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Thread: Charity, the root of all evil?

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    Default Charity, the root of all evil?

    Lately I have been pondering something. Over a dinner discussion, I more or less got accused for being cheap and lacking in morals, as I refuse to donate money to charity, even though I would have the means.

    For me it is a philosophical question more than anything else, really. I am just against most types of charity.

    People have been giving money to charity for hundreds, if not thousands of years. This has yet to solve any real problems. Quite the opposite, charity is a way for the middle/upper class to buy themselves off of moral responsibility. Much like the salvation of soul letters so popular by the church before Martin Luther.

    "So the world is a mess, but I do not have to care about that on a political level because I gave $100 to the Red Cross."

    Pretty cheap, is it not? $100 in return for not having to care about the world at large.

    But what impact will these $100 have?

    Imagine if all of the millions of people who do charity stopped, and instead demanded of their politicians to sort things out. It is like the old saying, evil does not happen because there are so many evil persons in the world, evil happens because the good persons do nothing.

    If one believe in the christian religion, I could bet Satan was the founder of UNICEF, Red Cross and so on.

    I hope I make some sort of sense here.

    PS: I do give money to projects I believe in, albeit on another scale and level.
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    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Dambisa Moyo and her dead-aid book should be on everyones reading list:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-en...o-1519875.html

    The EU is a particularly bad offender in that:
    It uses CAP to subsidise local basic industry which prevents the third world from earning a living
    It justifies its immoral behaviour by giving aid money which creates a subsistence dependency
    It prevents britain from offering the favourable trade deals with former colonies that encouraged enterprise in those nations
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    The most cynical trade there is, read 'Dead Aid' by D Moyo. It isn't really aid, it's post colonialism
    Last edited by Fragony; 01-11-2011 at 13:21. Reason: Limey beat me to it

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    I do not think that the concept of charity is bad, merely in many cases the reality. Furunculus gives examples of trade distortion disguised as charity.

    Yes, using a WWF subscription to assuage one's conscience against all the bad in the world is a cop out that loads of people do, but donating to a hospice in my opinion isn't. The latter will make a significant local difference.

    I also have a problem with vast amounts of my income going in the UK to such things as Social Services. It removes all link between myself and the beneficiaries. They feel no gratitude towards me as it is the State that gives them their alms, and I feel no compassion as I have been divorced from the process. Give more? What, was the last few hundred not enough this month?

    Political activism is all very well and good, but most people only like things to improve abroad as long as there is no perceived cost to themselves. Else why not spend half our welfare and health budget elsewhere? It's save far more lives. People want to maintain their own delusion of being a caring citizen of the world but the vast majorities are NIMBYs. A few quid a month to a popular charity helps plaster over this disconnect.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Thanks guys.. I will get to it at once.

    I am however talking about the more personal aid.

    What would happen if UNICEF, Red Cross etc all shut down business, all with the same message - "change things politically". Then what would the good people do with their moral dilemmas?
    Few are born with it, even fewer know what to do with it.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shibumi View Post
    Thanks guys.. I will get to it at once.

    I am however talking about the more personal aid.

    What would happen if UNICEF, Red Cross etc all shut down business, all with the same message - "change things politically". Then what would the good people do with their moral dilemmas?
    Skip Unicef, Red Cross is good. I adopted an African family and send them the money directly so they actually get it, hardly hurts me but it's good news for them, they can buy what they want, shoot me if I do it to feel good about myself, others hold the high ground but it's more easy to squeeze lemonade from a peace of granite if it costs them, tax included and all that

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    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shibumi View Post
    What would happen if UNICEF, Red Cross etc all shut down business, all with the same message - "change things politically". Then what would the good people do with their moral dilemmas?
    what would happen?

    well countries like haiti might have a chance at a future:

    http://www.channel4.com/programmes/d...es/4od#3153261
    Furunculus Maneuver: Adopt a highly logical position on a controversial subject where you cannot disagree with the merits of the proposal, only disagree with an opinion based on fundamental values. - Beskar

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    For countries to have a shot at a future, they in the first instance need to be a country. Far too many African states are as they were from colonial times as the leaders want as big a state as possible to plunder. Aid keeps them there

    There are two ways forward as I see it. One expensive for us and comparatively cheap for the state, the other cheap for us and comparatively expensive for the state.

    First route would be to go in, organise elections and repartition the state if required. Then assist in oversight, anti-corruption and general advice until the state is able to function independently.

    The second is to basically do nothing and wait for the whole lot to implode. After the wars, starvation and so on, new boundaries will be drawn and new states will rise.

