April 20, 2009

Which of the poor deserve the most help?

Ina and I have gotten interested in the creation of sustainable solutions for impoverished people. We've become interested in micro-financing -- helping people get off their feet and help themselves with very tangible solutions that will help them to earn a living doing something that is requires skill but is not entirely foreign to them. Anyway, that's a topic for another day.

I recently had my eyes opened to something that may be controversial or maybe it's just the natural human thought process.

This entry could spawn several other interesting topics that I'll probably be too lazy to write, but I wanted to at least get this thought down. Just a note.. some of this is hypothetical and by no means do I mean this to offend anyone -- the purpose is purely for thought provocation.

The idea is that people are less willing to help poor people when they know there are even more poorer people out there. They might feel like a certain group of people don't deserve their help or support because there are poorer people out there who deserve it more. They tend to have less sympathy knowing there is much worse in the world.

Whether this means they will help those poorer people is not really an issue, for them it's just a matter of principle -- that this poor person doesn't need my help as much as that other much poorer person, so therefore I will not help this marginally poor person.

For example, someone who has witnessed poverty in India or Africa might have less compassion towards someone who lives in a garbage dump because hey, at least they have *some* form of food.

Or say a person has no sympathy towards people on welfare because at least they are getting free handouts from the government, whereas the people they saw in Nicaragua were eating garbage.

I could be wrong I think it says somewhere in the bible that everyone needs compassion.

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