Money for Nothing

Poor Farmers in AfricaFrom time to time, we get a knock on the door and someone asks for a donation to charity. The amount of money is up to us and the minimum is typically small. The person is pleasant and often seems like one of the people who would benefit from our donation to this charity.

But to me, this is money for nothing. Sure, research shows that people get a sense of generosity and feel good about themselves when they give money at the door, in the office or secretly in some other way. I still think this is a short-lived feeling that keeps injustice and bad management in our society long term.

I believe that the fundamental ingredient missing from the charity model is self-respect. When a person cannot provide for themselves and relies completely on others for food, shelter and clothing, their sense of identity changes and they begin to see themselves as dependent and incapable of supporting themselves. If this goes on long enough, they end up feeling worthless.

Even if you have never been poor, maybe you have lost your job at some point or your partner has. The feeling of loss of self-worth can be debilitating. When it goes on for long enough and when the loss was big enough (like a top executive being laid off at an age that makes finding another job unlikely), some people even kill themselves. Standing in line for a social security handout is humiliating for anyone used to productive employment.

Money for nothing makes the recipient feel worthless.

Read more about how to promote self-respect with your money

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