Sunday, March 21, 2010

Poverty and Philantropy

Wealth and social status are evidently the determining factors of whether one is to be successful our not in modern society. Those that have it relish and enjoy it-make the most of it by indulging themselves. Those that don’t are left to fend for themselves in a much more cruel and brutish environment.
In my opinion, I don’t think that those who have homes care at all about those that don’t. I feel as if every person out there, regardless of class, realizes that they reside in a dog eat dog world where, oftentimes, selfishness is more highly rewarded than loyalty and compassion. I feel as if people realize that they need to do what is best for themselves first, before they do anything else.
Philanthropy is merely a concept invented by the fortunate and used as a tool to boost self-image. You will, most likely, never see a homeless person give to another homeless person. This is because (like I said earlier) everyone cares about themselves more than they care about others. The homeless person cannot afford to give to the other homeless person so he doesn’t. And yet those that can afford to give do so only as a means of giving themselves the illusion that they care for others. Often times, it seems as if they give only to somehow make up for their past wrongs. The bottom line is no one likes to see their money go. No matter how sincere they may seem when they tell you they actually like to give- they don’t. And in the end by giving they are really only seeking to boost their own image, and it works. That is largely why society upholds philanthropists. But they are no different from the greedy who, at least, are up front and honest about their intentions.
There will of course always be exceptions. Even I will concede that there are definitely people out their who genuinely like to give to others. They really do want to help make the world a better place for those who are less fortunate. Unfortunately though I can’t say I believe this group makes up the majority, for if they did then I doubt there would be as much pain and suffering as there is in our society today.
Ultimately, two wrongs don’t make a right. If one try to make amends for past mistakes by creating the illusion of selflessness only adds to the problem. The bottom line is however, that philanthropists give money to the poor which in turn makes the lives of the poor easier. This, regardless of their intentions, is a commendable feat in itself. Unfortunately however, in the end, it is all futile. The greedy far outnumber those who are wiling to give and in the end they will thwart any effort to make the world a better place and use it to better themselves. This is how the world works and it would take a truly massive feat to change it.


  1. MILKOV. May I start out by saying that I really enjoyed your journal entry. For one, it was entertaining and two, it was well-written. But now to the point. I agree with almost everything you have written about in this entry. On a day to day basis I would say that a fraction of a percent of people, if any at all, think about the homeless people in our world. This agrees with Alex's statement that people don't care about the homeless. It is a dog-eat-dog world and everyone strives to be on top, so why look down on all the beggars and homeless? I think a lot of people do solely give the poor only to boost their own self image and image to others. I know there are some genuine, dedicated philanthropists that really do enjoy giving to the poor and do it for the homeless, not for themselves, but they make up such a small percentage compared to the world population and are dominated by the average greedy human. Underneath the skin, all humans have a naturally greedy instinct; how do you think our species survived and evolved over millions of years? Overall, I agree that it will take an amazing feat to change this way of life and make true philanthropists out of the humans of our world.

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  4. I'm not going to lie, but the first sentence in your last paragraph, "Ultimately, two wrongs don’t make a right.", has absolutely nothing to do with your journal. I assume that the first wrong you are referring to is an individual's "past wrongs", but the other wrong that you are referring to is ambiguous at best. Regardless, I am only just pointing out minute flaws. Overall, I agree with your observations and conjectures. However, you should qualify some of your statements to refer to the majority instead of an absolute: everyone to mostly everyone or the majority of people. As for the content, I mostly agree. From reading your journal, I feel that you have a more pessimistic view on most people. I am not only referring to the exceptions that you mentioned; I do believe that there are a surprising number of individuals (1 out of every 20 people I estimate) that have enough compassion and empathy to donate a good portion of their money and free time. Walk for cures and other charity runs are still somewhat popular among middle class Americans. Obviously I am just guessing based on observation, and I might just be the one who is being optimistic.