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TheBatPencil from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:14:22 PM

The problem is that that STILL looks like guilt tripping. "We should accept that we are to blame for their problems" is bullshit because as you mentioned its the governments, not the people who are doing this.

Governments that are subject to the will - and vote - of their people. Fact is, people just don't want to face up to the reality that we, as a society, couldn't really give less of a shit about who goes hungry so long as it's not us. We're quite happy with the idea of slave labour so long as we keep getting chocolate and we don't know the details.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:16:04 PM by TheBatPencil

And let us pray that come it may (As come it will for a' that)
MilosStefanovic Decemberist from White City, Ruritania
Decemberist
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:14:52 PM

@OTOH: Because whatever we help to build will get inevitably destroyed. Humanitarian aid in any possible form canot help as long as there are wars going on there, and that is, to put it bluntly, forever.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:15:06 PM by MilosStefanovic

The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Barkey War Profiteer from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:16:17 PM

Meh, don't particularly care.

Swimming out to a drowning person to save them is free since I know how to swim. Donations are not, and I can never be completely sure what the money is going to.

The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:17:05 PM

People vote for things that affect them more than others. I thought that was kind of obvious by now. What person could honestly win ANY votes by going "I will be using your money to help children in Africa! It'll be called the 'doing good' tax!" People would think that they were mental.

MilosStefanovic Decemberist from White City, Ruritania
Decemberist
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:19:39 PM

@JB: Exactly. We must not forget that Humans Are Bastards or, at least, Humans Are Selfish. Only people from the West can help Africa, but doing so will crash their own standard. 99% of people are not willing to do that.

The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:20:41 PM

@JB: You may not be able to trace your specific dollars from start to finish, but you can certainly see what the charity is doing - you can look at pictures, videos, statistics, research reports, and lots of other things.

@Milos: So then donate to places where there are no wars, to get a better chance of helping. India has no wars, and has a pretty good government as far as they go, but there are still millions of starving, emaciated children who swarm your car offering to wash it for pennies when you go there. They could use some help, and after a little push out of poverty, India has the institutions and the culture necessary for them to get an education and a job and permanently stay out of it.

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left." "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:22:30 PM

Except you can't. The problem is that the money "you" spend doesn't seem to be doing anything, and (oddly enough) I am want to trust the company I just gave cash to to report honestly how much good it is doing. It might well have bought a well, but now we need a bit more for some cows, don't suppose you could spare a 50 note?

TheBatPencil from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:23:54 PM

People vote for things that affect them more than others. I thought that was kind of obvious by now. What person could honestly win ANY votes by going "I will be using your money to help children in Africa! It'll be called the 'doing good' tax!" People would think that they were mental.

Exactly. If the public demanded en masse that more be done to help Africa (and others) then more would be done. The reason we don't demand that is because we don't care about what happens to funny-sounding African people and, y'know, slaves you don't need to feed are cheaper.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:24:42 PM by TheBatPencil

And let us pray that come it may (As come it will for a' that)
TheDeadMansLife Lover of masks.
Lover of masks.
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:25:24 PM

Wouldn't feeding these kids be bad in the long run? Each of them that survives is just going to breed and add more starving kids.

Please.
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:25:30 PM

Charity evaluators exist that use pretty rigorous criteria to tell which charities are actually making a difference, such as [[www.givewell.com Give Well]] and J PAL. Giving well is harder than most charities like to make it seem, but they are not so hard that you would still be flying completely blind after a bit of research.

Wouldn't feeding these kids be bad in the long run? Each of them that survives is just going to breed and add more starving kids.

No, because prosperity has been proven to reduce the amount of kids people have. Part of Third World charity involves family planning.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:26:31 PM by OnTheOtherHandle

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left." "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
TheBatPencil from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:26:00 PM

[up][up] See what I mean?

And let us pray that come it may (As come it will for a' that)
MilosStefanovic Decemberist from White City, Ruritania
Decemberist
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:26:01 PM

@OTOH: I agree with that. But I still need to see a charity organization collecting money for India. Almost all of them focus on Africa, and I find it completely obnoxious, in the way of "We're destroying them, now let's organize giving them some pathetic sum that we won't miss anyway in order to appear good and humane". Most people have selfish ulterior motifs.

The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:26:58 PM

Its also because "you" (a generic you) sort of would appreciate that money being spent on your own fuckin' country. Its all very well to say things like "we can eradicate poverty" and it doesn't matter if there is mass unemployment at home. People might not be eating rats and shoe leather, but its still painful to people to not be able to do anything other than sit, drink and work.

