Disregarding the incentive to donate to charity for tax deductions, is there any statistical proof that when the economy goes up and people are making more money, voluntary donations to charity tend to rise? Someone told me that the condition of the economy is inversely proportional to the amount of money donated to charity. According to him, when the economy goes up, donations go down. Let it be clear: I'm not talking about altruism--it has nothing to do with this question. The argument is supposed to support capitalism in the sense that when people tend to be economically well-off, they tend to be more willing to help others by being more charitable. Hence we should let everyone keep the fruits of their own labor.
asked Jan 16 '13 at 11:53
... when people tend to be economically well-off, they tend to be more willing to help others by being more charitable. Hence we should let everyone keep the fruits of their own labor.
In other words, charity is totally good and pure, and capitalism fosters charity; therefore, capitalism is good. But why should "willingness to help others" be the test (or an essential part of the test) of capitalism's moral standing? What is the purpose of morality? Why does man need it? If fostering charity is the purpose, then what should be done with "recalcitrants" who resist? Why should they be allowed to exist without doing their "duty"? What will be left of capitalism when charity becomes the criterion of moral worth, to be imposed on everyone who has the ability to produce? The clash of principles will be overwhelming, and one or the other will need to give way.
Besides, those who treat "willingness to help others" as a cardinal virtue don't accept the view that full capitalism is the only path to prosperity. They imagine that prosperity can be achieved by "collective will" and everyone "helping out" together unselfishly (or by being "blessed" by a "Creator" in the sky). A metaphysical outlook of that kind lies at the root of treating "willingness to help others" as a cardinal virtue. Capitalism cannot survive for long on such a metaphysical outlook. Capitalism demands adherence to reality and reason, along with all the corollaries of rationality. Charity is purely marginal and optional in the full context of what man's life qua man requires of him.
answered Jan 17 '13 at 15:02
Ideas for Life ♦