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[DRAFT] Volun-tourism in Poor Taste?

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Authoritaria-Imperia
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[DRAFT] Volun-tourism in Poor Taste?

Postby Authoritaria-Imperia » Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:29 pm

It's high time I got back to writing some Issues! Here's a draft focusing on volunteer tourism and international aid. Your thoughts, folks?
Title: "Volun-tourism in Poor Taste?"

In response to some vicious roasts about your foreign-aid budget at a recent regional conference, your sister set up a well-publicised service event, taking a group of schoolchildren to the poor nation of Kawandaland to sightsee and give out "presents" to impoverished youth. The effort proved disastrous, with gifts of stickers, "free hugs", and bottled water met with indignance and the morality of so-called “volun-tourism” brought into question.

Validity: Invalid for nations with high foreign-aid spending and nations with policy “No emigration”

Option 1:
"Volunteer tourism is condescending and completely non-productive!" exclaims Kawandalandian ambassador @@RANDOMNAME@@, plastering your desk with frowny-face stickers, "Your "service" event did nothing except victimise my people and reinforce a message of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ superiority. Instead of wasting funds on these cheap publicity stunts, why don’t you co-ordinate real relief efforts, like building schools and hospitals? I guarantee you that genuine help won't go unnoticed."
Effect: projects costing less than a billion @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ are considered a waste of time

Option 2:
"What about how these programmes help OUR kids?" points out exhausted parent-of-three @@RANDOMNAME@@, who gets free hugs all the time, "Knowing about other cultures, learning compassion, being grateful for what you have — these service opportunities teach our children important life lessons in a way that big initiatives simply can’t. I mean, how’s my little @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ meant to help build a hospital? And how many little kids like @@HIM@@ are going to miss out because the big-@@CURRENCY@@ projects ate up the budget too fast? You should fund smaller service programmes, compulsory for every @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ child at least once, to foster a compassionate next generation and give us parents a rest— uh… a reason to be proud."
Effect: it's a rite of passage to hand out paperclips to the poor

Option 3:
"All this 'international aid' stuff is a waste of time," grunts your uncle, flipping a water bottle into the trash. "Those Kabundalanders are never gonna get their stuff together if we keep it up with the handouts — you'd be doing 'em a favour to cut them off. They'll figure it out on their own eventually… I think. Eh, I vote you cut foreign aid entirely — the Kalooga-people will learn some self-sufficiency and I'll get a nice tax cut."
Effect: sending rare coins overseas is a felony
Title: "Volun-tourism in Poor Taste?"

In response to some vicious roasts about your foreign-aid budget at a recent regional conference, your sister set up a well-publicised service event, taking a group of schoolchildren to the poor nation of Kawandaland to sightsee and give out "presents" to impoverished youth. The effort proved disastrous, with gifts of stickers, "free hugs", and bottled water met with indignance and the morality of so-called “volun-tourism” brought into question.

Validity: Invalid for nations with high foreign-aid spending and nations with policy “No emigration”

Option 1:
"Volunteer tourism is condescending and completely non-productive!" exclaims Kawandalandian ambassador @@RANDOMNAME@@, plastering your desk with frowny-face stickers, "Your "service" event did nothing except victimise my people and reinforce a message of @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ superiority. Instead of wasting funds on these cheap publicity stunts, why don’t you co-ordinate real relief efforts, like building schools and hospitals? I guarantee you that genuine help won't go unnoticed."
Effect: projects costing less than a billion @@CURRENCYPLURAL@@ are considered a waste of time

Option 2:
"What about how these programmes help OUR kids?" points out exhausted parent-of-three @@RANDOMNAME@@, who gets free hugs all the time, "Knowing about other cultures, learning compassion, being grateful for what you have — these service opportunities teach our children important life lessons in a way that big initiatives simply can’t. I mean, how’s my little @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ meant to help build a hospital? And how many little kids like @@HIM@@ are going to miss out because the big-@@CURRENCY@@ projects ate up the budget too fast? You should fund smaller service programmes, compulsory for every @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ child at least once, to foster a compassionate next generation and give us parents a rest— uh… a reason to be proud."
Effect: it's a rite of passage to hand out paperclips to the poor

Option 3:
"All this "foreign aid" stuff is a waste of time," grunts your uncle, while flipping a water bottle into the trash. "Those Kabundalanders are never gonna get their stuff together if we keep giving 'em handouts, and we don't want the next generation full of multiculturalist weenies, do we? Let me tell you, I was born and raised right here, on @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ soil, and so I tell it like it is — if you want to get stuff done, you’ll put our country first. Cut all foreign aid, and give your loyal citizens a nice tax cut for once."
Effect: sending rare coins overseas is a felony
Last edited by Authoritaria-Imperia on Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Westinor
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Postby Westinor » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:01 pm

I'll try to give more suggestions later on, but after a quick read here's a bit of what I've got -

Option two might feel nice focusing more on the latter end on children's education (like how you mentioned the budget taking a hit if such programs like in option 1 are implemented) versus making the children better people necessarily, because while focusing on that is something a parent would do it would make more sense to have more education funding>smarter and better children, which sets up more of a quantifiable conflict imo. Though your current take right now is definitely nice too.

