Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Should We All Just Give Cash Directly to the Poor?

Should We All Just Give Cash Directly to the Poor?

[In case anyone's wondering, I'm trying to use the share button more to see how it works, because I have at least 20 stories in my backlog that haven't seen the light of day on the blog yet. Consider this an experiment.]

Now this story gets the left and right halves of my brain yelling at each other. It's about a charity that just transfers money to poor people. Talk about minimal administration. No buildings, no campaigns, no nothing except giving the poor money.

It cuts out corruption and intrusive bureaucratic structures, so the libertarian in me rejoices.

But it has no regulation or constraint for how it's too be used, so the teacher in me (who watches out for student cheating) is concerned.

But it is simple and uses the freely available technology (cell phones) well, so the tech-efficiency side of me rejoices.

But there are so many poor people that I have to wonder about unfair distribution or spreading it out so much that it's too small to do any good, like that $8 class action settlement check I got a week ago, so the financial side of me is concerned. How does this work without relationship?

Bottom line, however, is when I turn to what Jesus and the prophets say about giving, they don't seem to be worried about how, they just say do it, give. This is the most straight-forward fulfillment of that command that I've seen short of a hand-to-hand transfer.

And that's the question: is this good enough or not good, because there is no relationship whatsoever? How much of a relationship is there when one of the disciples would give to one of the beggars at the gate of the temple, after all?

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