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Friday, June 20, 2014

Day 541: Do Some Good with Your Bags of Money

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/28/bill-gates-china-peoples-daily-wealthy-charity

Bill Gates has urged China's extraordinarily wealthy business elite to shed its aversion to philanthropy and donate to the poor, a potent message in one of the world's most economically divided societies.
"Only when we help poor people break away from destitution and illness can the whole world achieve sustainable development," Gates wrote in the People's Daily, a mouthpiece of the country's top leadership. "Investing in poor people requires the involvement of every social strata. I believe that the returns from investing in poor people are just as great as [returns] from investing in the business world, and have even more meaning."
China had 358 billionaires at the end of 2013 – a rise of 41 over the previous year and the second-most of any country in the world, after the US. Yet in terms of charitable giving, it ranks among the world's worst. According to the World Giving Index 2013, an annual survey by the NGO Charities Aid Foundation (pdf) , China ranked 115 among 135 countries for donating money and last for volunteering. - The Guardian

What is the best you can hope for for a charity? What is the most a charity can hope to achieve? Theoretically a charity can have the goal of ending poverty on a global scale, but how close could it actually get to achieving that goal? Feed a few thousand people? Even a few million? Teach a few towns in a few countries how to grow their own food sustainably? Maybe. If they get a huge amount of funding and only part of it is written off due to corruption and other malpractice related activities. Maybe.

It is safe to say that you are among the majority of people who can recognise that charities are not going to save the world. They may contribute in some small way, but it is unrealistic to expect more than that. Even if every charity were to get all the funding they needed, they all seem to miss the fundamental reason for the current state of affairs in the world. If all the charities in the world were to direct their efforts towards addressing the cause of all our problems then we may have a significantly higher chance of success. The risk in this approach may be losing the funding from the extremely wealthy people in the world, because a very realistic expectation of the success of this particular scenario is that there is no more inequality of wealth. This would mean no more mansions and ridiculous luxuries for the rich. This approach is essentially the same as telling someone with more money than anyone needs that giving money to a charity is equivalent to giving away all of their possessions and a large portion of their income. Hah. Hahaha.

Do you think that Mr Bill Gates would still support charities if they were truly effective and had a real chance of bringing about substantial change in the world? Maybe. Maybe not. One would assume that any person living in a mansion would be averse to such a course of events. Screw the poor.

But then again, there may be a few super rich who would willingly participate in bringing about real changes. I just wish they would start doing it now already. What the hell is everyone waiting for?

If the philanthropists of the world were to direct their charitable proceeds towards the investigation of real, sustainable solutions instead of band-aid (stop-gap) projects then maybe we'd actually be getting somewhere with some of these pesky global problems like poverty, slavery, malnutrition, illiteracy, inadequate healthcare and hygiene, et cetera, et cetera. 

There are movements in the world researching, developing and promoting solutions that could actually solve the cause of all our problems, but do you think these movements get any significant funding?

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