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Japan Earthquake Donation Backlash: Should We Give to a Wealthy Nation?

This girl brought her piggybank to an L.A. Red Cross fund-raiser for Japan.

bobcareyfotoThis girl brought her piggybank to an L.A. Red Cross fund-raiser for Japan.

It's only four days after the fourth-worst earthquake in recorded human history, and already the backlash has begun. A few American pundits are saying that we shouldn't donate to the quake and tsunami relief efforts because Japan is such a wealthy country.

They also say that efforts targeted at specific disasters don't help those in need in the long run.

Of course, not everyone agrees.

Monica Diaz of the Red Cross Los Angeles Region told the Weekly this today:

I'm pretty surprised by those comments considering the latest reports that the Japanese economy is struggling after such a large disaster. I would say this is a time to help our neighbors. They came to our aid during Katrina and we should help them in this time of need.

Pundit Felix Salmon writes:

Japan is a wealthy country which is responding to the disaster, among other things, by printing hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of new money. Money is not the bottleneck here: if money is needed, Japan can raise it.

His main argument is that giving shouldn't be tied to a specific disaster. That doing so simply ties up funds rather than freeing them for any emergency or long-term problem.

John Carney writes at MSNBC:

If we're charitably minded, we can turn to local charities and churches. If it's international charity that interests you, donate to Charity Water, the Red Cross or Doctors without Borders--with dollars unrestricted to any particular disaster.