Monthly Archives: April 2015

Big Charity and Real Charity

Here I mean the difference between macroscale charity vs meoscale or microscale (personal) Charity.

The bigger the charity, the less control over the conditions, and the greater the likelihood of scamming, for more than one reason.  One is that the bigger the pile of money, the bigger the potential payoff for a scammer, and the more angles scammers will come up with.  Big money attracts corruption — and not just in politics.

The other biggie is the further the separation, speaking in the community sense that goes from the small end to the big end… personal, family, friends, church, town, county, state, federal … the less the giver is actually involving himself in actually helping the recipient, and the less the recipient feels any obligation to use it wisely.

I don’t think it was intended as an illustration, but a … let’s say cousin-in-law who is a minister relayed this story:

A lady who came to the church a few weeks ago with a broken insulin bottle asking for a gift card to fill the prescription showed up again today with the same broken bottle and the same story.  This time he told her that if the only way they could help her was with cash or a gift card, they couldn’t help her.  So she wandered off, dejectedly, probably toward the next church.

He said I feel bad for such people – some may actually be poor and have real needs. But, like the woman who left a voice mail message looking for aid and gave one name at the beginning of the message and a different one at the end of the message, I’m afraid that I’m just not willing to use what limited resources I have for people who aren’t going to be honest with us.

This illustrates the kinds of controls that happen on the meso and micro levels that just don’t out toward the macro end of the scale.

And this is essentially the conservative view of Charity.  First of all, mandatory charity isn’t charity (I always say “forced charity isn’t”), and the wider the gap in relationship between  the source and the recipient, the more easily it is gamed, and the more counter-productive it can be.

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