15 April 2012

money is an illusion

The new philanthropists are a rare breed, really they are, not like in the olden days, when condescending rich men (and a few women) built libraries or set up universities or model villages to spread their idea of what's proper, keeping purgatory at bay at the same time.

I just listened to some of the new ones being interviewed, the earnest art collector who buys up department stores to enforce his own labour laws (if you want to compete with China you must work like the Chinese), the IT wizzard who believes in team work problem solving and frustrated with the way this generally is not done just started his own institute, the French noble woman supporting fair trade cocoa growers in Central America so that she can eat chocolate truffles with a good conscience in her gilded salon, the ship owner who believes in educating African villages in his own schools.
How twee, how ever so. How simple and "good".

And then there are these three: the billionaire who eventually realised that he and his entire family will never be able to spend even a fraction of his ever growing wealth in their lifetimes (and maybe that cost him a couple of bad nights with no sleep) and the shiny couple of do-gooders. They are so good, they glow, they decided to pledge half of their wealth to help the poor and make-the-world-a-better-place. Boy scout honours pledge. And so they set up elaborate programs to feed the poor in India and Africa, to vaccinate their undernourished children, to find cures for water borne diseases, etc. with a bit of their money. We can see glossy spreads in the thick and important magazines of how they fly out to the poor unfortunate continents in their private jets to mingle briefly with their victims, all shiny faces, surrounded by nurses or singing school kids, while all this is financed by their wealth which continues to grow and is created, inter alia, by this and this.

And here we have spring and clear nights and the birds are soo loud and active, my cat doesn't know what hits her when I open the door to the wild outdoors for her.
Mustn't be so mad, I tell myself.
Persistence, gentleness and a view of the whole picture as someone said recently.

1 comment:

beth coyote said...

The midwife I just met from Sierra Leone is working within her country for self-determination. She had nothing good to say about charity or NGOs nor the multinationals who take whatever is valuable and leave the country raped and poor.

Yet Spring finds her way to gladden our hearts and give us courage to hold all of it.