Acts of kindness or acts of guilt?

kganihanova's picture

We all receive emails about those with wealth donating money and starting charities. Call me a cynic but how many of these actions are motivated by guilt? The wealthy have more money than those below the poverty line obviously and our human empathy makes us want to help. However, to what extent? We all take pride in our possesions and as Adam Sandler's character in Just Go With It said, " Rich people don't stay rich by giving it all away." Again I ask how much of the charity in the world is motivated by guilt?

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kganihanova's picture

Yes, excellent point. I was

Yes, excellent point. I was ruminating about this the other day and felt like a real cynic when I began to cackle about how much charity is driven by guilt. Like Cancer month, the way Vogue interprets it, is to run a spread about things one can buy to support breast cancer research. This is another example of consumerism dressed up as charity. It also, in a way, makes the customer feel better about buying a probably unneccesary item because of the justfication that "Well hell this is helping breast cancer research."

S. Yaeger's picture

This is an awesome question.

This is an awesome question.  Though I'm not sure if I can even hazard a guess about how much charity is actually motivated by guilt, one of the things that has always kind of bothered me is the self promotion aspect of charitable works by celebreties..  It seems like amny of those emails and news bites you mention are esentially us being told that celebrity a is better because they ahve donated.  Similarly, there seems to be a huge industry being built around consumerism dressed as charity.  This may be an unpopular opinion, but the best example I can come up with are Tom's  Shoes, because they are a consumer product that is instantly recognisable to anyone who is familiar with them. because they have distinct style, anyone who wears a pair gets to broadcast their charity to the world and, I guess, feel good about it.  This a bit of a rambling response, but what I am really saying is that I think that much of the charity that we see is seen to make us know that the giver has given, and maybe that is less than charitible.

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