Taking Responsibility & Taking Names (over at the Gates Foundation)

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In one of the most pointed blog posts I’ve read in some time, the Impatient Optimists over at the Gates Foundation ignore all of the passive language that make poverty & disease seem like a wholly natural phenomenon and go for the jugular:

It’s time we called out the great myth that mass poverty just is, as if it were a natural part of some universal moral order. Such thinking is profoundly untrue and disastrously misleading.  Unfortunately, it’s also the underpinning logic of most narratives about development.

We’re talking about statements like this:  “Sadly, more than 7 million children die every year before they reach their 5th birthday due to preventable and treatable causes”—a headline taken at random from the website of a major NGO.  The only active agents here are the diseases; everything else just is.”

While the authors go on to talk about their new platform for discussing this exact issue (/The Rules, as they’ve named it) and begin to explore how tax havens are one driver of continued poverty, I could muse on those first two paragraphs all day long.

They’re simultaneously depressing and empowering. They force us, as humans, to recognize that our choices impact others. Recognize that we have the potential to do some good through the choices we make. Recognize that the ripple effect is real. And they don’t let us off the hook for taking care of our brothers and sisters around the world.

Check out the original post: We Have the Power to Change the Rules

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