Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Charity in a globalizing world

How can I preach minimalism when 80 percent of the world's population (as of January 2013) live on less than 10 dollars a day?

How can I pretend to contribute when I personally haven't lend a hand with fighting poverty yet?

These are serious questions and I know that there is something to them. Concerning the first one, I find that global poverty is rather an argument in favor of minimalism. Of course, someone who struggles to put food on his family's table won't see the point in it. But I am addressing the people who build, support and maintain structures that force these families into struggle for existence. It is you and me. Helping refugees in your town (addressing the second question) but buying clothes at stores that produce abroad is not only contradictory. In sum it means that you are part of a system that exploits poor countries.

I need to gain a clear attitude about charity service. Although I still think that destroying the exploitative structures is the most important issue, I agree that suffering cannot be brought to an end without helping each other firsthand.

Nevertheless we need to stop companies such as Monsanto from destroying local industries in less developed countries. And be assured that donating to an aid program doesn't do the job - it sometimes even adds to the problem. Moreover, before trying to fight enemies, one should stop to support them financially. Don't buy products of unethical companies (that is to say almost any company). A lot of problems in Africa for example would not exist if it wasn't for western companies "exploring" new markets and thereby leading them into dependence. Here minimalism comes into play, as it demonstrates how relinquishment is not only self-sacrifice for a higher purpose, but also raises one's own quality of life.

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