Sockpuppets

I’ve been taking some of my free time away from watching the antics of Hummingbirds outside my kitchen window (I’ve set up a feeder there) to read Chris Snowdon’s IEA report; ‘Sockpuppets – how the government lobbies itself and why‘. I’ve also been looking up cases where charitable status has been withdrawn and why in search of some form of possible solution to the issue. Here are three suggestions;

Solution 1: Charitable institutions may not lobby government.
Attractive but unworkable. Charities need to have some lobbying component in order to speak up for the cause they represent.

Solution 2: No more Government funding, or funding from NGOs. Again, unworkable, those who run the NGO’s will find proxies to fund people they have sympathy with.

Solution 3: Disband / defund all NGO’s. No more money for these dumping grounds for the inconvenient / incompetent with powerful friends. No more sinecures for retired politicians or their friends. This will still leave charities open to financial manipulation from large trusts with their own agenda, but it will at least stop governments playing the same game. However, making charities more financially transparent (With which true charitable trusts will have no issue) should level out the playing field, and threatening to withdraw the charitable tax status of activists and lobbyists might help.

The test of a true charity like the Red Cross for example, should always be “What good have you done lately?” By ‘good’ I mean lives saved, wells drilled, people helped, infrastructure rebuilt and messes cleaned up. Protest or advocacy should not on their own count as charitable activities. Charities should be seen, as the major part of their activities, to get their hands dirty. Many do. Those that do not, aren’t. It’s not difficult.

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2 thoughts on “Sockpuppets”

  1. The test of a true charity like the Red Cross for example, should always be “What good have you done lately?” By ‘good’ I mean lives saved, wells drilled, people helped, infrastructure rebuilt and messes cleaned up.

    And of course, they blur the testability of these things.

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  2. How many charities have shut up shop on the basis that they have resolved the issues they were set up to fix? None. Not a single one. Their main aim is to remain, finding the funding by inventing or adapting a new cause.

    In the case of Africa the NGOs have failed for years to actually make a real and permanent difference which helps ordinary people improve their lot enough to have a better life. You could even claim that NGOs have actually made the situation worse through their own need to be “needed”.

    It’s a continuing disgrace. And yes, there are good people trying to do things but not nearly enough of them.

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