Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WW: Charity

 Welcome to Word Wednesday. The word of the week is Charity.

It seems there are three views of charity. The first view is that of, "I will share what I have when I have more than I have." The problem with that view is that we will never have more than we have. The point of charity is to give of yourself, a sacrifice, to help others. If you will only give in the abundance that exceeds your imagination. If you are reading this you are probably in the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the world (check and see:

The second view on charity is that it must be forced. This usually starts with someone saying, "Someone should do something about this!" and ending with a new government program. There are three problems with this approach. The first problem is that what one person sees as a problem another sees as the way the world should be. Two examples would be Bibles handed out in schools or condoms handed out in schools. Handing out either, funded by tax dollars and distributed through a tax funded organization, would draw cheers from some and criticism from others.

The second problem with "government funded charity" is that it is run by money that is run on third party money. For instance, if you buy a present with your money for yourself you balance cost and quality. If you buy something for yourself but with someone else's money, you look for best quality. When you buy a gift for someone else with your money, you generally look at cost. These are human nature, and there are some exceptions. Government programs are spending money they didn't make for someone else. Neither quality nor cost is a factor for them. This explains the quality of our schools, welfare programs, etc.

The last problem with tax dollar funded charities (or social programs) is that they never go away. As Milton Friedman said, "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program." No matter how bad the program is, or unnecessary or duplicate, it will exist near indefinitely. This is especially true as it becomes the general populace come to accept and then depend on it. Take Social Security, for example. The idea was to take money from people while they work and give it to those who are "of retirement age." In theory the money was to be set aside for the worker, however, Social Security started paying out on day one. Those first recipients did not pay in as much as they got out. And then the government went and "borrowed" from that money to cover other expenditures it didn't have the money to fund.

The last view on charity is that it must be given voluntarily at a personal sacrifice. The sacrifice helps make sure that the money will actually go to help others (if I'm eating Ramon to help this group out, I better make sure it is actually helping them out). I believe this is the most effective for of charity and the best hope for improving the lives of those around us.

Go out and give of yourself to make the world better, starting in your corner of the world.

Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it. 
John D. Rockefeller 


 [char-i-tee]   Origin


  [char-i-tee]  Show IPA
noun, plural -ties.
generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, orhelpless: to devote one's life to charity.
something given to a person or persons in need; alms: Sheasked for work, not charity.
a charitable act or work.
a charitable fund, foundation, or institution: He left his estateto a charity.
benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or indisfavor: She looked so poor that we fed her out of charity.
1125–75; Middle English charite  < Old French  < Latin cāritāt- (stem of cāritās ), equivalent to cār us dear (akin to caress,cherishKamawhore) + -itāt- -ity

char·i·ty·less, adjective
o·ver·char·i·ty, noun
pro·char·i·ty, adjective

5.  kindliness, consideration, humanity, benignity, sympathy. 

5.  malevolence. 

No comments:

Post a Comment