Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Is Charity The Way To Go?

           So, the new Pope got elected a few days ago, and he's spoken out in favor of the poor. Basically, besides his charisma, he's a man who's got a knack for charity, and it got me thinking, does charity really help, or is there a better way to help the poor? Don't get me wrong, even though I'm a misanthrope at times, I recognize the fact that philanthropy can be an admirable quality in a man, but is it being well applied?

             First, let's look at it from a more neutral point of view. Charity is a well-meaning action in which you give the needy, well, what they need. A man who spends his life helping others expecting nothing in return is sure to be an honorable man, is he not?

Oh, yeah, it sounds awesome in ink and paper, but apply it...
            Ayn Rand makes a statement against charity in Atlas Shrugged, saying that the motto "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs", if applied, will lead the world to hell. I actually agree with this, and the rest of this article will explain why. 

            One who likes to help is honorable, but one who expects nothing in return is clueless. Look at it from an economic point of view. One of the main problems that many developing countries and even some of the more develloped countries are facing is the fact that there are not enough jobs. However well-meaning, the act of charity by itself doesn't generate jobs. Sure, it's great short-term, but only if you apply it towards emergencies like natural disasters or something which has temporarily incapacitated the region. 

For example, in the aftermath of this catastrophe, you won't have many people hurrying to get a job.
           The main way an area can develop is generating riches, and you aren't going to see that if you give away food and money. It's like a person living on welfare. You can give him a job opportunity eventually, and yet, he will choose to live on the welfare since it's the easier way. 

            Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, had been invited by Gates to give half of his fortune to charity, to which he responded: "The only way to fight poverty is with employment... Trillions of dollars have been given to charity in the last 50 years, and they don’t solve anything.”

He's the richest man in the world, so it's gotta count for something.
         Although it sounds tough, it's the truth, which tends to be like that sometimes. How can you expect economic progress if nobody does anything meaningful? For example, there's a lot of economic progress in Africa right now, and it didn't come because of charities, if not Chinese investors who are pooling in money for commodities.

             It's like that famous quote. Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. But what happens once he stops fishing? Teach him to fish, though, and eventually, maybe he'll even get a good catch for you to buy (hopefully with a discount). Bam. That's basic economics right there, and this is the way to go if we want real development to occur. To need does not mean to deserve, but opportunities do have to be created by those with the capacity to do so.

Well, that's a wrap.