Unravelling The Charity Thread...

Worldwide, there are billions of people who believe in a wide selection of causes, millions of which who have started up charities and organizations dedicated to bettering the world, in both small and large ways. The human spirit is alive and well. Despite all the doom and gloom in the media, the majority are still honest, good-hearted people who want to make a difference contributing to the well-being of our fellow beings in this global village.

Unfortunately, while we've got MANY organizations aiming for the fulfillment of worthy ideals, most are lacking the organization and effective structures enabling their objectives to be reached. Best of intentions aside, we've been falling disappointingly short of our potential. (And though it could easily be agreed the problem lies out there with us playing no part, we are beyond such a worldview - stepping into the reality we are all connected, each taking a share of the responsibility to shape our collective future.)

While there are millions of amazing people bursting with passion to change the world, the majority work in a job or business they aren't particularly passionate about, simply in order to survive. Then, they may or may not donate 10% of their miniscule earnings into what they really believe in, giving to charities whose mismanagement carries only approximately 30% - if that - to the actual cause. No matter how strongly most believe in their chosen mission, few have either the financial capacity, focus, or know how to make the impact they're truly capable of making. Confused as to their true talents and how to apply them in the service of their greater soul purpose, the masses wander blind, trying to pin the tail on the donkey, sincerely wanting to make a difference, yet having no idea where or how to start...

Under the false, misguided, restrictive impression they're too small and powerless to make a real difference, many defeatedly delegate responsibility to a fund-raising organization through donations and volunteering. Just as they're content to hand over power to governments, medical establishments, and other authorities, the majority prefer to sit along the sidelines in the comfort of resignation, convincing themselves "someone else will look after it," that others are in a better position or more knowledgeable to do something about it; that by offering moral support or money, they've played their part.

However - the charity model is fundamentally flawed. Though well-intentioned, it may often in fact do more harm than good, serving to foster reliance on handouts, a sense of entitlement, and dependence...

While we may truly wish to help others in need, the entire "not-for-profit" model does little to encourage responsibility on the end of the receiver ---- perhaps, in fact, even squandering the potent human drive for independence responsible for all progress. We've been embracing the concept of a global village, yet isolating over half our population, viewing them as impotent to conceive & give birth to enterprise providing a solid foundation for steady economic development to take place. In seeking hand-outs from others - be it as a charity receiver or fundraiser - we are at some level looking to others as more powerful than ourselves, putting them at the cause of our effect. In essence, we are doubting our own power and distrusting in our own ability to fulfill our own needs, forever at the mercy of forces outside ourselves...

By giving another something for nothing, we fail to bring light to that person's internal value and capacity to produce. Though it may not be the intention, as we give to disadvantaged others without a fair exchange of value, we subtly reinforce the perception of them as victims, incapable of participating as equals in the creation & trade of value. Rather than give encouragement to develop their potential, the charity model suppresses the possibility of its receivers to become empowered themselves - either denying the feasibility, or projecting the likelihood so far off into the future, it becomes little more than a fantastical wish. In a culture whose prosperity has been grown out of the capitalist beliefs in an individual's appetite for self-realization & definition, equal opportunity, continual expansion, and participation in the blossoming of enterprise to serve our fellow citizens - where have we managed to find room for the existence of countless organizations whose solutions to problems involve completely overlooking the root causes of inequality and simply tossing the less-fortunate the scraps, deluding ourselves into the sense we've made some contribution towards restoring justice?

This isn't to suggest ruthlessly withdrawing all form of assistance and leave those less fortunate on their own. Far from it. Rather, what is being proposed is a shift from looking down upon those in poverty & dire circumstances in need of help, to realizing and serving the potential and human life value of those individuals. Let us consider the possibilities that could unfold should we not to give handouts, but rather provide them the education and means of making something of themselves. Something like the fish analogy - rather than continually giving them fish so they can remain unproductive, teach them how to fish so they can become self-sustainable.

If we had $1000 and the desire to feed a starving village, we could potentially invest that $1000 in educating the villagers how to build their own fishing equipment, how to use it, and how to turn raw fish into healthy meals. In effect, the villagers would not only be able to feed themselves on an ongoing basis, but the introduction of such knowledge & skill would give rise to a whole new realm of economic activity, stimulating the local market, and creating more wealth for the village.