    The former would require EU and US (and others) subsidies to cease to give the locals a chance to develop doing what they should be efficient at. Not going to be popular, that.

    The latter would only work if the leaders in many areas were not able to sell raw materials to buyers. Practically impossible, and the resource wars would go on as they have been.

    Unsurprisingly we try the "middle road" of doing something in the worst areas, but not enough to really sort anything out in a meaningful way, as to do so would cost too much.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    I think there's something in what Rory said regarding local impact. What often seems to happen with international aid is that the human (local) impact is not easily felt or noticed by the charity giver/tax payer of the donor nation.

    This is especially true when talking of macro-economic aid, designed to help the long term prospects of a country. There are massive risks around how such long term structural aid is delivered (ensuring it goes to the right places) but while such aid often considered wasteful, it's actually conceived to address poverty/disease etc in a permanent and sustainable way.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    It's really not that complicated, stop dumping subsided goods in Africa we are disrupting their market. And send a few engineers to actually help them, (and make some price deals of course but fair ones)
    Last edited by Fragony; 01-11-2011 at 14:24.

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    BrownWings: AirViceMarshall Senior Member Furunculus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    It's really not that complicated, stop dumping subsided goods in Africa. And send a few engineers to actually help teach them, (and make some price deals of course but fair ones)
    QFT.

    When my family arrived in africa the purpose of my fathers job was to be part of an all english/anglo school-staff intended to provide a 1940's style public school education.

    Today there is only one white teacher left in the school, the head teacher (who was our neighbour) Frank Cooke, as all the rest have since been replaced by graduates of the school. The most gifted of those graduates were given contractual bursaries to pay for a western university education on the proviso that they brought their knowledge and skills back to Malawi in order to benefit the country.

    Job well done!

    The same can be said about local and national government; now populated by educated professionals from Kamuzu Academy.

    Funniest of all, Malawi got very little aid post independence because it was run by a right-wing authoritarian as opposed to a 'democratic' peoples movement, so its success is its own. Contrasted with this success, its neighbours 'benefited' from communist inspired civil wars that ripped the continent apart, countries which received lots foreign aid along along with the ideology and spent most of it on Migs and swiss bank accounts.

    Malawi, a country of 4.5 million people supported 1.5 million refugees from Mozambiques civil war for years barely a penny of aid from international aid bodies.

    So, to get back on topic; stop sending aid administered by a bazillion quangoes and simply DESTROY the common agricultural policy as well as removing tariffs on cheap manufactured goods.
    Last edited by Furunculus; 01-11-2011 at 19:11.
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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    and open up the european market and make it truly free OR respect the international treaties on fishing and multinational corporations and stop the one way exploitation of african rescourses without giving similar chances in return.

    We do not sow.

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    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    This leads me to wonder if Louis (or anyone here) has ever defended the CAP?
    Last edited by al Roumi; 01-11-2011 at 18:37. Reason: thanks Rory!

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by alh_p View Post
    This leads me to wonder if Louis (or anyone here) has ever defended the CPA?
    CAP? If so, then Louis is a vocal proponent for others to give the French farmers money for whatever they decide to do. I don't think anyone has raised an argument for it that stands up to scrutiny though.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    pardon my klatchian Member al Roumi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    CAP? If so, then Louis is a vocal proponent for others to give the French farmers money for whatever they decide to do. I don't think anyone has raised an argument for it that stands up to scrutiny though.
    er, yes, CAP. I even googled the damn thing to make sure.

    Doha also flopped last time, IIRC becasue of arguments between the US and India?

    And on something else noted here, most developing countries are awash not with western made goods but Chinese ones... I was in Nigeria over the summer and local industries (due to the effect of oil rents on the economy) cannot compete with the prices of chinese made goods. The mind boggles that it can be cheaper to make something and ship it from China to Nigeria than to make it in Nigeria... Very sad because before they discovered oil in the south, Nigeria had developing agricultural and manufacturing industries, no more. Well, there's also the fact that no factory can run with mains power that only works for roughly 50% of the day.

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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Charity is bad. Taxation is the way.

    Every person has a value "just for the sake of being human", people are entitled to life, they should not be forced to live on the goodwill of those with money.

    As for foreign aid, well, whether you see it as good or bad depends on whether you see the death of millions of Africans as good or bad. Because that's the death toll you'll get should emergency aid be scrapped.

    State-to-state aid is another issue again, the reasoning behind giving millions to some de facto president has nothing to do with the citizens of the country, instead its goal is to enable the state to build a government with functioning institutions.
    Last edited by HoreTore; 01-11-2011 at 20:16.
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Continuing emergency aid ensures that there will be a large number of people who just survived the last disaster to have more children to overtax the land to continue almost dying. In essence, prolonging the problem without providing a solution.

