McDonaldization of ”Serving the Society’

McDonaldization of ”Serving the Society’ – Instant Gratification, Low Cost & Low Involvement variant that sometimes even lets the individual(s) grab a few moments in limelight..Hmmm, I’m loving it 😉

Shubha’s short note on Feeding the hungry reminds me of how the very same people who cry hoarse about poverty and western opinions of India, will walk in without hesitation and build golden crowns for temples and feed thousands on an auspicious days. These billionaires are quite eager and willing to throw away their hard earned wealth into such well-intentioned but largely meaningless charades of charity.

Reminds me of the sagely advise on ‘Making your money work hard for you, while you work hard to earn some more“… Why should such a principle not apply to the money we give ? When we buy a car or a TV, we work hard to ensure that we buy something that lasts long and gives us maximum benefits.. So why does that rule not apply to the money we give..

First and foremost, I think it is the ‘charity‘mindset.. It is the mindset that focusses on sacrifice.. People look at ‘giving’, as a process of ‘sacrifice’.. If you were ‘sacrificing’ , are you likely to pay attention to where your ‘sacrifice’ goes, not very likely, isn’t it ? Sacrifice is a process of ‘letting go’. It gives the ‘sacrificer’ an aura of superiority or sainthood while allowing the sacrificial lamb a sanctimonious form of dissipation. Sacrifice as charity is a very ‘survival’ oriented view of life and tends to come from the days when scarcity was a reality. Is that true today ? Not really..

Add to that the fact that our developmental organisations tend to pander to that ‘Tug the Compassionate Heart’ psyche, through their ads as well as references to ‘donors ‘or ‘patrons’.. At the end of the day, how many developmental organisations are willing to measure their performance by hard metrics of development.. How many developmental organisations are willing to track and report ‘Return on Investment’ ? It is not impossible to measure their performance on hard metrics .. but developmental organisations shy away from measures because of their inherent distrust of anything that remotely sounds ‘corporate’ or ‘ capitalist’.

Measurement is a form of accountability that runs contrary to the idea of ‘sacrifice’..I have heard arguments from many people associated with NGOs and developmental organisations that benefits of such giving are not ‘easily ‘measurable or that the results are ‘too’slow.. That is quite similar to the argument I see within organisations that resist change. Developmental organisations often refuse the see the distinction between ideological missions and pragmatic missions. My idealogical view could be that poverty should cease to exist; however, my pragmatic view also indicates that such a ‘conquer the world’ mission wont be realistic, What is achievable is a measured, quantifiable goal for a limited geography. That’s why I feel that idealogues and opinionated unemployed writers( Arundhati Roy and such creed) should be kept away from such missions.. They do more harm through idealogical pin pricks and such acupressure techniques ;-).. They cover their lack of creative energy and inability to identify pragmatic solutions under the high decibel rants in media..

If we really want to solve issues of poverty and childcare, we have to look at ‘Giving’ as an investment.. Investment in a developmental organisation is quite the same as investment in a startup or a new technology that is yet to show results… It means that the investment I make needs to be monitored and measured against milestones and achievement thresholds , the stakeholders should be willing and able to initiate course-correction when the results indicate that need. An investment in a developmental cause is an investment in the future.. so why can we not hold developmental organisations accountable for results in a more concrete manner.. Why do developmental organisations focus on non tangible aspects of the investment even though childcare, elderly care and poverty are very measurable! After all, if the developmental organisations expect to be taken seriously, shouldnt they stop playing ‘God’ and feel like they should not be accountable for their results..


~ by exploreamaze on November 5, 2009.

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