Saturday, November 3, 2007

Whining While Doing Good

This Wapo piece makes explicit something that's been brewing in blog-land for a while: There are lots of people bitching about the fact that they don't feel well-compensated for choosing a life of public service, especially NGO-based public service. This echoes similar whining by Ezra Klein.

I wonder if this will change as the hyper-philanthropies (the Gates Foundation et al.) start taking a bigger share of the NGO pie. I suspect you'll then find the same sort of productivity concentration in NGOs that you already find in the business world: a small group of relatively well-paid executives having a huge impact, with a larger group receiving modest-to-mediocre compensation. We may soon find out how large the intersection is between do-gooders and competent managers. I'd like to think that it was fairly large, but I'm not holding my breath.

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