Corporate vs. Govt Disaster Relief?!

James Rogers (
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 00:45:19 -0800


I was watching the news tonight regarding the massive damage in Central America caused by the last hurricane.

The news reporter mentioned something very interesting: Most of the aid relief sent to Central America has been directly from corporations, particularly American ones, with business interests in the region. Not only that, but that the response from companies was much quicker than the response from governments.

On one hand, this is counter-intuitive, since we normally associate disaster relief with governments. OTOH, it does not surprise me that companies are much quicker and more efficient at providing disaster relief than governments. Additionally, the one time that I was in a disaster region, the most prominent efforts *were* private entities.

Not to drop a grenade in a crowded room, but doesn't this fly in the face of commonly held beliefs regarding the moral dispositions or "goodness" of large corporations? I've often thought that corporations have been unfairly maligned as group due mostly to a relatively small number of anecdotal stories demonstrating their "evil" natures. I would counter that corporations are generally very good, since unlike governments, they are neither expected nor particularly obligated to provide disaster relief (indeed, from the standpoint of the stockholders/owners this is bad).


-James Rogers