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Al Coholic
04-14-2009, 09:17 AM
We've all seen the commercials on television where we can sponser a child for pennies a day. Many of you may know that you can buy malaria nets for what, a dollar? The day to day worries of my life seem irrelevent when compared to a family that can't even find clean water. Considering everything I already have, and the oppurtunitys that are available to me, it seems selfish, even asinine that I wouldn't give something. And this line of thinking has curbed my expenses on non-essentials almost to a halt.

Have you ever spent a hundred bucks or so shopping and thought, "I could've fed a family for weeks." Then I see some tricked out ride and think those $6,000 rims could have done a lot of good in this world. I see a guy on tv with a 3 million dollar chain around his neck and I can't help but think he's a completely asinine douchebag. Who knows how many lives that guy could've saved, and instead he's got some shiny shit around his neck. Is it wrong for our culture to focus so much on ridiculous luxury expenses? Do you feel bad sometimes when you spend money on bullshit?

rise_and_fall
04-14-2009, 09:25 AM
try not to think next time. I'm sure this subject has been touched on by several other people all over the world

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/religion/post/2009/04/64938229/1

Al Coholic
04-14-2009, 09:28 AM
Regardless of what I do, there still seems to be a cultural emphasis on spending ridiculous cash on ridiculous things, and there's a missing emphasis on not being that selfish. It seems immoral.

rise_and_fall
04-14-2009, 09:34 AM
Regardless of what I do, there still seems to be a cultural emphasis on spending ridiculous cash on ridiculous things, and there's a missing emphasis on not being that selfish. It seems immoral.

Well its a bit hard to stop a cultural tendency as poeple will want to conform, and to conform brings a sense of belonging, belonging is important to poeple's sense of identity, and in order to belong through this conformity people will do ridiculous things. The problem is with the source of the culture, aka hip-hop motherfuckers. On what do you base your morals?

Al Coholic
04-14-2009, 09:48 AM
I'm not sure what you're asking. In a purely utilitarian sense "hip-hop motherfuckers" would be morally appauling (ofcourse there are others that spend out the ass on luxuries), which is what I based that critic on. But what do you mean what I base my morality on? It seems too general a notion to be what you're really asking.

rise_and_fall
04-14-2009, 09:51 AM
I'm not sure what you're asking. In a purely utilitarian sense "hip-hop motherfuckers" would be morally appauling (ofcourse there are others that spend out the ass on luxuries), which is what I based that critic on. But what do you mean what I base my morality on? It seems too general a notion to be what you're really asking.

Well I'm asking what how you judge what is right and wrong?

Al Coholic
04-14-2009, 10:00 AM
I don't know if that's something I can accurately put into a post. Or words for that matter. I think about its utilitarian function. Ofcourse, if everyone were purely utilitarian we'd all drop what we were doing at this moment and go volunteer somewhere. There are some virtues and values that were instilled in me as a child. I try to observe these objectively, and remove as much cultural bias as is possible for a conciously culturally biased person. Being proud but humble was an example of something I was taught as morrally good, and being flashy and wasteful something I was taught was morally bad. Morals are usually not something I have to think about though. As I think is true with most people, you sort of just know what you feel is morally right or wrong without thinking much what is behind it.

You tell me what you base yours on, and maybe I can give you a better answer.

ad8
04-14-2009, 10:00 AM
I try not to buy things that I don't need, but I don't think I can really solve the problems of the world by giving money to certain organisations.

rise_and_fall
04-14-2009, 10:03 AM
Some problems can only be solved by those who are in the situation, sure we can help, but ultimately if they don't want to change then they won't

randman21
04-14-2009, 10:06 AM
I don't typically have that exact thought. I usually think more along the lines of "you could have at least used that 6,000 bucks for food for yourself, or bills or something." And not to be holier than thou, but I don't spend very much money on impractical stuff, so I don't feel guilt there, but I do sometimes feel bad for not contributing more to good causes.

Al Coholic
04-14-2009, 10:09 AM
And not to be holier than thou

Yeah, I the people that give to charity and brag are awful. I don't bring it up to people what I've given, it just applied to this thought.

