Showing posts from December, 2005

What good is charity? A proposal.

Bill Gates, Bono (of U2 fame) and Melinda Gates have been named as the 2005 TIME magazine persons of the year. The Gateses were chosen partly for the $3+ billion their foundation spends on third world public health each year, but just as importantly, as a tribute to the Gateses' and Bono's ability to sway entities with even larger pockets into contributing.

Certainly, the donated money will improve, and rescue, the lives of large numbers of people. TIME writes that the Gateses' foundation alone has helped save at least 700.000 lives in poor countries, and I'm sure it has had a very positive impact on many more.

However, I am not certain how this manner of help is going to make things better in the long term. There are 6 billion people in the world, and the vast majority of these people are poor. Some argue relativity, that poor people are only poor materially. This article, among many others, shows how these people are also poor mentally. Their states of mind are medieva…