Saturday, July 10, 2010

Haiti earthquake disaster ... accountability still missing six months later!

Dear Colleagues

I am listening in on some dialog about the World Bank, the UN and others and have just made a second comment on this blog:

The comment I made is as follows:
In a couple of days the media will be "celebrating" the 6 month anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. I have tried to get some "accounting" about the resources mobilized, the resources utilized and the results. These are the simple basics of management ... business management and resource management ... YET ABSOLUTELY MISSING from all of the relief and development sector ... and the world's governments and public sector institutions.

There are a lot of good people. There are a lot of intelligent people. And now there is amazing science and technology. The "system", however, has been hijacked by people who make decisions on a personal agenda rather than for the public good. Ordinary people are busy trying to "make ends meet" and are too tired to get involved beyond something that is quite superficial and ineffective. Meanwhile the system is building piles of wealth on top of a "gutted" old economic powerhouses and a worryingly eco-unsustainable set of new emerging economies.

We need good decisions that match critical (and not so critical) needs with available resources, and especially human resources ... and organizational structures that put needs and resources together so that needs are satisfied in the most efficient way. Needs are a whole lot more than just "profit maximization" or "more and more and more for me" ... they are not only about money performance but also about society and quality of life and a sustainable future. To get good decisions we need all economic activities to be measured not only for the money costs and profits but also the value flows associated with the activity. We need to consign measures like GDP growth to the trash ... not to mention stock market prices indexes, and be looking more to seeing how much value adding for society is being achieved per capita simply because we are all making good decisions for society, and leadership is also getting to pay attention to the new paradigm of value measurement.

Don't expect the World Bank or UNDP to take the lead on this ... or politicians ... or big economists ... or the professional and corporate elite. But don't be surprised if the millennials pick up these ideas and run with them.

All the best ... stay tuned

Peter Burgess

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