Tag Archives: Charity

The Darker Side of Charity

Is charity a killer in disguise? Here we look at this question, without emotion, from a perspective of mathematics and cause and effects relationships.

Let’s go back fifty-five years. One day, while watching television, we see a clip of several poor, sad, and hungry children that will soon die. Maybe a disease is involved. The scenes on television tug at our hearts and we cannot help feeling empathy since we perceive ourselves as warm and caring human beings.

In the next 20 seconds, we see more images of starvation, disease, war, dictatorship, perhaps even hear references to human trafficking.

We and thousands of others are compelled to help. We send money for food, clothing, and medicine or shelter to the sponsors of the advertisement. All seems well and we feel better. Many sign up to donate monthly.

Soon these children grow to adulthood. Based on world population figures, each child in a poorer nation has four to seven children of its own.

The wars the starvation, the disease, and the human trafficking continue. Many of the newborn children die sad and horrible deaths. Those who survive produce more children. The donations keep coming.

IIf each person in a poor country, with no birth control, has 5 to 7 children and we say only 4 live, here is a quick chart of the population increase over the years with only 4 children surviving from each parent.

Cycle 1 = 10,000 times 4 = 40,000 surviving births
Cycle 2 = 40,000 times 4 = 160,000
Cycle 3 = 160,000 times 4 = 640,000 surviving new births
Cycle 4 = 640,000 times 4 = 2,560,000
Cycle 5 = 2,560,000 times 4 = 10,240,000 surviving births

Now let’s consider that for every 4 children that survive only one will die. Keep in mind we started with only 10,000. Please remember that the real the death rate is higher. It is closer to double or even more than the numbers used in this example.

Cycle 1 = 10,000 deaths… Total cumulative deaths so far = 10,000
Cycle 2 = 40,000 deaths… Total cumulative deaths so far = 50,000
Cycle 3 = 160,000 deaths Total cumulative deaths so far = 210,000
Cycle 4 = 640,000 deaths… Total cumulative deaths so far = 850,000
Cycle 5 = 2,560,000 deaths… Total cumulative deaths so far = 3,410,000

The death numbers have now increased exponentially.

Instead of several thousand children starving and dying, now over three million people starve on cycle 5. There are now 30 times more people dying per year than were originally saved.

Every few decades there is a severe global economic downturn. The charity donations drop and people become restless. Studies show that wars break out during these economic downturns. Populations become slain by the hundreds of thousands. People die horrible and cruel deaths. The food shortages from the political strife kill even more.

The horrible truth is that for each person saved, hundreds, even thousands, more suffer and die.

So the huge theoretical question is – Would it have been kinder and more benevolent to have left the few thousand alone to starve, then to create millions and millions, that will now starve instead?

That indeed is a sick question, but the world we live in enables it. It also gives rise to many other questions.

What is real kindness? Is this true compassion? Have our good intentions helped or have they increased suffering? What are the true mathematical cause and effect consequences of our good intentions, our charity, and our compassion?

Currently, over 7,000,000 people  die of starvation annually. In the year 2011, one child died every 10 seconds. Clearly, our current approach is not the best solution. The most important questions follow. Is there a better, yet sustainable solution? If so, what is it? Who is preventing it? Why? Is our world capable of agreeing long enough to carry it out?


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