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Submitted by Jishnu on

Thanks, Lance. My problem with donors trying to define what constitute 'responsible' use is that it assumes that certain kinds of uses are irresponsible, without understanding why those choices may be made. Look, if you are a donor, you could always tell people that you are giving money to them and you want them to spend it in a certain way. I don't have a problem with that; it is, after all, your money, and you should do with it as you please. This is a contract between the person who gives the money and the person who receives it. But equally, I think it is our job, and that of magazines like The Economist, to always clarify that it is The donors preference that is being imposed on the recipient. In my own work, I usually find that rather than imposing our preferences, it is more useful to understand the constraints and problems that the poor face in their everyday lives, and try as hard as we can to solve them. My worry is that the narrative of blame---the poor are poor because of the choices they make---insulates us too much from a shared responsibility. A shared responsibility of making sure that the opportunities that the poor have are just as good as those the rich enjoy in their lives, or at least a whole lot better than they currently are.