William Easterly writes (also can be found here) ,

The poor have neither the income nor political power to hold anyone accountable for meeting their needs–they are political and economic orphans. The rich-country public knows little about what is happening to the poor on the ground in struggling countries. The wealthy population mainly just wants to know that “something is being done” about such a tragic problem as world poverty. The utopian plans satisfy the “something-is-being-done” needs of the rich-country public, even if they don’t serve the needs of the poor.

Thanks to Tim Harford for the pointer.

Meanwhile, Steven E. Landsburg writes,

For the cost of reconstructing New Orleans, the government could simply give $200,000 to every resident of the region—that’s $800,000 for a family of four. Given a choice, which do you think the people down there would prefer?

For Discussion. Can you connect the dots between these two articles?