However, with the misconception it is somehow morally superior to give hand-outs, our society, subscribing to the charity model, instead spends $700 of that thousand to acquire another thousand, then of the $300 left, it may purchase $100 of fish, then spend $200 shipping and disbursing it to the villagers, by which time it has dried out and decreased in nutritional value. The entire $1000 has been SPENT, 15% somewhat usefully, with the villagers left hungry the next day. Does anyone else see the supreme idiocy of such a model? Can you begin to sense the benefits INVESTING, rather than spending, may occur - not for a personal return or profit, but for the ongoing advantage of others' entire communities?

We have created entire bureaucracies and continue to burn up the majority of our funding to ineffectively give them the poor necessities of survival, but withhold the resources they could use to create their own wealth. Our worldview seems to even exclude the possibility that wealth could be created in these communities. Or if it does, we have been doing little to encourage its creation - wealth cannot flow without value being recognized or utilized, neither of which are occurring within the context of the charity model.

To get an idea of what alternatives exist out there and have already been proven viable, take a look at the fine example Muhammad Yunus has set with Grameen Bank. This leading micro-credit institution has been giving out small loans to the poorest of the poor in Bangladesh, providing people the opportunity to create their own enterprise. Not only does the bank make a consistent profit, which it continually reinvests into community & economic development, but the effect of the entrepreneurs given the means to create value in the market has lifted a LARGE percentage of the country's population out of poverty. The success of the system has proven without a doubt that while the western world may tend to look down upon the third world as helpless and in need of hand-outs, the poor & disadvantaged are fully capable of bettering their own lives given the chance....

The micro-credit movement is a testament of the positive growth and expansive wealth that can occur as a result of restructuring our financial systems and choices. Whereas in the soon-to-be-prehistoric charity model, funds are inadequately dispersed and depleted, micro-credit serves to powerfully redirect the channeling of wealth into constructive investments. Rather than money being spent once on consumables, it recycled over and over, each time giving rise to the expansion of an enterprise increasing value & wealth within the community. A donation is not simply a hand-out to be devoured, but the means to initiate increased economic activity - rather than never being seen again, that gift returns to the giver to give again, enabling the evolution of an entirely new enterprise, which can create wealth to be reinvested, and so on, and so on, and so on...

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Why do so many people limit themselves to the belief we can't make both a profit and a difference, that there must be a separation between financial enterprise and those whose purpose it is to serve?

Are we not willing to move beyond the centuries of financial myths perpetuated through cultural conditioning that have associated money with evil, accepting that in order to make a difference, we must have the financial means to invest in fueling development? We have no problem slaughtering thousands of cows per day to support our beef addictions, yet why the stubborn refusal to killing the ages-old sacred cows that have been saturating our societies' thinking around money with crippling consequences?

Our culture is immersed in financial paradox - the masses lusting after material status, hoping & wishing for the cushy life provided by a winning lottery ticket; yet on the same clock, most will ridicule the wealthy, shunning the rich as though they're gain must be coming at the expense of the poor. The logic is distorted and restricted, costing us all the chance of collective empowerment. As the masses stay resistant to openly accepting wealth - not from greed and insecurity but a state of abundance and self-worth - they destroy their vision, blinding them to the incredible value and potential within...

Thankfully, a transformation is underway. Enough of us have been waking up and heeding the call of our spirits to explore the imaginative realm for resolution to the conflicts we've decided are no longer acceptable. We've been disconnecting from the cultural norms keeping us locked in mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial slavery, seeking wisdom and guidance to create and live in empowering alternatives. And as more of us commit to the transformation, the force enabling our positive evolution grows in power, propelling us into an abundant reality wherein we have access to our internal power to overcome the challenges we face, both individually and as a larger community.

While few of us may possess the worldly influence to change everything in the blink of an eye, we each can play a role in bringing about the long-term transformation we desire, starting with the simple and powerful tools of inquiry combined with intention. Let us alter the twisted views persisting in our minds and those of our neighbors, harnessing the potential to see Truth through the lens of better questions. Whereas continuing to ask "why" such injustice must exist, how we can let such equality persist, and what we must do to stop what we don't like will restrict our thinking to the level of the problems being analyzed, to what degree will our thinking rise by asking questions from the higher altitude of "what lessons are to be learned here, so that we can change our ways to create the results we deeply want and believe ourselves worthy of?"

