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December 09, 2013

"Giving To Charity Can Cause More Harm Than Good"

Spot on: a lot of charity, whether public or private, is designed to make the givers feel better, consequences for the recipients be damned.

The result of these exchanges reminds me of the "Jesus Comes at Christmas" trips our family would take to some of the relatively poor families in our North Jersey suburb. These were quick drop-offs of holiday food baskets that included toys for the kids, but it was hard not to have a bit of a savior mentality as we drove house to house. 

In the light of this exchange, we all knew who was playing the part of Jesus. I vividly remember the feeling of disappointment when a young child answered the door and sheepishly accepted our gift basket and closed the door quickly without any of the appreciation that we were all secretly expecting to receive. The problem was that we had no relationship with these families except to play Santa Claus one day a year. Looking back, both families were a bit worse off by the awkward exchange. 

Our family left disappointed by the thankless welfare mentality we observed, and any feelings of superiority we harbored at the beginning of the expedition were only reinforced. The receiving family had to endure the humiliation of another unknown do-gooder family showing up at their doorstep on their journey to save the world. 

See also "Let's Kill the Aid Industry".

Comments

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Gene H

A few years ago we did the Angel Tree thing at our church. The request was for clothes for a 10 year old boy. We were not sure of the size so we contacted the mother. She said he did not need the clothes anymore and asked us to get him some more Game Boy games instead. We never did Angel Tree again....

JorgXMckie

Too much 'aid' is just an attempt by someone [or someones] to soother their moral conscience.

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