I opened Raj Kumar’s new book, The Business of Changing the World: How Billionaires, Tech Disrupters, and Social Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Aid Industry, expecting Kumar to be less than impressed with the new heavy-hitters diving into the world he has worked in for decades. Kumar is the president of Devex, a media and project platform for the global development community, and he has spent his career researching and writing about aid interventions in the developing world. But in contrast to the angry drift of recent discussions about philanthropy, his book strikes a more moderate tone — perhaps precisely because he’s taking the long view.

Photo courtesy of Nena Terrell/USAID.

Source: Vox (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
global development, philanthropy