Does Charity Always Help?

Written by on January 31, 2013

“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”  – John D. Rockefeller

When Rockefeller spoke these words, he knew that in such a noble deed as charity, there is still a risk of it being damaging to the recipients of the charity.  This is because of the possibility that they will become fully dependent on others and will no longer work on their own to improve their situation.  Givers of charity are therefore encouraged to assess if they are actually helping people in their acts of charity or simply encouraging them to be dependent on other people and institutions.

Acts of charity therefore are not always beneficial to the recipient.  This is specifically in situations where beneficiaries of charitable support are not taught to take care of themselves after the initial assistance.  Charity is also seen as non-beneficial when it merely becomes a band-aid solution to problems that require comprehensive changes.

It can be very difficult to associate negativity with something so noble as charity.  For how is it possible that something intended to help will turn out badly?  The problem is not in the intention.  It is usually with the implementation that something goes wrong.

Some people see a lack of fairness when donors and philanthropists have the power to choose the recipients of their charitable act.  Many believe that charitable works must be distributed according to real priorities and needs and not according to personal preference and choice.  But how does one argue with a donor?

There are also concerns about charity that comes with conditions.  This is related to requiring the recipients to do or not do a specific act in exchange for receiving the benefits.  If the conditions set are manipulative and violates human rights,  there are obvious contrasts to the noble purpose of charity.  If the conditions are set to ensure that the recipients truly benefit beyond the initial dole-out, then such conditions are deemed positive.

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About the Author:

Teresa is a professional researcher-writer on a wide range of topics.

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