Little_Miss_1565
04-14-2009, 10:50 AM
This book (http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Aid-Working-Better-Africa/dp/0374139563/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239727690&sr=8-1) asserts that the current aid-based model of helping Africa out of poverty is more of a problem than it is a help. Basically, giving money to the starving orphans never gets to the starving orphans because it's siphoned off by corrupt governments.

If you want to help, microfinance seems to be a good way to reach those in need directly. I barely survive in modest comfort on my own, and there are certain luxuries I can't live without because I'm also a chronically ill cripple. If you shoulder too much of the world's burden, you're going to miss out on a lot of enjoyment on the only life you really get a say in how it turns out.

wheelchairman
04-14-2009, 10:57 AM
This book (http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Aid-Working-Better-Africa/dp/0374139563/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239727690&sr=8-1) asserts that the current aid-based model of helping Africa out of poverty is more of a problem than it is a help. Basically, giving money to the starving orphans never gets to the starving orphans because it's siphoned off by corrupt governments.

If you want to help, microfinance seems to be a good way to reach those in need directly. I barely survive in modest comfort on my own, and there are certain luxuries I can't live without because I'm also a chronically ill cripple. If you shoulder too much of the world's burden, you're going to miss out on a lot of enjoyment on the only life you really get a say in how it turns out.

Well way to add a second paragraph. Anyways I agree, the aid organisations siphon off money, the corrupt governments certainly do. And the poverty is also structural in a way. Throwing money at it won't really be the solution. The problems of Africa are so interconnected and diverse that it's difficult to even really think of a solution. This is why Africa has so much AIDS. I mean aid.

So in conclusion I don't feel guilty about not giving to charity. What I will never understand is why people chose to be tourists in nations where everyone is probably poorer than them. That kind of thing makes me feel guilty.

T-6005
04-14-2009, 11:13 AM
Because expensive things taste better.

wheelchairman
04-14-2009, 11:23 AM
It's also a rather lame opinion, since tourism is a good revenue for many economies.

SweetTatyana
04-14-2009, 12:49 PM
Yeah its not only about the suffering and starvation in Africa as well as in our own neighbourhoods. United Way, Salvation Army, Cancer Society, WWF, etc., all very worthy charities that our wages could assist in doing great work. But I do feel that although we can afford basic necessities, we do have more pressure put on us to spend more. Its not enough to be clean and fed in our society and much of our happiness is derived from social interaction which requires money to maintain.
Anyway, I think if anyone needs to go out and spend $3 million on a necklace and be excessively flashly you can chalk that up to tremendous insecurity so to them that might also be a needed item.

Static_Martyr
04-14-2009, 03:04 PM
I don't think there's anything really wrong with thinking about excess; in fact, I wish people would think more about the excesses of their lifestyle. Beginning the laborious process of becoming financially independent (not there yet, still a ways to go :() has been a HUGE reality check for me and my spending ways....but although I do think more about what I spend my money on now, I can't say I really feel "guilty" for having things that others don't or can't afford. I think of it like this:

-) On the one hand, it's natural to want to help people as much as we can, and so if we walk into a situation that radically changes our perspective --- even for a moment --- it can make us look at ourselves harshly. Speaking only for myself, of course, I think this is most apparent when I realize my limits --- i.e. if I complain about how much I have to do at a certain job, only to realize that a co-worker (or perhaps a superior) has been doing three times that without saying a thing, I'll probably bite my tongue and wish I hadn't spoken out about that.

tl;dr version: sometimes we take shit for granted, and sometimes it hurts to realize that.

-) On the other hand....I can't say that I want to completely sacrifice what enjoyment I can derive out of my life and my fortune (or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it) for the sake of reaching out infinitesimally to many others; I mean, I help where I can --- if I'm heading into the store and I see a guy waving a bell with a charity bucket, it's never a problem to toss whatever loose change or singles I have in my pocket, because I just rationalize that it would've gone to something dumb eventually, anyway, and so giving it up will help me keep my priorities straight --- but as someone else said (about their whole salary going in a week just from guys on the subway, IIRC), it's simply not practical to help everybody. You'd run out of money and starve to death before you even put a dent in the global poverty well.

tl;dr version: As one of my favorite game characters once said, "If [you] die, who's going to help those people then?"