>Is charity worth our while?

>Have you ever heard anyone tell you that it’s a waste of your time and effort to give money to someone on the street, or even for us to give to charities at all? Right wing movements say that charity creates dependency. Does it? If so does that mean we’re better doing as African author Dambisa Moyo says and weaning countries off of aid? And is it right to talk about charity for individuals and countries in the same conversation? Or are they so different that such comparisons are a waste of time?

2 comments

  • >i think the idea of charity for countries has already gone out of vogue, and everybody is talking about 'developmental aid' instead.only the old NGOs seem to be carrying the mission on in the old school way.charity is good in that it feeds the man for the day, and obviously this is important when there is a crisis and immediate assistance is needed.as for giving to individuals on the street there are probably various motivators for people to give. the beggars needs being just one of them.

  • >Yes global aid has gone through several stages. In fact today people are questioning whether aid of any type works. You raise an interesting point as to whether there's a difference between aid and charity. The dictionary says there isn't. But I see what you mean, essentially that "if you give a man a fish you'll feed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and you'll feed him for a life".However I don't think that charity has to be without condition or work. Most international charities now aim to teach or help rather than simply giving. After all it's almost universally accepted today that dumping surplus food on third world countries is bad because it hurts local providers.So I would say yes charity is worth our while, but being charitable doesn't mean having to open your wallet to every person you pass in the street. Just as with all things charity changes. We can learn how to help in new ways, and avoid the errors of the past. So for example providing secure places in every city (similar to holes in the walls) where people can donate money to charity, and giving money there, would be better than simply handing it to anyone you see. That way you'd know where it was going to be spent, and central organisations managing the funds could work to counter dependency, spend money on what was really needed, and help people build a normal life.

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