There’s been a lot to get outraged about on Aid Watch this week. World Bank leader calls for democratizing research while censoring research. USAID and NGOs urge transparency while egregiously non-transparent. Critics criticize our criticism of FAO hunger numbers that turn out to be even worse than we first suggested. Our strongest supporters correctly point out that excessively bland and polite statements have little effect on the debate compared to outrage, and outrage is often justified.
At the same time, we try to hold ourselves to the same standards as those we criticize, and we acknowledge that our own critics sometimes have a point. We are doing our best in our little part of the debate to use outrage constructively, but we sometimes go too far and get it wrong too.
Most importantly, our outrage is directed at OUTCOMES not at PEOPLE. The staffers at USAID, NGOs, World Bank, or FAO are doing their best subject to severe political and donor pressures, and often sympathize with our criticisms (judging by public and non-public comments that we get).
Let’s fight together the political pressures and mistaken perceptions of donors that result in bad outcomes for the people that ALL of us in this debate care about: the world’s poor.