    Where has this utopia of state to state aid worked? It's managed to get a lot of presidents extra money, but is there a link between aid and a successful institution? All evidence so far in the thread appears to be contrary to this.

    Taxes already account for nearly £2000 of my salary. That's plenty for providing their life. Or am I supposed to also provide for them to have as many children as they want?

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    simply DESTROY the common agricultural policy as well as removing tariffs on cheap manufactured goods.”
    Good idea.
    Let’s buy their food to feed our cattle and let them die of starvation. Their Rich will become richer and well, market economy will do the rest, like in Ireland during the Potatoes Crisis. The Irish were dieing but Ireland (the Rich) was exporting food…
    Let’s exploited their masses to provide the ones who will be able to live/work in Western Countries to have even cheaper products…

    “stop the one way exploitation of african rescourses without giving similar chances in return.” Do you want to export minerals to Africa? What similar Chances?

    It's really not that complicated, stop dumping subsided goods in Africa we are disrupting their market. And send a few engineers to actually help them, (and make some price deals of course but fair ones)
    It is not that complicated, it just a complete cliché.
    What subsidised goods do we dump in Africa? Except our industrial waste?

    And we did sent few engineers in the past and they just speed up the desertification in introducing ill-conceived cultures and methods of culture.
    See, lake Chad, or the destruction of the thin layer of soil and putting the red laterit at the top thank to blind import of European Techniques…
    Or we can speak of the Assouan Dam on the Nile, or the draining of the Nile in Sudan, or the destruction of the Rain Forest and de-forestation, mining and others…

    Now, what kind of Charities do we speak of?
    Post war, development?
    What would happen if UNICEF, Red Cross etc all shut down business, all with the same message - "change things politically". Then what would the good people do with their moral dilemmas?
    We stop charities: Well, a lot of vulnerable populations will die, as simple as that.
    We have to change politically, but not the taking the clothes from Peter to give to Paul.
    I do understand the feeling to let the French Peasants to die and to allow the African Lands Owner to became richer, but it is useless, except of course if French Peasants are less important the Rich African Land Owners (and all of them are not African).
    But just cancel all Aids is not THE magic solution.

    “Imagine if all of the millions of people who do charity stopped, and instead demanded of their politicians to sort things out.
    I imagine. No, mistake, I saw it.
    Did you see “Black Hawk Down” The introduction, when the War Lord takes the food? How much probabilities for the local population demands to be heard? One or two machine guns? Guess…
    I can tell you, because I work around 10 years in Charities… The so-called Elite doesn’t give a monkey of their people…
    So, you have the choice. You help who and when you can for others human beings to have a least a little chance to live or just do nothing but accept their death.

    If one believe in the christian religion, I could bet Satan was the founder of UNICEF, Red Cross and so on.
    Well, I was sub-contracted by UNICEF to deliver Food and Medicament to Sarajevo and other places in Bosnia. If this is Satan’s job, I prefer Lucifer (the Light Holder) to a God who will let people die.
    Not that the UN organisations are all perfect and good, but to deny their work because some flaw in to drop the baby with the water of the bath…

    This has yet to solve any real problems.” Stopping people to die is to solve real problem. Providing a well, refurbishing a hospital, sheltering population, protecting people, vaccinating, de-mining lands and roads are solving problem.

    “It isn't really aid, it's post colonialism” And what is “Free”-market? Colonialism not even post.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Taxes already account for nearly £2000 of my salary. ~smoking:
    Whoa, that works out to a whopping £ 165 a month! How do you manage?






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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Erm, no, that's per month...

    So make that c. £22,000 A YEAR.

    Last edited by rory_20_uk; 01-11-2011 at 21:22.
    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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    TexMec Senior Member Louis VI the Fat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by rory_20_uk View Post
    Erm, no, that's per month...

    So make that c. £22,000 A YEAR.

    Hrmph...so much money and still you squeak about a few tenners of it paying for Britain's annual CAP tribute to more powerful nations?
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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Rory:

    You're not arguing against me, honestly. My first comment(taxation) was about domestic issues, ie. stuff like public healthcare and money from the state when you're laid off and such. My second comment wasn't about providing a solution, that emergency aid is not a solution is kinda implied. But if you say that you are against it, then fine, you are saying you are okay with millions of people dying. Like it or not, europeans will neverm eveer accept such a thing, so there is absolutely no chance of cancelling emergency aid. Also, what of personal responsibility? Why should M'fofo die because of events she has zero control over, and will never be able to influence? Why should she have to die as a way to teach her agricultural minister a lesson? My third point made did not comment on the effect nor for or against it, just a clarification of its stated aim.
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Europeans are perfectly happy with Africans dying. They only ask that they don't hear about it and no one challenges the fact they'd rather have a new TV than save a life. Any disposable income any Europeans spend on fripperies rather than sending aid to Africa shows that they value these things over others lives.