Must we submit ourselves to lives of drudgery in order to merely survive, and then half-assedly spend a fraction of our reserves to do what we REALLY believe in, or how accessible may other options be, should we choose to consider the alternatives?

What if we were to apply our energies not towards rallying and raising funds to be atrophied within inefficient non-profit bureaucracies, but rather on innovating ways to reinforce the belief in and systems enabling continual sustainability and ongoing productivity? What if it were possible to work in a position we were highly skilled for in our natural talents, that we absolutely loved, in support of the causes we hold conviction in, while making more than a survival wage, but were creating an enormous amount of wealth for both ourselves and others?

How have we managed to lose sight of the truth capitalism is built on the freedom to pursue enterprise not for the reason of selfishly receiving excess amounts of money, but for the purpose of serving our fellow citizens by becoming providers of value and conduits through which wealth may flow through in greater amounts, so that all may benefit from an overall increase?

Taken into consideration all the views expressed above, those on the receiving end are clearly not getting the benefit intended. So who, in fact, does the charity model serve? As discomforting it may be to consider, perhaps the primary beneficiary is our ego and its dear, beloved self-righteousness. If handouts are in essence doing more harm than good, and the money pumped into the system is being rapidly depleted, what else could keep this destructive inefficiency perpetuating besides sheer ignorance and the satisfying sense of "doing good," no matter how mistaken and misguided it may actually be? Though - have we not evolved beyond the egotism of arrogantly believing ourselves to be the saviors of the less fortunate, acknowledging within each impoverished human being lies a pressurized radiance building to shine bright, enlightening the capacity for self-realized & sustainable prosperity? Would it not be holding to a higher level of integrity and respectability to acknowledge the need for change, reexamination of our priorities, and restructuring of our institutions, enterprises, and personal behaviors to collectively create the environment wherein each of us have an opportunity to make something of and for ourselves?

The technological marvels we've managed to construct are so far beyond the comprehension of most individuals; the quantum leaps we've made in consciousness have left collective mindsets of extreme scarcity & limitation in the history books, opening doors to unbounded opportunities - is it so far out of our grasp to suggest we are capable of collaborating on the development of answers to the most pressing questions of how to lift billions of our brothers & sisters out of poverty & into empowerment? Is it unimaginable they possess the ability to do it themselves, should they only be provided the direction & initial investments required?

Let our minds drift in imagination to the possibility of a world wherein we gave each other a chance to be great...

Let it be... for so long as we will not, it cannot happen. Or if it does, we will not recognize it, having decided to exclude the possibility from our reality...

Let us envision order arising out of the chaos around us, bringing sense to a world gone mad, restoring integrity to our communities, empowering all of us to make something of our selves...

Let us move forward into a realm - where though we may never reach the ideal of totally equal opportunity, we will commit ourselves to the creation of opportunity for others where there is currently none...

Let us drift into the objective analysis of our institutions, and let us summon the courage to restructure them to truly serve - let us shift our beliefs to those of abundance, aligning our actions & habits with universal laws of expansion, constructiveness, and well-being, investing in the development of enterprise to enrich our communities and those within them...

~ written November 2009

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Right now I won't talk about steemit, @rok-sivante! Because perhaps it is not at this time the platform that helps the smallest. I'll talk about you! I have just read your previous publication and you have left me with a cheerful heart. I saw a person translate your post and told you that he does it to earn money because his mother is sick. You voted for him twice! That gesture, perhaps unnoticed by others, is not so for God, who sees the good you do. Perhaps many people take advantage of our good hearts and good deeds, but sin is not in you but in the other who does evil. The world is full of angels! There will always be people who will help you on your way, who will give you their wings so that you can fly or protect yourself. Some angels are anonymous, perhaps like you, who in a simple gesture, not only helped, you also taught that he who gives, has no memory. The one who receives always remembers! Thank you infinitely.

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It’s interesting, seeing how Steemit does kinda link into this charity/giving theme...

How the rewards model formed the backbone of an entirely different kind of ecosystem, wherein such opportunities have been made possible.

