Charity is an act of giving that is often inspired by pure kindness or the good nature of a person. When the wealthy indulge in the business of helping the less fortunate, they are deemed philanthropists. On the other hand, there are plenty of wealthy individuals, who would never consider giving a cent to charity, unless of course, they needed a tax deduction. Individuals like Warren Buffet, demonstrate there is a need to understand the difference between an act of kindness and a social investment.
It is true that acts of charity, which are born from kindness, qualify as a form of social investments, but social investments are more than simple acts of kindness. Social investments are strategies designed to improve the overall quality of a society through the contributions of resources to projects that uplift the lowest socioeconomic classes in such a manner they raise the standing of all socioeconomic classes. Social investments do not necessarily require someone to be kind or feel a need to help others, but rather, they embrace the recognition that charity improves the quality of a society for those who are in need of charity and those who are able to contribute resources.
When people do charitable deeds, they do them for many reasons; this may include a belief that helping the less fortunate will help revitalize society, but the majority of people do kind things because they have a lifelong history that has trained them to feel good when they do good things. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who either do not see kindness as a proper justification for charitable works or recognize many charitable acts do little to resolve social issues. For these people, more concrete reasons, which go beyond the notion that charity is the right thing to do, are required to convince them charity is beneficial to a society as a whole.
For example, it would wonderful to believe government officials could simply spend billions and billions of taxpayer dollars on social programs, because it is the right thing to do; however, as there are overburdening needs for charity within our Nation and around the World, elected officials must provide reasons why a particular social program is worth funding. Government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) around the world support specific social works because leaders fundamentally believe such efforts will help strengthen social order and provide economic growth.
Meanwhile, there are governments and individuals, who do not see the value of social programs, therefore, by managing charity as a social investment, there are greater opportunities to recruit support for charitable efforts. On the other hand, demonstrating a social work is a social investment has difficulties as they often indirectly affect the sponsor, thereby, making it less likely that all people will understand the benefit. Furthermore, providing the poor and impoverished with funds or material goods only helps to sustain a culture of desperation with the slim hope that, in time, these people will be able to rise out of their circumstances; however, such success largely depends upon the regional economy. Moreover, in impoverished countries around the world, the goal of infusing new monies into the region is to jump-start the economy and provide basic services, but often these programs fall short and once the funds are used or misallocated through poor governance, conditions may worsen. Of course, this is true of almost any programs that only seek to sustain the poor without a strong focus on creating a viable economy.
Additionally, oppressive and corrupted governments tend to use their authority to develop the aspects of a nationally economy that they view to be beneficial. The outcome of such direction often results in gains for a privileged few and a lack of economic progress for the masses as well as a lack of social justice. Moreover, a lack of commitment in social efforts to end poverty results from distance as those, who have substantial assets, do not exist in the poverty culture, so they are less likely to view poverty as a day to day concern. Beyond this factor, those who would invest in ending poverty around the world do not see it as an investment opportunity, because the returns do not warrant the investment needed.
Investments involve the use of resources to spur continual development that aims to maintain the value of the resources while generating new value. The wealthy invest their money into the stock market, bonds, real estate, business partnerships, and other avenues that allow these individuals to maintain a level of value for their investments while the returns, minus any fees, liabilities, and the cost of inflation, can be spent. The rich make investments that provide an income and establish a lifestyle; whereas, the middleclass buy a lifestyle and the poor spend their money on necessities and trinkets. Truly understanding the idea and need for investment allows those who believe in charity and social programs to develop initiatives directed at building capital for lower income classes while attracting new contributors who are willing to back a true social investment.
Beyond investment, a change is needed in how the economy is directed as a refocusing of the world economy and domestic economies is required to eliminate the state of poverty and the economic class of the poor. There will always be low, middle, and upper income classes, but that does not mean there has to be a poor class. However, the difficulty with this goal is in creating an economy, which provides financial growth while maintaining a relatively low inflation rate, such that, the inflation rate stays far below the increase in the low economic class income. Moreover, to end poverty and poor socioeconomic classes, the economy needs to be composed of well paying economic opportunities with a relatively low inflation rates that depends upon diverse and inexpensive products and services that are accessible to everyone. Overall, this will require a shift in the economy as cheap labor cannot be used to produce high quality products and services at low costs. Frankly, this is quite a challenge as the majority of the world economy is not necessarily structured to do this.
On the other hand, there are examples of industries that are oriented to reach this very goal. Energy is a product that drives the world economy and the pricing of a broad range of goods and services. Although other energy sources have advantages over electricity, one day those differences will disappear. Furthermore, electricity is relatively cheap because it comes from diverse sources, which provide a variety of quality jobs, while uses for electricity are continually being invented. As such, novel electricity production can create a variety of new jobs while further lowering the cost of energy and, since everybody uses electricity because there is a widespread infrastructure for distributing electricity, it is fully accessible to everyone. Efforts to refocus the economy will be difficult and will require very novel and ingenious products and services, but the challenge is necessary and will be very beneficial to society as a whole.
As the economy shifts its focus, due to the need to address environmental factors, a decrease in available petroleum, and political shifts, there will be opportunities to end poverty. Moreover, governments and NGO’s around the world need to invest in processes that allow for the elimination of destitution through refocusing of the world economy and the domestic economies to eliminate the poor income brackets. Unless charity is viewed as a social investment and is an actual investment, little can be done to end property.
Furthermore, although many programs exist to feed and care for the poor, investment strategies will help attract significant assets to end poverty as those assets will be far more effective in building financial assets for the poor and rich. Overall, it is socially beneficial to engage in charitable acts, such as feeding and housing the homeless, as it lowers crime and decreases disease while the treatment of the marginalized demonstrates the character of our culture; however, there is a far greater need for investments that generate the processes needed to end poverty and prevent people from becoming destitute.