How should INGOs allocate resources?

Ethics and Global Politics 5 (1):27-48 (2012)

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Abstract
International Non-governmental Organizations (INGOs) face difficult choices when choosing to allocate resources. Given that the resources made available to INGOs fall far short of what is needed to reduce massive human rights deficits, any chosen scheme of resource allocation requires failing to reach other individuals in great need. Facing these moral opportunity costs, what moral reasons should guide INGO resource allocation? Two reasons that clearly matter, and are recognized by philosophers and development practitioners, are the consequences (or benefit or harm reduction) of any given resource allocation and the need (or priority) of individual beneficiaries. If accepted, these reasons should lead INGOs to allocate resources to a limited number of countries where the most prioritarian weighted harm reduction will be achieved. I make three critiques against this view. First, on grounds the consequentialist accepts, I argue that INGOs ought to maintain a reasonably wide distribution of resources. Second, I argue that even if one is a consequentialist, consequentialism ought not act as an action guiding principle for INGOs. Third, I argue that additional moral reasons should influence decision making about INGO resource allocation. Namely, INGO decision making should attend to relational reasons, desert, respect for agency, concern for equity, and the importance of expressing a view of moral wrongs.
Keywords NGO  poverty  global justice  aid
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DOI 10.3402/egp.v5i1.8287
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