Saturday, February 21, 2009
The rise of the NGOs is a recent problem. Until after WW-II the only non-faith based charities were Hospitals, Universities, the Red Cross, Children's Aid, Settlement Houses and the SPCA. They all had specific tasks that they could be held to. Religious establishments performed similar tasks and missionary work. The rise of NGOs is directly tied I postulate to the rise of the income tax. First Rockefeller and Ford, then everyone seeking to shelter their legacy, formed foundations to hold their money in trust and distribute it in accordance with their wishes. That last restraint quickly proved to be a weak reed as left wing professionals took over the legacy foundations. These became enormous jobs programs for children of the elites, supplementing trust fund income, staffing Boards and administering projects, and employing armies of the PhDs that were churned out in the post war years. All this without the burden of having to actually teach or produce results. They did however keep busy investigating or creating problems both domestic and foreign. The hold on the taxpayer as a second source of funding was nurtured by the practice of using these NGOs as job banks for otherwise unemployed Democratic staffers and politicians during temporary Republican episodes. Add museums, zoos and gardens to my charity list.
It is only natural that the vast armies of the somewhat Westernized semi-college educated elites that arose following decolonization would want to get on this gravy train. It certainly offered a better prospect than trying to run an honest newspaper, teach, administer the civil service or run a business in their home countries. Trying any of those activities could get you killed.