Profiting From Refugees

business_ethics_highlights_2It is not from the benevolence of shopkeepers that we expect life’s necessities to reach Syrian refugees, but from their regard to their own interest.

This is of course an updated version of Adam Smith’s classic claim that, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” Smith wrote those words in The Wealth of Nations, 1776. The core message rings true nearly 250 years later. Plenty of people are profiting from the humanitarian crisis taking place in Europe right now. Some of this profit-seeking is unseemly. Some of it downright criminal. But much of it is also absolutely essential. >>>

LINK: Money Flows With Refugees, and Life Jackets Fill the Shops (by Ben Hubbard for NYT)
At one shop in Turkey, in a town from which many refugees depart,

…Shops do swift business in backpacks and hip packs. One store has men’s suits in one window and a family of mannequins wearing orange life vests in another. An employee who would not give his name said he sold 80 vests a day, for $13 each. Stacks of new life jackets lined the walls of a basement storehouse next door…..

What do you think?


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