Jun 30th 2011 at 3:29:56 PM

The best thing in the long run would be to target those for whom aid would help the most - that is, starving people in relatively rich countries like India, who could quite easily make it past the poverty line and then contribute to the world economy, and maybe start helping themselves. Not as romantic as Starving Kids in Africa, but more useful for the world at large. If you'd like to check it out, here's a website I found after a cursory Google search: http://www.giveindia.org/

Edit: @JB: I haven't been talking about governments, though. Governments exist to serve their people, and I am down with that. This book was about private philanthropy. (Although well-targeted government aid would help the giving country, too, by creating markets of consumers instead of leaving vast areas of the world not participating in the global economy.)

edited 30th Jun '11 3:31:34 PM by OnTheOtherHandle

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left." "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
MilosStefanovic Decemberist from White City, Ruritania
Decemberist
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:30:42 PM

I forgot to clarify - I'm speaking from the imaginary perspective of a first world citizen, e.g. a more-or-less ideal economic situation. I live in Serbia, which is also a third world country, and having large organized humanitarian shipments sent to other countries would be like pissing on the corpse of our already failed economy.

Edit:[up]I'm really sceptical about the benefit of an indivdual donation, but maybe I'll donate a small sum if I get an unexpected financial influx. Thanks for the link, anyway.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:33:24 PM by MilosStefanovic

The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
TheBatPencil from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:32:31 PM

Do we honestly have to differentiate between "their" starving and "our" starving? Surely the important point is that there are people starving, not whether or not they come from the "important" countries.

And let us pray that come it may (As come it will for a' that)
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:32:58 PM

More sort of targetted at bat Pencil. I do apoligise.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:34:12 PM by JosefBugman

Jun 30th 2011 at 3:37:38 PM

@Bat Pencil: The thing is, if you live in America or Europe, "their" starving is considerably worse than ours. I have yet to see even remotely the level of hunger in America that I saw multiple times a day in India, and statistics back me up. I guess I'm closer to this than most tropers are. It's a haunting sight.

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left." "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
MilosStefanovic Decemberist from White City, Ruritania
Decemberist
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:38:07 PM

@Bat Pencil: I try to help when I can, but I put my personal interests above others', which is something perfectly natural and normal. Imagine a scenario: There is a big fire, and your's and your neighbor's are simultaneously inflamed. Your neigbor runs to your door and screams for help, since his child is trapped in the fire and needs to be saved urgently. But your own child is in the same situation. What do you do?

edited 30th Jun '11 3:38:51 PM by MilosStefanovic

The sin of silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:39:55 PM

In most First World countries, though, which this book is targeted at, it's not about saving your kid's life vs. saving a stranger's kid's life. It's not even usually about getting your kid an education vs. saving another kid's life. It's more like getting your kid that new video game vs. saving another kid's life. You can (and should) value you and your family above others, but how much?

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left." "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
TheBatPencil from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:47:12 PM

I try to help when I can, but I put my personal interests above others', which is something perfectly natural and normal. Imagine a scenario: There is a big fire, and your's and your neighbor's are simultaneously inflamed. Your neigbor runs to your door and screams for help, since his child is trapped in the fire and needs to be saved urgently. But your own child is in the same situation. What do you do?

But the overwhelming majority of people in the First world are not in that situation. The majority are in a position to sit back and see, to take your analogy, just whom is starting the fires.

If people are living in poverty in our countries we protest, we refuse to accept it and we demand something should be done about it ASAP, because we see how fundamentally wrong it is (most of us, anyway). I say the same principle should apply worldwide. We've reached a stage where people can eat themselves to death yet there are still people starving - something is seriously wrong here.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:52:36 PM by TheBatPencil

And let us pray that come it may (As come it will for a' that)
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:52:44 PM

No we don't. Most people seem to try and get on with their lives and hope that there won't be questions asked later.

TheBatPencil from Glasgow, Scotland Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:54:23 PM

[up] Again, Humans Are Bastards. But we're much more intolerent of injustices when we can't ignore it and see it's effects for ourselves. You yourself practically said so earlier.

edited 30th Jun '11 3:55:22 PM by TheBatPencil

And let us pray that come it may (As come it will for a' that)
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:54:34 PM

@JB: The fact that welfare exists in Western countries says that we care at least enough to consistently vote for people who keep it. It's not perfect, but it exists, and we keep voting for it to stay in existence. This says that we're capable of caring for an entire nation of poor people - why are we not capable of caring for an entire world?

edited 30th Jun '11 3:55:58 PM by OnTheOtherHandle

"War doesn't prove who's right, only who's left." "Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future."
Jun 30th 2011 at 3:59:41 PM

Except that people DON'T care about welfare. That has been extensivly prooved in the USA. They only care when it has been set up already. People are Lazy.

And its partially because what right to we have to decide what is "best" for the whole world? The fact that Africa got so monumentally screwed over partially came from the idea that "we" were somehow improving it.

You said yourself that "It widens markets", how is that different from "we are going over there to give them the benefits of civilization and to get rich"?

edited 30th Jun '11 4:01:34 PM by JosefBugman


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