Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The do-gooders

[Approximate Reading Time: 5 minutes]
[Mood: Amused]

I just saw this hour-long documentary set in Palestine. It's called "The do-gooders" and goes into the topic of exactly what role aid organizations, volunteers and foreign agencies are playing in the occupation in Palestine. In light of what's going on there these days (Israel waging a 4-week military campaign killing over 1250 Palestinians, mostly civilians), this documentary is quite enlightening. A poor farmer living in a shack shows the film maker a bag of stale bug-infested flour. The bag says,"Gift of Canada".

Here's another example of the modern do-gooder: an entity that hides the true cost of their operations behind oh-so-touching, warm and fuzzy, feel-good PR tricks. Coca Cola put out this ad in an apparent attempt to show the world how much they care about unfortunate people. The ad is set in Qatar which uses slave labor, mostly from India, economically imprisons them and extracts labor from them to build the structures of capitalism and "modernity". They are currently building 9 stadiums that are going to be used for the 2022 FIFA games (supposedly the world's largest event, whatever that means)

Here's one more do-gooder: LinkedIn. They recently offered a free workshop to homeless people from a local shelter and helped them create their "professional profiles" on LinkedIn as a way to enhance their chances of finding a job. I'd like to find out in an year if this stunt is of any actual help to the 55 homeless people who attended. "The hardest part of doing a job search these days is doing another application that just goes into cyberspace," said one of them. "You can apply for 30 jobs and you might get nothing back." Be that as it may, LinkedIn scored a nice round of publicity and that "social responsibility" stamp that seems to be in fashion these days.


  1. Unfortunately, sometimes people who intend to help those in need do more harm than good :(

    In this case, however, it seems like the corporations are more interested in the positive publicity than in doing good. Yikes!

  2. another really slimy one is big oil companies like Chevron setting up shop in places like Ecuador or Nigeria, promising the local communities jobs, schools, and money, but leaving nothing but devastation, illness and despair in their wake once they've taken the oil out of the ground. I'm also really suspicious of Bill Gates bringing GMO seeds to Africa in the name of feeding the poor. I don't doubt his sincerity in wanting to do something meaningful with the money he has so much of, but the real problem is that society allowed one person to make so much money that they can literally do whatever they want without being questioned whether they have the qualifications or wisdom to make decisions that impact entire countries.

  3. Gates is highly suspect. A lot of people continue to think that he's the most benevolent person on the whole planet because he "donated" all his money to charity. His multi-million stock ownership in Monsanto and his advocacy of geo-engineering makes him one of the most dangerous human beings on the planet. Charities have long been one of the most preferred avenues to launder money to social change initiatives which every elite seems to be into these days. It's not just the old Ford and the MacArthur Foundations but the newer ones started by tech elites all allow them to steer society and mainstream culture in the direction they deem fit. This is the behind-the-scenes story of a number of non-profits funded by these foundations. As an ex-head of the Ford Foundation said, "there's nothing that the foundation does that doesn't make the world safer for capitalism." Today's elites control vast resources and the future direction of humanity and the planet. Their decisions affect generations to come.

  4. Aspects of this are also in Satish BATKID post. Corporate commercialization drives the kid-with-cancer as a feel good logo event.

    SATISH your comment on SVEN blog about water was a wonder to me. I'm convinced forever that you see levels of reason on all sides.