Some time ago I lived in a shared flat(appartment) and one of my flatmates used to go to church and one of his friends was an ernest born-again christian. He believed in walking his talk so one day he decided that it was his christian duty to tidy our (not his) communal kitchen. He was not thanked because for days we could not find our stuff. Within a week the kitchen was as untidy as before.
On a radio interview I remember Eartha Kitt talking about her experiences of giving charity. She came from a poor background and naturally wanted to help those she knew from her younger years. However, she found that giving them presents seemed to create a resentment. They were jealous of her success and getting gifts just seemed to make it worse.
I have lived many years in Africa and one of the features of much of it is that it is the recipient of vast amounts of international aid. Unfortunately too much goes to waste. For instance a donation of tractors might be given to an area so that local farmers can grow more food. The trouble is that those farmers are not also taught enough about the mechanics of their tractors to use and maintain them properly. They are soon broken and left to rust.
Wallace Wattles wrote a book well worth reading called Science of Getting Rich. In it he is extremely critical of charity and explains how it is often used as a cover for the donor trying to control the people who receive their donations.
So what is the best way to help other people? Wattles says it is to lead by setting a good example, which he happens to claim involves getting rich. This is a form of education.
Learning from other people is a vital part of progress. People who have travelled and have carefully observed a wide range of cultures have a very valuable wisdom. There is a very encouraging trend of promoting mentorship, because working with high achievers is about the best way known to create new high achievers. The trouble is that most people in the world are far too poor to travel, buy books, or even take time from scratching a living to learn to read.
The fact that so many people are starving and helpless is the most appauling reflection on the wealthy cultures of the world. I think this situation has arisen because those wealthy cultures have not had a robust belief system that forms a foundation for their actions. That is why even though I am primarily a research engineer I have devoted so much of this site to philosophical essays. We can create that moral foundation and that will allow us to deliver the right aid to the poor parts of the world.
The primary thrust of that aid has to be education. The dominant topic needs to be the importance of honesty.
The best education tool we have today is the computer. Computers require electricity and that is just not available in most places. An excellent way we have for delivering electricity to remote places is wind turbines. I have ideas for building improved turbines. My ambition is to help get wind energy into deprived areas but I have to keep the exact details quiet for now because they need to be patented first. Without the protection the vision can be polluted. It is not that any one person would want to spoil the vision but the system we work in today creates an environment where certain protective measures have to be taken.
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