June 23, 2008

Just a little bit stingy

We're tight-wads, for no obvious economic, political, sociological or moral reason:

"Internationally, the comparisons are stark. In 2005-6, Australia's ultra-rich (those with a personal taxable income of $1 million-plus) gave away 1.39% of their income. A recent World Wealth Report estimated the ultra-rich elsewhere were giving between 3% and 11% of taxable income. Those in the Asia-Pacific led the way, donating 11.8% of their total investment portfolios. Next came those in the Middle East (7.7%) and North America (7.6%).

Obviously, some wealthy Australians give extremely generously. But the Queensland findings matched anecdotal evidence. "Most charity collectors will tell you that they always do better when … doorknocking in those suburbs at the bottom of the socio-economic pile," David Thompson, the chairman of the Roundtable of Nonprofit Organisations, told ABC radio. "It's far tougher at the other end."

Brings to mind something that Camus said: "Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity".

What price a moral life?


  1. Yes, Caz, I've never been able to fathom why many people won't donate to charity.It's often the ones with the least who give the most.Perhaps because more than anyone they understand about hardship and having to go without.

    I really believe too, that some people just don't stop and think. Because poverty and suffering is something some only ever see on the tele, it is something far removed from their own lives.
    Unreal, almost.

    Another reason is greed, and materialism.Too many playthings to buy to divert one's attention from the suffering and pain that exists in this world.

    All I know is, there is no need for any child in this world to go without food or water, there is enough to go around.Yet millions of children in third world countries die from hunger every year.
    It's shameful!

  2. I have an awful suspicion that we are contrary, hypocritical and judgmental.

    The Oz tradition is for the gov't to help those in need, yet we condemn those who "bludge" off the tax payers.

    When the gov't withdraws or reduces assistance (in real terms), the private sector doesn't pick up the slack. Again, it seems to be a built in assumption that anyone needing help has bought their circumstances on themselves, or are quite deliberately avoiding being self supporting. Or that their "needs" don't elicit sympathy, eg, the homeless.

    Our rich are an especially thoughtless, selfish lot, I suspect.

    Mind you, the non-profit charitable sector has billions stashed away in assets. They too exercise an obscene hypocrisy and condemn those in need by judging instead of giving.