Stories of Success: Charity Re-Imagined
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.
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.