Why We Need to Rethink Charity: "One estimate suggests clothing donations to Africa reduced employment in the clothing industry by 50%... However well intentioned, giving people our leftovers can destroy people’s capacity to stand on their own – and that should be the whole purpose of charity."

Wow a few quite violent replies there. Interesting. Hopefully we can have a constructive discussion on this...

Firstly NotAsBannedAsUThink, I'd be interested to know which literature in my field you're talking about there. Aside from a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and finishing off my Master's, I would particularly cite Joseph Stiglitz, Dambisa Moyo, Thomas Pogge, and others regarding aid who have all argued very similar things. The system itself is broken... we need to change the system if we're going to do anything really helpful.

The problem with your argument there is that you start off by saying I have a dim understanding and then say that a peso saved on clothes means a peso more for other things. But in doing so you're treating the symptom again. We need to ask why don't they have enough as a whole to buy ALL of their necessities? Why don't they have a living wage to begin with? Could it be because SM are moving around their employees with short-term contracts to avoid benefits? Could it be the minimum wage isn't enforced? But I really don't see how you can say that it may be true that handouts of old clothes might reduce jobs by 50% but that people will have an extra peso to spend in other industries... you can't destroy an entire industry for negligible growth in others and expect long-term development. Instead of calling me dim, perhaps you should analyse your own logic there.

To briefly answer a couple of the more direct and offensive parts, I don't prefer you ask why they're poor and give interesting advice, please don't set up straw men... I prefer real strategies based on long-term solutions - i.e. quality education facilities, not public schools which churn out dropouts (read John Holt, AS Neill, Ivan Illich, among others), livelihoods in more efficient carinderias rather than handouts of food, urban farming potentially to solve that in the long-run. You're right that people are hungry, they need food, but you won't solve ANYTHING in the long-run with handouts. They create dependency in the long-run. Handouts are an emergency situation only, short-term treating of the symptoms until the cure can be found...

...and briefly with the self-serving bullshit, there are many great charities, but none of the examples used were registered, accountable charities. I didn't criticise the good work of others, only the poor way some now think of charity. Do you happen to work in charity or development? Have you ever lived in a slum community? I'd be surprised if so as I'm sure you would have been tired of the well intentioned people giving handouts without planning or thinking ahead of time.

YYZ2MNL most of that goes for your comment also. The old clothes typically don't reach the people you're talking about precisely because those giving handouts aren't part of the community and don't know the people. You can praise the good intentions, but if you look at it objectively the results aren't close to the idealistic image you give. Instead of giving clothes, ask why they have none... and work on solving that. You'll make far more of a difference (and there are many great charities doing that).

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