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"Look at the size of my donation!!!"

"Look at the size of my donation!!!"

Much has been made recently of the “generosity” of governments in donating money and giving aid to help the victims of the Asian tsunami disaster.

The United Nations reports US$3bn has been pledged, and for a while the oney numbers floating around were just getting insane – seemingly as if each country was trying to top the other. Which brings to mind horrible images of world leaders unzipping their pants and saying “look at the size of my packet!”

Unfortunately, the numbers don’t really show how generous governments are so much as how it’s all for press and headline manipulation. This set of figures relates amount pledged to GDP, and the numbers are pretty depressingly low. Or put another way, the US pledge of US$350m equates to 42-odd hours of the Iraq war.

Mind you, I suppose every penny is well worth having, and the governments are doing things that money couldn’t buy (ferrying aid etc.) — just a shame we could be doing a lot more. But we all know that. And it’s never enough.

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