We seem to have stopped doing things because they are kind, or fair, or the decent thing to do. Somewhere along the way advocates for social programs started being expected to go beyond designing programs that simply meet people's needs. Today, they are expected to predict the long and short term "outcomes" of their efforts, and sometimes expected to produce a level of cost-avoidance that makes the proposed program pay for itself.
In one of the oddest enterprises in the history of development economics, Bono — the lead singer for the rock band U2 — has been touring Africa with Paul O'Neill, secretary of the treasury. For a while, the latent tensions between the two men were masked by Bono's courtesy. But he lost his cool when Mr. O'Neill concluded that improvements in people's lives don't require much money — and therefore that no big increase in foreign aid is required
Children are losing parents to AIDS at a frightening rate, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Asia and Latin America. The report, "Children on the Brink," says the explosion of orphans in these regions is worsening a global orphan crisis and producing a growing pool of street children, school-age prostitutes and potential child warriors.
America's evangelicals have become the newest internationalists. Evangelicals are using their growing clout to skewer China and North Korea, to support Israel, to fight sexual trafficking in Eastern Europe and slavery in Sudan, and, increasingly, to battle AIDS in Africa.
The curtain of invisibility is finally lifting for the women of Afghanistan. With the fall of the Taliban in November 2001, change is coming, albeit slowly.
Four North Korean teenage girls have not left the back room of an ethnic Korean Chinese's low brick hovel in neighboring China, for fear they will be caught and deported. They eat, sleep and pass long boring days crouched on an orange linoleum floor.