Good Institutions Are about Helping to Govern, Not Charity

By Irami Osei-Frimpong (February 23, 2018)

I’m serious when I say that institutions should be judged by their capacity to help people govern, both govern themselves and with others.

I worry that charity institutions provide services without growing people’s capacity to govern. This breeds accountability problems, and more importantly, since these institutions emerge as a matter of charity, not justice, there is no space to contest the terms of the service provided. This going to come down to a fundamental unwillingness or inability to share, with the mindset of the service-provider being, “Why should I have to share power? I’m providing services, instead.”

My goal is for people to grow power through services, and since real power is in production, I worry that the only people who grow power are the service-providing decision makers. And if it’s not done right, the only lesson they learn is how to lord over people as oligarchs.