I mean, it doesn’t reall “cost” me anything to give votes - (well, perhaps there is an opportunity cost, as I could be delegating my SP to some bid bot and earning a return on it, but nonetheless - yet, choosing to keep funds invested here and exercise such voting power, it actually can/does make a significant difference. And, the model really aligns with my personal philosophy, as it’s not just “giving away,” but a show of gratitude where I acknowledge and appreciate value.

Without question, Steemit was a huge blessing for me that came at such a perfect time. As much as I might feel like I wanna fuck off sometimes, I do truly cherish the opportunity I’ve been gifted to pay forward the blessing - focusing my votes towards those in “developing” countries, given a little goes a lot further there. (As I’m sure you can relate to, being in Venezuela).

So yeah, quite interesting to loop back from this post made 9 years ago, connecting the dots with how this platform is a vehicle for making a difference... it never even occurred to me until I had finished writing “your welcome.” Haha! 😇

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Your welcome. 🙏

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I applaud your gesture! Even if it sounds a little trite: the world would be different if there were more people like you. Surely if I wore a hat, I would take it off in front of you. Thank you.

I've heard about people giving clothing to be donated to needy people in Africa, but what I didn't realize for many years is that when clothes are donated, it can drive local clothing businesses out of business. The businesses can't compete with FREE clothing, so they have nothing to sell.

That or the donated clothes are sold by the bundle for a low price. The bundles are bought by people who want to have a clothing stand and can get inventory inexpensively from the wholesaler. This still can put clothing businesses out of business because it's tough to compete with a business model that gets their goods subsidized by the donation method. In that way, people can be doing more harm by donating clothes than they would be if they didn't donate clothes. Strange, right?

I was really excited when I heard about Kiva because I was envisioning a site where people could get a loan to buy chickens and then raise them to sell the eggs. Maybe they didn't have the capital to start it, but if they were able to start, they'd be able to pay the loan off with the proceeds from their business. There are still some good options that follow that type of model, but there are a significant number that are things like loans to remodel their house. Those frustrate me because we're encouraging them to become debt takers, rather than entrepreneurs. They could be saddled with that debt until default.

It's not all bad though. There are some organizations out there that do focus on equipping people. Some of the well-drilling organizations help get access to clean water for the villages which can allow the people (often women and children) to have a much safer and time-efficient way to get the most basic of resources. This opens up more time for them to go to school, start a business, plant crops. Like you said though, it needs to be focused on equipping, not just giving handouts.

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Tough challenges, when we think about how to “help” others in distant countries. I had read some article a while ago about the phenomenon of white men wanting to “help” in Africa, yet it sometimes turns out to be a whole weird dynamic, sometimes not so different than the whole colonist stuff or some saviour-complex, as our help isn’t always wanted or suitably-fit to the actual needs of the people.

As per the other comment above - it’s kinda cool seeing how Steemit plays a role in transferring wealth across borders, opening opportunities for those in developing countries access to these new crypto-based income streams and services. Shall be quite interesting seeing how things evolve in the years ahead as the economic models adapt to the new technology and consciousness...

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it’s kinda cool seeing how Steemit plays a role in transferring wealth across borders

Yes! There's on guy in particular that I follow who lives in Venezuela where they're dealing with crippling hyper-inflation. (That's something that most of us in the world who deal with fiat currency will likely experience soon.) He actually makes enough by doing small posts to help his family. Even with the price of Steem down to where it is, it's still a meaningful amount of money to him. And it's not like it's being given to him for free. He's providing a service by giving on-the-ground reporting from inside Venezuela from the perspective of someone who lives there. There's someone who helps facilitate him getting currency in exchange for his Steem, but it's awesome to see Steemit actually adding to his life that way.

He hasn't posted in a little while, but his account is @jjuuaanchoo if you're interested.

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This is a success story. 👌🙏

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You made an excellent summary of what happens in my country and how steemit helps me @themanwithnoname One of the problems of living in Venezuela is the lack of a quality internet service, in my house there has not been for a few months so I must take advantage of my free time in my work to review steemit.
I did not know @rok-sivante but from now on I start to follow it I see that it has very interesting content

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Thanks, I'm glad it was a good summary. Sorry your internet has been so spotty. I'm glad you're still around. :)