Authoritaria-Imperia wrote:res— uh… a reason


Tiny nitpick, but the first few rounds I couldn't tell what "res-" was, maybe "break" might be better? Or, fully spelling out rest so that it matches with reason.

Authoritaria-Imperia wrote:All this "foreign aid" stuff is a waste of time


You've got quotation marks inside quotation marks here.

The first sentence of option 3 has a nice side to it where the "free market builds stronger nations" idea comes into play, but then it immediately cuts back to "Our nation first, nationalistic stuff". Either cut this out or expand on it a bit to make the message of the option more clear.
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Authoritaria-Imperia
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Postby Authoritaria-Imperia » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:06 pm

Westinor wrote:
I'll try to give more suggestions later on, but after a quick read here's a bit of what I've got -

Option two might feel nice focusing more on the latter end on children's education (like how you mentioned the budget taking a hit if such programs like in option 1 are implemented) versus making the children better people necessarily, because while focusing on that is something a parent would do it would make more sense to have more education funding>smarter and better children, which sets up more of a quantifiable conflict imo. Though your current take right now is definitely nice too.

Authoritaria-Imperia wrote:res— uh… a reason


Tiny nitpick, but the first few rounds I couldn't tell what "res-" was, maybe "break" might be better? Or, fully spelling out rest so that it matches with reason.

Authoritaria-Imperia wrote:All this "foreign aid" stuff is a waste of time


You've got quotation marks inside quotation marks here.

The first sentence of option 3 has a nice side to it where the "free market builds stronger nations" idea comes into play, but then it immediately cuts back to "Our nation first, nationalistic stuff". Either cut this out or expand on it a bit to make the message of the option more clear.
Thanks for your feedback! :)

I'm a little confused what you mean about focusing more on education funding — like you think the option should suggest integration of international service opportunities with schooling, or it should advocate for more money in the education budget on the side…? I think the latter might end up sounding tangential to the main point.

"res" is now "rest". Thanks! :)

I appreciate your advice on the last option! I've made it about helping the Kawandalanders out rather than nationalism. (I could've gone the other way, but there are so many nationalistic options out there as-is.) Is the new version better?
(I single-ified the inner quotation marks, by the way.)
Last edited by Authoritaria-Imperia on Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Westinor
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Postby Westinor » Sat Jul 04, 2020 7:18 pm

Authoritaria-Imperia wrote:
Westinor wrote:
I'll try to give more suggestions later on, but after a quick read here's a bit of what I've got -

Option two might feel nice focusing more on the latter end on children's education (like how you mentioned the budget taking a hit if such programs like in option 1 are implemented) versus making the children better people necessarily, because while focusing on that is something a parent would do it would make more sense to have more education funding>smarter and better children, which sets up more of a quantifiable conflict imo. Though your current take right now is definitely nice too.



Tiny nitpick, but the first few rounds I couldn't tell what "res-" was, maybe "break" might be better? Or, fully spelling out rest so that it matches with reason.



You've got quotation marks inside quotation marks here.

The first sentence of option 3 has a nice side to it where the "free market builds stronger nations" idea comes into play, but then it immediately cuts back to "Our nation first, nationalistic stuff". Either cut this out or expand on it a bit to make the message of the option more clear.
Thanks for your feedback! :)

I'm a little confused what you mean about focusing more on education funding — like you think the option should suggest integration of international service opportunities with schooling, or it should advocate for more money in the education budget on the side…? I think the latter might end up sounding tangential to the main point.

"res" is now "rest". Thanks! :)

I appreciate your advice on the last option! I've made it about helping the Kawandalanders out rather than nationalism. (I could've gone the other way, but there are so many nationalistic options out there as-is.) Is the new version better?
(I single-ified the inner quotation marks, by the way.)


Option three definitely looks better! I myself prefer the focus on them tbh because like you say there are far too many options on nationalistic/selfish views. The last thing you could do is sort of augment the character to fully embrace that view, though that might be hard (i.e. changing the character to something obviously in support of free-markets yet relevant to the situation, or making them perform an action that is relevant. That is though admittedly hard :/ )

As for the education part, I meant your current ending sentence

Authoritaria-Imperia wrote:You should fund smaller service programmes, compulsory for every @@DEMONYMADJECTIVE@@ child at least once, to foster a compassionate next generation


