charity begins in joe's kitchen...
The lucky country? Try selfish and deluded, too
November 4, 2013
John WatsonSenior writer
Cutting $4.5b from our foreign aid budget suggests we're happy to live in a world of obscene disparities.
We think of ourselves as a generous people and many Australians are. But it's a form of national psychosis when a rich, secure nation unblinkingly spends more on killing people than helping them.
In Afghanistan, our military spending has outweighed development aid by about seven to one. Now, after a deadly 12-year exercise in military hubris, Australia is withdrawing aid along with our troops. The overall aid budget will fall to 0.33 per cent of gross domestic product and the defence budget will rise to 2 per cent, in an increase 10 times as big as the aid cut.
This is an idea of security that erects defensive walls, Fortress Australia, rather than building bridges that defuse the triggers for conflict and hostility - poverty and extreme inequity. Helping others is not pure altruism if we make friends of people who might otherwise be resentful enemies.
So how do super-fortunate people like us get so mean-spirited that we resent our money going into aid? When did ''charity'' get a bad name?
It seems we can live with a world of obscene disparities, as long as we imagine our lives, careers and successes are all our own work. If others struggle, that's their fault, their own mistakes, or lack of skills or work ethic.
We are kidding ourselves.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/the-lucky-country-try-selfish-and-deluded-too-20131103-2wula.html#ixzz2jcKPelNY
Gus: there are several contradictory dynamics at play here... The Liberals (CONservatives) mostly see governmental aid as a form of socialism. The Liberals (CONservatives) prefer charity (often with undertones of Christian patriotism)— private charities in which donations are tax deductible and glorifiable with restrained chest beating — though the Libs (CONservatives) are mostly a generous lot...
Private charities donations of course never can attain the financial level of governmental aid... And there are a few differences. Private charities often work at micro-levels — helping a few lives, improving the lives of locals, provide education and targeted health services... It all seem straight forward. But there is wastage at some level... For example some of the educated people under these great schemes in some countries will flee to where it's more comfortable to live... Helping some people get "better whatever" can lead to wars and resentment... and "who would live there" when even the educated locals are scampering?
Many larger charities get hand-outs from governments to make progress on the "micro" and larger programs.
On general aid, some government programs are constructed such that the moneys spent "comes back" in a loop of employment of engineers, doctors, consultants that are from the country of origin of the aid money. Tax concessions provide incentives for professionals to go "and help"...
In the general view of the Liberals (CONservatives) it is better to have private charities such as Pollie Pedal where the charity work of a certain Tony Abbott is financed in the greater part by the public purse, while he is pedalling for political mileage... Eh eh, wink wink, help two budgies with a bicycle...
Look, it would be far better to, say, use a professional painter from Cairns or Coen, to go and help Noel Pearson paint his own house — professionally. But according to the law of political gain, it's more profitable to have a certain Tony Abbott awkwardly (boy! isn't that man awkward!) splash a few daubs of paint in his own time for which he will charge the government for travelling business class and possibly accommodation expenses, to show the extent of his charitability.
In regard to government aid to other countries, there are some points to consider: embezzlement of some of the said money by local authorities, the fact that some of the help supplied like doctors and aid workers would be seen by Liberals (CONservatives) as socialists and abortionists, contrary to the good old missionary outposts of the colonial past... Let's shed a tear to the pioneers of proselytisation... It was only 100 years before them good men that commercial enterprises also encompassed the trade of slavery.
As one would know it is difficult to generalise here about aid and charities, thus some people will see things differently. I know the Liberals (Conservatives) can really open their wallets as soon as one mentions the magic words: "tax deductible", at a piss up dinner. The whole shomozzle will cost half a million bucks to stage and raise $50,000... Everyone has a great time...
As well one has to consider that for every dollar spent on charity and aid, there are about 10 dollars working against you. It's other ideologies and multinationals creaming the poor. Vulture funds, buying lands, selling armaments, religious extremism and more fuzzy work against the tide of true genuine help. Actually I am wrong: for every charitable dollar there are about $1000 working against you... Imagine India or Pakistan spending their wealth on nuclear weapons... When you cut the aid in the manner of the Liberal (CONservative) government has done, the difference reaches $100,000 that goes against your piddly charitable dollar...
Some of official aid moneys include weapons as well...
We can only hope that we will be better by being socially equitable and charitable as well — while considering the health of the planet... Never forget the health of the planet, including its natural cycles, otherwise we'll create new poor by the millions and even our charity will never-ever cope against one per cent of the new tide.