Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way

I know it's probably a tacky thing to be thinking about, but considering the Oil-for-Food debacle, can the UN still actually be trusted to collect and distribute funds and materials for aid efforts on a large scale? Will money intended for tsunami victims in Southeast Asia somehow find its way into the pockets of local officials or UN apparatchiks? (Yes, I'm sure the cynical would question whether the money Amazon collects will actually get to the Red Cross, and further on to those same victims...but then, there isn't any evidence Amazon isn't more trustworthy a body than the UN at this point.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a one-stop shop, it is easy to argue that the Amazon donations are more transparent, and thus less susceptible to problems, than governments or NGOs. That is, the Red Cross can clearly see exactly how much in dollars and cents has been pledged, and see their statements to see that money transfer into their account.

(The only downside is that the Amazon system is an honour system, and allows people to recant their pledge for up to 30 days. This, and any disputed credit card charges, are much less publicly visible than are the initial contributions.)

12/29/2004 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

I'd argue that Amazon is more trustworthy -- they're an American company, subject to American laws, and donors can sue them if they squirrel away the money and it comes out. The UN's books, by contrast, are closed and its workers have diplomatic immunity.

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