Currently follows a good point in that foreign aid cuts the budget, and from the perspective of a concerned regular citizen this should go into a child's education. There are two things you can do with this - you could either rewrite the option to fit either one of what you mentioned in your previous comment, as either could work, or you could simply change the wording in this option in places like "I mean, how’s my little @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ meant to help build a hospital?" (though that is a good line) to a more "this money should go towards education" sort of focus (obviously that's not a suggestion for an actual sentence). Conversely, you could focus less on the education perspective and refocus it on the futility of investing in foreign aid, which would be significantly easier to do in conjunction with creating more "volunteer tourism" programs, though that cuts away from the acceptable idea of "education is more important. Basically, I'd split it into this; your current iteration of the option jumps back and forth a bit, and offers many valid views on why voluntourism is good/foreign aid is bad, so focusing it on either "voluntourism and helping my child grow and learn life lessons is good" or "foreign aid cuts on education budget and my child needs to learn more" might help with the focus of the option. Or, you could take from anything I said above and integrate both into the issue into the balanced manner. Either way, this option's got potential and is good. (sorry if that seemed a bit ranty and doesn't offer any solutions I'm awfully tired)

Also, there's a bit of confusion imo on the line of

Authoritaria-Imperia wrote:I mean, how’s my little @@RANDOMFIRSTNAME@@ meant to help build a hospital?


imo, because isn't option 1 suggesting that general foreign aid projects (not including children) be funded?
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SherpDaWerp
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Postby SherpDaWerp » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:16 pm

My entire (very limited) experience with "voluntourism" IRL was some friends of mine from another school going abroad and building a school for a disadvantaged country. So it does seem kinda odd to me that the entire perspective on voluntourism here is that "it's a useless waste for the country receiving the aid" when in actual fact, it can be helpful. Unless you're specifically trying to address non-helpful voluntourism, in which case I would suggest making it clear that forms of helpful voluntourism do exist.

To remedy this, maybe another option (wary of length, I know) that at least tries to provide for genuinely helpful voluntourism, rather than assuming that it's always bad. Potentially government oversight and planning? It's similar to option 1, but it's a bit different. Maybe validity-lock it to compassion of some level, so that not everyone will get something like this and option 1? I'm just spitballing. Feel free to use this verbatim or modify as much as you want.

"If our people want to help, then let them!" cries your Minister for Loving Everyone, @@RANDOMNAME@@. "With government-funded trips to disadvantaged countries like Kawandaland or Nu Va Song, everyday @@DEMONYM@@ citizens can help out on a global stage! Not only will our international reputation go through the roof, they'll return as more well-rounded, better people. It's really a win-win! Well, except for the budget hit."

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:26 pm

Kids don't count as "volunteering" if their teachers made them do it.

Also, nothing about a term like "volun-tourism" suggests that this is inherently about kids. Why are we talking only about them, rather than adults who do this kind of stuff?

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USS Monitor
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Postby USS Monitor » Sat Jul 04, 2020 11:37 pm

This is an interesting topic, and the writing quality is OK, but I think it could be even better if you dug into the way volunteerism screws with job markets.

Kids handing out stupid trinkets is not the best example of harmful "voluntourism." It's pointless, but it's not economically toxic. Some people might find it condescending, but otherwise, it's just a harmless recreational activity.

Construction projects can actually be much worse because they take jobs away from local labor. Sometimes the volunteers do shoddy work or people set up volunteer programs to build things that aren't really needed.

Some construction projects are genuinely useful, but you have to be careful that you're not just doing busywork or undermining the job market. Foreign volunteers with professional expertise (e.g. engineers, doctors) are more likely to fill a legitimate need. If you're doing unskilled labor that a local off the street could have been hired to do, it's probably better to just leave it for the local laborers. If you flood the market with volunteer labor, that makes it harder to find paid work.
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Jutsa
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Postby Jutsa » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:29 am

Something similar can definitely be said about donating clothes, phones, etc. to those nations.
Debatably you could also make a stink about hospital work (which could be an amusing line to bring up in an option), but that's kinda different. :P
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Postby Australian rePublic » Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:57 pm

Jutsa wrote:Something similar can definitely be said about donating clothes, phones, etc. to those nations.
Debatably you could also make a stink about hospital work (which could be an amusing line to bring up in an option), but that's kinda different. :P

Correct. Donating stuff hurts local manufacturing
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:30 am

Agree with Aussie and Monitor. I think there's interesting issues about the potential harm of voluntourism but it'd be sensible to reframe your issue around a situation where there is actual potential harm, rather than just where its a bit condescending.

Poor-quality construction taking jobs from qualified locals has been mentioned. Likewise, donation of goods and labour can hurt local economies in many other ways.

As other examples, orphanage volunteering resulting in perpetuating of a system that isn't actually good for abandoned children, charity can encourage an economy based on dependency, and the nature of volunteer products over-focus on short-term solutions. Likewise, any project invololving working with kids is going to get more volunteers, leading to tasks being completed according to the feelgood of their experience rather than the actual need.

There's a lot of interesting topics that can come from good intentions causing harm, but I'm not sure you're currently on target. Maybe look at one of the examples above, and refocus on that.

Also, on a grammatical point, I don't think you should hyphenate portmanteaus that already exist and have been used without hyphens. So voluntourism, not volun-tourism please.
Last edited by Candlewhisper Archive on Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Authoritaria-Imperia
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Postby Authoritaria-Imperia » Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:48 am

Thanks all for the abundance of feedback; I'll get started on a new draft. :)
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