Stories of Success: Charity Re-Imagined

Free Market Charity

A popular opinion we often hear today is that socialism as a political and economic system is much more effective in addressing the social issues we face today as a society, such as poverty and unemployment.

 By Kevin Kaufman

We often hear that a free-market, capitalist approach is the antithesis of charity and generosity.  


I’d like to show you a different perspective.What if I said that there’s an incredibly effective free-market approach to charity?

Yup, you heard that right:


Free market and charity together can produce a more effective long term approach to charitable giving.


How?   Let’s break it down first:


Currently, the large majority of charitable foreign aid that wealthy nations like the United States doll out to needy countries typically fall short of the intended goal of bringing about improved long-term well-being for the poor. 




Because (along with structural and program inefficiencies) mere aid programs often stifle local entrepreneurial initiative and instigate unhealthy dependence.


For instance, a local solar panel company in Haiti faced financial troubles due to additional foreign aid pouring into the country several years after the devastating earthquake in 2010.


In contrast, the Christian nonprofit for which I work for, Churches and Villages Together (CVT), focuses on delivering solutions to poverty through the efforts of enabled entrepreneurs in the East African countries of Uganda and Rwanda.


 In other words, this charity employs free-market principles and practical business skills to actually help the poor become more productive and therefore more prosperous, rather than simply hand them food or money.
A program that borrows socialist logic would suggest a strategy that would simply give free food, supplies, and services to the poor as the ultimate solution.
This may be necessary in emergency disaster relief situations, however, it can be detrimental to a local economy if pursued for a long period of time.  

Simple “hand-outs” to the poor only go so far: they are temporary solutions to a long-term problem.


In sharp contrast, teaching the poor how to produce their own food via practical farming/building (business) skills can help lift them out of poverty and eventually to self-sustaining employment that can lead to long-term prosperity.


Charity programs that exhibit socialist tendencies actually stunt real growth and prosperity.


On the other hand, free-market charitable programs, which recognize the inherent dignity of all humans, seek to educate and enable entrepreneurs; thus providing them with a bright future of long-term, self-sustaining prosperity.


Real charity requires both compassion and reason.


Therefore charity solutions based on reason, not simplified humanitarian aid, ought to be the ultimate goal in the quest for elevating people out of poverty.


​What are your thoughts?