Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Troubling Charity

Chappell has some good points to make about charity.

But...is there a charity that gives out responsibility and initiative? Is there a charity that people would give to if they couldn't tell anyone else that they gave to it? Is there a charity that willfully self-destructs by trying to solve the underlying cause, rather than treating symptoms?

The actual underlying fact is that I can't feel good about giving to any charity I know, which makes me wonder if a product model (warm fuzzies) might be optimal for charities, rather than my naive former understanding. (See also: lotteries. They sell dreams, not odds at cash.)

Having said that explicitly, it makes my former analysis seem so incidental...(Below; possible rationalization warning)

That first one is my biggie. If you're truly committed to utilitarian stranger-welfare ends, in the long term, then the current underclasses will have to support themselves, partly because charity is capricious and unstable, and partly because humans crave independence. Under what conditions is it better to start learning responsibility at a later point than right now?