Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Charity and Class Consciousness
The big question from this piece (for me) is "do the beneficiaries care what motivated the funding of their assistance?"
This is far less simple a question that it first appears.
Do we really have to care? Does it make a difference if we don't?
Does anyone give a damn?
Glad you enjoyed the post. I left a response to you in the thread over at Jewcy.
Q: "Do the beneficiaries care what motivated the funding of their assistance?"
A: No. Not in the case of development work or relief of severe malnutrition or other outcomes of extreme poverty. In those cases we're dealing with distances of thousands of miles, and the attitude of the donor is entirely irrelevant.
Q: "Do we really have to care? Does it make a difference if we don't?"
A: No difference worth mentioning. Six million children under the age of five dead a year from severe malnutrition and consequent infections. What we need are good outcomes, and a good outcome will mean a world without the extreme poverty. It's achievable. Once we get there, we can start navel-gazing again and get back to idea that charitable work is a form of Yoga, a path to personal enlightenment or whatever.
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