Force, Charity and Logic

April 6, 2011 · Posted in abundance ·  

Forced Charity Flow ChartSome people claim wealthy people must be forced to provide for the needy. Logic and evidence show that is false. Charity is always freely given, and that is often.

This flow chart shows both freely given charity and forced redistribution of wealth. Before we begin what is “needy”. A person is needy if they do not have the items to maintain their natural life. So far human technology is not capable of eternal life, regardless of the amount of physical wealth.

We are all needy at some point. When we are born we are not able to provide for ourselves what we need to continue our lives. So all of us were needy and had that need filled by someone else at some point in our lives. How did that process of being needy and someone deciding to give us what we need work?

Step 1, is the total wealth more than or equal to the total need? That means is there any extra to go around? If there isn’t any extra to go around it doesn’t matter, someone will die. It might be the needy or someone else who becomes needy by giving what they have to someone else. If there isn’t enough for everyone to live then someone dies. If possible we want to avoid that at all costs.

If there is extra there is a choice, is the wealth taken by force? If that happens there is now a new wealthy person. The person who took the wealth is now wealthy. Additionally, taking the wealth by force might reduce the wealth. Fighting to take something from someone who doesn’t want to give it requires some energy and frequently breaking things including killing someone. Just for argument sake we will assume there is also a way to forcibly take wealth from someone without spending any wealth in the process.

If taking the wealth by force reduced the wealth there is a possibility there is now not enough to go around. That is very common. Civil wars in particular leave many people in poverty and starving even if the nation was prosperous before the fighting.

Assuming taking the wealth by force does not reduce the wealth leaves us at the same point as if no force had been used. The original owner of the wealth or the new owner who took it by force decides to give the wealth to the needy or keep it. So it doesn’t matter if force was used or not. The life and death of the needy still depends on the free choice of the wealthy person.

The logic shows that charity is always freely given.

People who argue for using force says, “I’m afraid wealthy people won’t give to the needy. There is no guarantee.” That is absolutely correct. There is no guarantee. There isn’t any guarantee without force and there isn’t any guarantee with force.

As long as there is anyone who is needy, it is impossible to guarantee their needs will be provided. We’ve already shown that using force to redistribute wealth has the risk of decreasing the wealth and making the needy worse off. The solution to the problem of the needy is to create more wealth.

So the logic shows there are two ways to provide for the needy, freely given charity, and increased wealth. Does the evidence agree with the logic? Yes!

The nations with the largest number of needy people, the highest percentage of needy people, and the deepest need are those that are overall the poorest. The wealthiest nations have no truly needy people. There might be people with drastically less wealth than others but except for people willfully rejecting food or shelter there are no starving people in the industrialized nations.

The individuals of wealthy nations either have many opportunities to acquire their own wealth by trade, working the soil, or gifts. There are even people who call themselves Freegans who choose to live from things discarded by others and Freedans claim to live quite well. Freeganism is not to be confused with impoverished people struggling to subsist scrounging from dumps. It’s worth pointing out that one of the reasons there is so much for Freegans to pull out of dumpsters is because of government forced waste.

Wealthy nations also give amazing levels of charity. In the USA the amount of charitable giving $295 billion exceeds the amount of federal government tax funded welfare $254.2 billion.

Not only do people give to charities to help the needy, they also donate to fund projects they like. Contributions to make a movie about the making of the video game Minecraft raised $60,000 more than the $150,000 they requested.

Monetary giving isn’t the only form of charity. Millions of people donate food, and labor to organized charities and directly to individuals. This is over and beyond the monetary giving.

So we can see that the logic proves and the evidence confirms that charity is freely given.

3D Printer Brings Vision to the Poor

February 2, 2007 · Posted in abundance, economics, innovation, Intellectual Property, prediction, sharing ·  

The same week that I found all the articles on 3D printers I found an amazing example that could dramatically improve life for billions of people in developing countries who cannot access, nor afford, prescription glasses.

Last weekend I went to get a new optical prescription so I could buy new contacts. The technician used fully automatic devices to check me for glaucoma and calculated my prescription. I had experienced the glaucoma device but the prescription device was new to me. I instantly knew how it worked just from seeing it. The machine reflects a pattern off your eye then adjusts lenses in the device until the reflected pattern matches the original. Incredibly, quick easy and cheap!

My mind raced through all the potential innovations stemming from this device. I came up with a long list which I’ll get to in a moment. What I am more excited about is an extremely innovative application of this same technique. In 2002 a student at MIT used a similar technique as part of a system to make glasses for the poor. This was exactly what I had thought of. This innovation went from an idea in 2002 to commercial usable device in 2006. That is amazing.

One of the reasons the idea was developed in such a short time was the use of a 3D printer to create a prototype. But probably even more important was it solved a previously impossible problem and opened up a gigantic market. There are 1 billion people who need inexpensive glasses. Market for low cost glasses

There are two obstacles to providing eye glasses to people in developing countries. Read more