Does Charity Really "help" anyone?

Discussion in 'Economics' started by retaildaytrader, Oct 26, 2010.

Does charity really help?

  1. Yes, but its a temporary solution.

    5 vote(s)
  2. Yes

    15 vote(s)
  3. No

    2 vote(s)
  4. No, it will probably make matters worse.

    6 vote(s)
  1. I saw a soundbite on television about how a trillion dollars was poured into some African nations over the years with NO results. I started to think of all the low-income or poor places that I know of where there has been many charity and volunteer operations conducted over the years. Have they improved at all as a result of charity? I can honestly say they have not.

    Carlos Slim stated that jobs, not charity, is what helps improves a person's situation. I have to agree with that remark. Handing someone cash not only does not help, but it makes things worse. The cash handed to a poor individual is quickly spent and then they are back in the same situation they found themselves in the first place.

    Gates and Buffet can do a lot better by using their cash to create companies thereby creating jobs. I believe someone who is poor would much rather have a job and a purposeful life then being handed some money and food.

    Handouts only make society's problems worse...
  2. Some of the things Gates/Buffet do in very poor places are more directed at fighting disease and malnourishment. Before you want a job, you want to be able to live another day.

    In places that are a bit better-off, they focus on things like education, since that is usually the path toward productivity.

    Of course they mix a little of this with a little of that, but no places are exactly alike, so I guess they tailor the approach.

    But the answer to your question "Does Charity Really "Help" Anyone"? - The answer is - yes - if it's done for the right reason.

    But to see who it really benefits, you would have to look in the mirror. And do some thinking.
  3. In a documentary called Reversal of fortune, A homeless man was given $100,000. First thing he did was start giving money away to his friends. He bought himself a $34,000 truck and spent $10,000 per week at the bar. When he went to see a financial planner, the homeless man thought he was just after his money and tore up his business card. 6 months later, he was broke and homeless again.

    I think charity helps some people, but others are just meant to be poor.
  4. I know you posted the above with "good intentions", but oftentimes they lead to "unintended consequences". The unintended consequence is that you put an entire nation on a constant life support system. As we all know, a life support system does not make you get better, but allows you to just live another day. Its like a welfare or unemployment check. Neither improve your situation or encourage you to take action.

    It seems like such a noble cause to go to a place like Africa immunizing people and handing out bags of rice, but I think that does more harm then good. You may feel good by handing someone a bag of rice and giving an immunization shot to some children. The good feelings you get is the only good that will come out of it.

    The best idea is for the US to leave these countries alone and let them handle their own problems. There is nothing good that can come of getting involved in these countries problems. So I ask, what are we doing there? Gates should take that 10 billion and develop more companies. Thats what will help out the world.

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  5. Aid to Africa is often an indirect subsidy for US exporters. It is also a subsidy for the international NGO bureaucratic fiefdom.

    But to address your question, no, charity does little good beyond the very basics, such as when a person is truly a hard luck case and eager and able to get back up on their feet.
  6. I suppose it depends on how you are defining the word. It means different things to different people.

    For some, handing over some money is charity. For others, volunteering their time is. For people like Gates and Buffet who have the resources, it probably means something different.

    Handing money over is probably the easiest and least personal and probably what is considered charity by most. A Mother Teresa-type would be the most personal and on the opposite side of the spectrum.
  7. I'd like to see a documentary that centers on how much of charitable contributions go towards administrative fees. Of course to even question some of the ridiculous skimming that goes on opens up a shit storm of politically correct rhetoric. Still, untold billions are poured into charities each year and I'd bet that it's some of the most opaque non-transparent type of accounting to be found anywhere.

    We've already seen how corrupt and hopelessly wasteful just about every other industry is, who honestly believes that many of the corporate hacks running these larger charities aren't pulling the same shit.
  8. s0Lo


    One of the more convincing arguments against aid is that it undermines the incentives on the ground for the start of local industries/manufacturing, etc. It creates an artificial situation where the locals grow up knowing that learning basic English and the ins/outs of a NGO structure will get them farther than any business they open or join.

    Of course, it doesn't help that the US trade policy plays on massive import quotas to protect domestic farmers and manufacturers. The argument is that it would do much better to simply become more willing to import African goods, and therefore create incentives in the exporting countries to create an industry, rule of law, accountable government, etc, instead of dumping cash.
  9. #10     Oct 27, 2010