Fairness concerns about poverty relief : the case of Médecins Sans Frontières in Kinshasa
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Antwerp , 1999
Research paper / UFSIA, Faculty of Applied Economics ; 1999:031
University of Antwerp
If, as is contended in the social security literature, a policy for the poor is a poor policy, a final judgment of poverty programs crucially depends on the effects such programs may have on the behaviour of different actors. Assuming that these are to a significant extent determined by concerns of fairness rather than by economic interests, the argument is made to look at a poverty program as an interaction between different concepts of justice. The particular case we look at, a food emergency program organized and financed by the Belgian NGO Médicins sans Frontières-Artsen Zonder Grenzen in Kinshasa, suggests indeed that the importance of local standards of fairness in the sphere of food is seriously underestimated, even if the intervention is clearly designed as a purely humanitarian answer to an exceptional calamity.