In a recent post, Seth Godin underlines the lack of common sense behind charity galas:
“…the gala is actually corrupting. Attendees are usually driven by social and selfish motivations to attend, and thus the philanthropic element of giving–just to give–is removed.”
Charity bashes may be fun for the attendees, and they may in certain cases be the only way to get some people to make donations. It also feeds into the support industries of event management and fashion. However, as Seth points out, they are a highly inefficient way of donating.
But what if donating is not about being good? What if it’s actually an intelligent way of making sure our system/community yields its maximum? What if it’s a way for everyone to become richer?
From a scientific point of view, we can see it as the most intelligent way of governing the flow of wealth. We are all interconnected. In any system, too much divergence among the elements making up the system creates turbulence. Too much turbulence breaks the links among the elements of the system. The huge gap between the have and have-nots of any society creates social turbulence. This is in no one’s interest. Interdependencies exist, and no matter how wealthy a person is, they cannot extricate themselves from those interdependencies.
The experience of only taking from society in order to create personal wealth is thermodynamically impossible. You cannot create wealth from nothing, although the speculators of Wall Street are convinced of the opposite. Eventually, the entire system is impoverished.
Donating, instead, scientifically defuses the lose-lose negativity of the winner-takes-all mentality. Not only that, by enriching the entire system, we guarantee an ever larger market for the goods and services we create that make us wealthy in the first place.
But the most effective form of donation cannot be the result of a whim or a surge of emotion, guilt or vanity inspired by images or one-off events. In order to really work it needs to be structured and continuous. Tithing of income for those who have more than their basic needs is one way to achieve this.
Circuses are optional, but donating consistently is a pathway to intelligent wealth and well-being.