Despite the increasing prominence of micro-philanthropy, David Henderson expresses his concerns about the increasing popularity of micro-giving. The failure of sweeping interventions such as the Washington Consensus may have contributed to our macro-solution skepticism.

The micro-trend started with microcredit, and now has expanded to other areas—micro-donations for Haiti, micro-actions via CauseWorld and micro-volunteering such as The Extraordinaries.

Henderson worries that the pursuit of small solutions for big problems may eclipse efforts to actually address those problems. It’s not that he is completely opposed to micro-solutions, but he stresses that they need to be based in sound reason and rigorous evaluation—a theme that continues to crop up this week.

Henderson has a point: say you “check-in” at Saxby’s Coffee and earn five Karma points that go towards earthquake relief—do you know whether the money is spent efficiently, or spent at all?


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