Thursday, July 20, 2006

Charity: short term answer?

Rearrange the letter segements to make a word:
un nfo co ded

I must admit that I can often be a little tight when giving to charity. Its not that I don't want to help, but instead that I don't feel the money will go to the right places. The worst type of charities are those which have people on the street carrying a clipboard instead of a money box. The clipboard is used for recording the account details of passers-by in the street and from that point forward every month an amount of money will be deducted from your account. Often the tactics of the street sellers are aggressive and they don't care whether they are wasting your time or not. So essentially any donation is going towards paying their wages.

Naturally when a charity volunteer stands in an non-obstructing place without shaking the box or calling out then I'm slightly more inclined to give. In fact, if you scroll to the bottom of this page you'll find a link to "The Hunger Site" where simply by viewing a few unobtrusive adverts you can give a specific amount of food for free. The only downside is that you can only donate in this form once a day. However that still doesn't address the issue of the money going to the wrong places such as in the wages of staff, corruption, theft, bureaucracy and so on.

So instead of "Charity" lets promote the concept of "Fair Trade" and empowerment of people. "Fair Trade" simply means giving third world countries an equal playing field with already strong countries, allowing them to achieve stability and a sustainable source of revenue. The second part (the empowerment of people) is all about giving everybody the opportunity to be great, rewarding merit and hard work. This can be achieved through providing education and supporting local community initiatives, granting free (or at least affordable) access to health care for everybody and ultimately allowing anybody who wishes to, to be self-sufficient and successful.

That is what I think we should be aiming for with "charity". Short term bribes to relieve our guilt simply do not work as they do not address the economic imbalance or the inequality in opportunity.

Answer: confounded

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