CHARITY is CRIPPLING.  Start part 1 (Introduction).  

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Charity, like Aid, and Corruption is self-perpetuating.  It costs time, money and effort, without any hope of reaching the stated objectives, or recouping the investment in time, money and effort.  And worse still, it permanently cripples the recipients.   Infact I sometimes think it is merely a business, run by professionals with the usual profit, mark-up, or salary firmly in mind.  I guess these professionals can be called “Charitable Organizations”.  But unlike other businesses the stock purchased has no tangible value, and the investor knows full well there will be no hope of a financial return on their investment.  Granted, as it is sometimes hinted that there will be an emotional reward, but it is only a hint, and even then, only an emotion.

However, I do acknowledge that if money, goods, or services are to be transferred from one body to another, then the use of a “Charitable Organization” is probably the best way to do it, in most circumstances.  I also acknowledge that being seen to be charitable, is the cool thing to do, and it is a more subtle way of being cool, than to be seen driving a pretentious motor vehicle, or living in an expensive house, although this charitable person would need to be cool in some other way to start with.  But being charitable still has some appeal, either in the form of publicity, or to gain some social, or political ground.  Most people I know (who are charitable by nature) are proud of, and even brag about giving to this or that charity.  The “Charitable Organizations” are happy to provide the brag stones, err, I mean stepping stones.

I also acknowledge there are some kinds of genuine deserving charities that cannot be researched against.  For example, orphans.  If, it could be researched against, and a treatment found, then the researcher who developed the treatment would receive ample reward for his, or her work through sales of their cure against orphan’s remedies.  On the other hand, one could argue that orphans are common-place, fairly predictable, and therefore the means to care for them should be built into the prevailing socio-economic system that is sure to produce orphans.  I suspect there is, in some countries.  But to leave this fund in the hands of third world governments would be a serious mistake – it would soon disappear. Another deserving charity, to my mind, would be to assist the victims of accidents – particularly road accidents.  I do not believe there is a specific charity, anywhere, for the victims of accidents.  There should be.  Again it could be argued that injuries (and deaths) due to accidents, is also fairly predictable, and could be built into the socio-economic platform of that particular system / government / country.  But the pitfalls of this system would soon manifest, if the fund was to be administered by a third world, or so called developing country’s government.  Infact, to support this hypothesis, using South Africa as an example, there was a “Road Accident Fund” administered by the government, and funded with a percentage of the fuel retail price.  This seemed like a sound plan to me, provided the statisticians did their job properly.  That fund, of course has disappeared, probably used for more important things like electioneering, or social grants.  Anyway, why bother with this “Accident Charity”, when there are insurance companies to look after the damaged machinery, and medical aid to look after the injured people.  But unfortunately not everyone.  While I suspect “Orphan Charity” may contribute to more orphans, I doubt that “Accident Charity” would increase the number of accidents.

Other kinds of “Quasi Charitable Organizations” prefer to go by the name of “Cause Conscious” organizations, who claim they will protect the world from much needed Nuclear Energy, and Genetically Modified Organisms, in exchange for a donation.  As an example, the Greenpeace organization, and their like, immediately comes to mind.  Without these modern advancements, the cause conscience organizations would shrivel up and die.

Another kind of “Quasi Charitable Organization” are the so called Trade Unions, who claim to protect their member’s jobs, wages, and working conditions in return for – wait for it – A direct deduction from their member’s wages.  The only tool they possess to protect their members interests is the term “Collective Bargaining”, but it is only a term – two words strung together,  and is mostly by-passed in favour of strike action, a sledge hammer used to kill the canary.  In times long passed the unions used to professionally invest their member’s dues in preparedness for when strikes were the last resort.  It seems that Trade Persons, have not yet grasped the concept of “Private Negotiations”, although some have, and of course they are discouraged from doing so by their unions.  In my experience, Union Members have lost more during strike action, than they have gained by any increase they may have won.  This has been the case for as long as I can remember.  The Trade Union’s claim, to assist the poor downtrodden workers, may have been valid during the Industrial Revolution, but paying them to assist workers today seems nothing more than charity.  The Trade Unions do not fit well into the “Charitable Organization” mould, but not quite not.  In any case, who, apart from actual members, and them reluctantly, would want to donate to a union to enable them to more easily strike?  Certainly not the consumer, and certainly not the employer.

Other “Quasi Charitable Organizations” could include Insurance Companies.  It is possible to insure yourself against loss of income, retrenchment etc.  Contrary to the Trade Unions, the Insurance Companies, once you have signed- up, and paid your premium, will do their best to keep you in a job, good financial and physical health, or pay up if they cannot.  If they keep to the terms of the policy, pay-up, and still make a profit, then good for them, everyone is happy.  Your premiums could hardly be called charity.  Even though you only receive a promise in return.

The biggest “Charitable Organizations” are in fact governments.  Western Governments who handout aid to other governments, and regimes who have for decades, even centuries, have not been able to develop a self-sufficient society.  The recipients of this aid often exist in the guise of developing countries, drought affected countries, plague affected regions, hurricane affected islands, war-torn areas, and regions severely affected by famine, or simply in dire need of kick-starting their self-destroyed, mismanaged economy.  These recipients have been well known, though variously described for many decades.   One common denominator among the recipients is that they never seem able to shake off the affliction, or prevent the next event, that caused their neediness in the first place.  Why would that be??  Well, that would be because every time in the past, when the recipients miss-managed their agriculture, livestock, resources, health program, politics, population, water storage or economics, even misread long standing weather patterns, someone has come forth with aid.  These recipients are now, and have been for quite some time, industrially, economically, and agriculturally crippled.  Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, alone presents many examples of this scenario.  Sometimes the aid comes from groups ill placed to give, but still do because of racial, religious, language and cultural solidarity.  Crippling both the giver, and the receiver.