    Sadly, the fact is that for change things usually have to force the change. And yes, generally that involves people dying. Several have died whilst I type this response. It is a very popular activity in Africa.

    I don't really see what personal responsibility has to do with anything. Few people have control over their destiny. I certainly don't.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Few people have control over their destiny. I certainly don't.” I certainly in favour of the Social Determinism theory; I am not one of those who think if there is a will there is way.
    However, I don’t blame the Universe for what I failed (by the way nobody thanks it for their success gained only to a hard work and exceptional capacity/ies).
    I did some choices and I lived with them.

    To give the opportunity to some to at least escape from their condition where they are, thanks to the Social Background they born in, is one of few choices we’ve got in living in our nice countries.
    These countries we did nothing to deserve, just the pure luck to be born there, countries build by our ancestors and parents who made some choices and had some successes…

    Charities save lives. As simple. As to give blood. Stop give blood that will teach people not to have accident on the road by too much drinking or over speeding… Aaa, the others victims, sorry can’t do omelettes without braking eggs, collateral damages, price to pay for education etc…

    Work for you?
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    Mr Self Important Senior Member Beskar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Charity is an inefficient process because in the vast majority of these 'charities', 90% is spent on administration. So give £10 to give £1 in aid.
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    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Giving blood. Really? More like giving out heroin / alcohol as otherwise the poor addicts will have a hard time of it.

    Blood is given to those that can't change of their own volition.

    Aid in its current form prevents or at least reduces the need for reform - why bother leading a balanced, efficient, transparent economy when you can get the money for free from abroad?

    I'm not completely fatalistic. I would liken it to being at the wheel of the ship on the sea. You can try to steer where you want to go, and if you're lucky you'll get a calm sea or even a favourable wind. Sometimes there's a great big storm and you can try to avert disaster but odds are it'll get you whatever you do.

    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
    Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.
    "If you can't trust the local kleptocrat whom you installed by force and prop up with billions of annual dollars, who can you trust?" Lemur
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    The best argument against democracy is a five minute talk with the average voter. Winston Churchill

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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Beskar View Post
    Charity is an inefficient process because in the vast majority of these 'charities', 90% is spent on administration. So give £10 to give £1 in aid.
    That depends heavily on which charity you're talking about.

    For organizations like Doctors without borders and the Red Cross, little is lost to administration.

    @rory: how can Ms. Mfofo "change on her own volition" when she is mired in poverty and her country suffers a critical shortage of food?

    How could the Tsunami victims in Thailand expect a Tsunami? Should we just tell that they were silly to build their life near the ocean?
    Last edited by HoreTore; 01-11-2011 at 22:50.
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

  28. #28
    Darkside Medic Senior Member rory_20_uk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Many charities do spend a small amount on administration. But overall, in the long-term do they help the societies that they go to? Or provide a temporary sticking plaster?

    She can't change. Nor can Medicines sans Frontiers stop the raiders killing her whole family because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Tsunami victims? There are people that live far more precarious lives than them. What about almost everyone in Bangladesh living on what is a massive flood plane.

    I guess the world isn't a nice place and bad things happen to people that don't deserve it. Shocking I know. But it is true of all animals that are pushed to the edges of their ecosystem - they are more likely to die.
    An enemy that wishes to die for their country is the best sort to face - you both have the same aim in mind.
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  29. #29
    Member Member Greyblades's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Pity there isnt a treaty of some kind that forces first world countries to interviene when human rights are violated on such a scale.
    Being better than the worst does not inherently make you good. But being better than the rest lets you brag.


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  30. #30
    Ni dieu ni maître! Senior Member a completely inoffensive name's Avatar
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    Default Re: Charity, the root of all evil?

    Some charities are good, some charities are bad. Some are run very efficiently, some are borderline scams for those who donate. Charities that are run by the right people like the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation are probably better then government towards spending money to improve regions. Simple things like buying a million dollars of mosquito nets can do so much more good then sinking a million dollars into a water purification center or some other infrastructure that will be destroyed by conflict in 10 years time.

    However, charity by itself is nowhere close to enough to support the world's most needing communities and regions. You need government aid. Personally I don't see why the US hasn't taken a couple million dollars annually and just puts it in the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation with the condition that x% of dollars must be spent towards improvement measures.
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

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