Studies in Emergent Order is proud to publish a symposium on Professor Christopher J. Coyne’s Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails. Dr. Coyne’s book applies the economic way of thinking to look at why humanitarian efforts led by governments and NGOs fail repeatedly. Using case studies from diverse places, including Haiti, New Orleans, Libya, and Afghanistan, Dr. Coyne shows that, time and time again, efforts by governments and NGOs to assist those in need often are mired in bureaucratic red tape, and sometimes cause more problems than they were intended to solve. As an alternative to state-led humanitarian action, Dr. Coyne proposes that economists and others concerned with alleviating human suffering focus on promoting institutional arrangements that allow for economic freedom and societal discovery.
This symposium features scholarly commentary and analysis on Dr. Coyne’s book from a variety of scholars (including Barry J. Barnett and Benjamin L. Collier, Lindsey Peterson, Peter T. Leeson, Jayme S. Lemke, Claudia R. Williamson, Thomas K. Duncan, Abigail R. Hall, Brian Shoup and Ellen Davis, and Peter Lewin), as well as Dr. Coyne’s response to the issues raised by the contributors. Studies in Emergent Order is pleased that this symposium serves as an important addition to the literature on humanitarian aid.
Studies in Emergent Order (SIEO) is an open-access journal dedicated to fostering research, discussion and publication concerning the roles played by and implications of emergent order phenomena, particularly in society but not excluding other areas.