Another form of charity, is that assistance offered, (not always willingly), by one self-governing, self-sufficient, and stable country, to so-called refugees from another country or regime, which has never, or at least not recently been self-governing, self-sufficient, or stable.  Potential refugees from these countries, or regimes, once the going gets tough, very quickly get the message, and become full-on refugees, as an easy way out of their predicament.  They are easily persuaded to abandon their struggle at home, and invade a more educated, prosperous, and industrious neighbouring country, that will most likely take good care of them.  The original concept of refugees however did have some merit, when around 1948 after the Second World War the United Nations sponsored the Geneva Convention on Refugees, which began with the words “Due to events in Europe —.“  Other words included Religion, Language, Political Opinion, Race, colour, Culture etc.  Whoever, and whenever, did we ever – in terms of the above persuasions – think we were all equal??  Many countries signed that convention.  But that was then, and this is now.  And will the refugees, if allowed to, ever vote for the government who took them in?  And if they did, it would further dilute the technology and resources of that country and government that took them in.  Not to mention crippling those left behind.

Another form of Government Charity is carried out within the same government’s jurisdiction.  I am not talking about pensions where a particular person has during his or her working life, paid contributions into a government pension scheme, and then gets it back again on retirement from work.  What I am referring to, are payments made to citizens, by said government, because the government knows these citizens will never be able to produce a livelihood sufficient for their needs.  This payment cannot be called an investment, or a pension, as no financial return is envisaged, (but maybe some votes), and no contributions were ever paid.  It is therefore simply called a GRANT.  In South Africa, the grant can consist of money, food parcels, and even water in some places.  The recipients, of course have no incentive to develop themselves in terms of industrialization, agriculture, finding their own water, and educating themselves.  They remained crippled.  As an indication of the scale of this crippling in South Africa, where the population is approximately 70 million.  The recipients total 17 million people, and the bill each month is around ZAR. 11 billion. (USD. 81, 5 million), giving each recipients around ZAR. 650, 00 (USD. 48, 1) per month.  The number of recipients has increased from 16 million people in May 2013, to 17 million in May 2016.  This systematic crippling has been in operation for at least 10 years.   Admittedly, an indeterminable number of these recipients are children, or because of children.  And that is not the end of it.  This charity needs to be administered far and wide throughout the country.   Quite a task.

Another scenario of “Crippling Charity” is looming on the near horizon, and that is, the demand by students for free “University Education” in South Africa.  This situation has not yet manifested itself, as crippling.  But all indications, and the inherent nature of the beast, point to students becoming at least educationally crippled, and it follows they will be industrially crippled simultaneously.  It is very obvious to me (I coach maths around Johannesburg) that over the last few years the education standard, particularly in the sciences, has seriously declined.  It has recently come to light, that some universities are financially in the red to the tune of ZAR.50 million (USD3, 7 million) because of unpaid student fees.  This means for some, free education is not new.  Nor has it improved the standard.  Over and above the non-payment of fees, the protesting students have consistently disrupted lectures, burned libraries, and trashed lecture rooms.  I think it unlikely that professors / lecturers who have been thus insulted, would calmly turn around and coach these students in a conscientious and diligent manner, and for free.  In fact I know of some that have already resigned their posts through sheer frustration.  This continuing drop in education levels does nothing to enhance the graduate’s international recognition, which must be at least laming.  To be honest, I need to investigate this further.


3 thoughts on “CHARITY IS CRIPPLING – PART 1. Introduction.”

  1. Hi Jimbo,
    your “Charity is Crippling” is well researched and written. But then I do need to correct you, charity is not always crippling.
    Billions of development aid dollars have of course over the last decades been poured into most African countries, dollars that have not up-lifted these countries, dollars that actually prevented these “developing” countries from developing, namely sinking them deeper and deeper into their self-inflicted morass.
    Another form of misguided but very common development aid is to donate surplus agricultural products to these countries, products that are directly competing with the local farmers’ produce, thereby stopping the farmers from planting.
    But then there are organisations that are not crippled by the charities that are handed to them, namely the NGOs. First of all, a NGO like a church is not obliged to keep a record of their income and spendings. In fact an associate of mine working for an NGO called JAM residing on their beautiful many hectare large property once told me in an unguarded moment that, “we collect money to enable us to collect more money”.
    There are thousands of these NGO’s, usually blessing themselves with supposedly catchy names like the one in Fourways calling itself “SAVE THE WORLD FOUNDATION”.
    Saving the world from what I ask, perhaps from the charities that are NOT crippling them?
    As anyone will notice, South Africa is overburdened with self-confessed “churches” that are enriching themselves by enticing their believers to pay up, with threats or with promises of a better life.
    It has often been stated that starting a church is the quickest way to make your millions.
    Well, one needs to observe the many cars that fill the parking lots of these churches on a Sunday morning. Of special interest are the cars their “pastors & prophets” arrive in, none of them costing less than one million Rand.
    I other words Jimbo, not all charities are crippling….

  2. I copied a pdf file that contains my “charity” text with the pictures embedded in the text, unfortunately it would only accept the text but not the pictures.

    1. Dear Win, It appears you have tried and failed to insert a relevant picture. Sorry about that. I am currently researching easy ways for readers to insert pictures with their comments. I suspect I will have the answer in a day or two, and post it here.

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