Author Chris Coyne to Speak at H-SC

January 14, 2013

Chris CoyneOn Monday, January 21, author Christopher J. Coyne will speak at Hampden-Sydney College on, "Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails." 

Coyne is the author of the book by the same name, Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails (2013, Stanford University Press). In 2010, Haiti was ravaged by a brutal earthquake that affected the lives of millions. The call to assist those in need was heard around the globe. Yet two years later humanitarian efforts led by governments and NGOs have largely failed. Resources are not reaching the needy due to bureaucratic red tape, and many assets have been squandered. How can efforts intended to help the suffering fail so badly? In this timely and provocative book, Coyne uses the economic way of thinking to explain why this and other humanitarian efforts that intend to do good end up doing nothing or causing harm.

In addition to Haiti, Coyne considers a wide range of interventions. He explains why the U.S. government was ineffective following Hurricane Katrina, why the international humanitarian push to remove Muammar Gaddafi in Libya may very well end up causing more problems than prosperity, and why decades of efforts to respond to crises and foster development around the world have resulted in repeated failures.

Coyne is the F.A. Harper Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the Associate Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center.

Sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship & Political Economy at Hampden-Sydney, Coyne's talk begins at 7:30 PM in Crawley Forum.  This event is free and open to the community.