For-Profit Involvement in Humanitarian Affairs

Paul Novak, Fordham University


For-profit institutions and their leaders are playing an increasingly important role in delivering humanitarian aid. Whether these institutions are allocating funds toward a humanitarian organization, paying taxes toward a government, or supporting humanitarian efforts via in-kind donations and other services, humanitarian organizations have found themselves in close contact with their seemingly polar opposite. Driven by profit and with comparatively less accountability and transparency, the growing role of for-profit institutions in the public sphere is overwhelmingly supported by researchers and hailed as a solution to the growing humanitarian funding gap. This research paper argues against these conclusions. Accepting that for-profit institutions and humanitarian organizations will have to work together despite their vast differences, it is important to take into consideration the ethical and logical problems concerning the increased role and power of for-profits. Through case studies and comparative analysis, I conclude that the humanitarian sector needs to take a more critical approach to including large, for-profit institutions into their fold. The ways in which for-profits have contributed to the compounding nature of humanitarian crises without any form of recognition or minimal monetary allocation should be addressed explicitly by humanitarian organizations in their rationalizations in including for-profit organizations into their work.

Subject Area

Political science

Recommended Citation

Novak, Paul, "For-Profit Involvement in Humanitarian Affairs" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28963675.