Thursday, May 03, 2007

All Consuming Charity

Charity these days is branded, prepared and packaged for the ultimate convenience.

Just as we buy convenience microwavable food, we can now buy that charitable feeling.

Years ago you had to have some personal contact with the needy in order get that selfless fillip to your ego. Now you can keep the needy at arms length - at the other end of a long, long supply chain of professional charity workers.

Fair trade is just the natural conclusion of charity in consumerist societies.

No need to worry about being near smelly bums at StarBucks. Just flirt with the pretty waitress, surf on wifi, drink coffee and save the world.

I for one, love it!


Denica said...

hm. i dont get it.

mukuge said...

heh - out of sight, out of mind?

well, we live in a shallow world and our lifestyles (however much or little we want to deny) are quite shallow as we seek so satisfy ourselves. We spend money to 'buy' charity works through proxies to satisfy the desire to feel that we are good and we mean good. We care but we don't really give a damn as long as the products & services deliver. Welcome to the consumerist society!

(so much for fairtrade products - I'd rather put in some elbow grease and do the works myself.)

johnorford said...

yeh suppose that's the point, nowadays we don't have to /do/ good work for disadvantaged, we just buy, buy, buy.

spew-it-all said...

"Charity these days is branded, prepared and packaged for the ultimate convenience".

Does this mean resistance is carried out by using any sources provided by capitalism? It means completely to change the meaning of 'buying'...i buy to resist

Fair trade is just the natural conclusion of charity in consumerist societies.

Well i suppose the spirit is like charity, involving a lot of community works

johnorford said...

My point is that years ago charity was a feeling, where people felt the need to physically help others in person.

Now you can just buy that feeling, you don't need to take time out to help anyone, you just earn money and send off a portion to some needy people...

Berly said...

Hmmm... but I am not sure packaged-charity work as subtitute for do-it-yourself charity.

They are most likely to be complement good. Those with inclination but little time do-it-yourself charity may prefer the packaged-charity.

If more choice for do-gooders mean more charity for the needy then I am all for it.

johnorford said...

that's a v good point berly.

but such modern innovations i suspect reduce a feeling of community and individual's understanding of the needy.

you could also say that charity work and fund raising is now more efficient than ever before. but i am skeptical!

Centophobia said...

I'm not really sure how I feel about the right or wrong of consuming charity. I don't really think that buying a coloured wristband, signing up for a cause on Facebook, or buying a red Ipod really "means" anything. Sure it helps in some small way, but lets face it, the people we elect to run our countries have so much more power to change the world, not through financial aid but through political pressure and working with other countries.

Buying to help save the world, seems so removed, so impersonal, that I think I'm probably doing it to make myself feel less guilty for living so well, so wastefully, while other people are living with illness, poverty, oppression.

Is charity a worthy act if it's motivation is egoistic?

johnorford said...

"Is charity a worthy act if it's motivation is egoistic?"

My line on that is that charity is better than nothing, even if it is egotistical - or if there are other ulterior motives behind it.

Our politicians don't do much good for the impoverished around the world, simply because it's not really a make or break issue like health care, employment, education and taxation is.

No use complaining about politicians, we elect them, so it's our own fault...