December 13, 2013

Is it Correct to Give Alms?

Many people would probably ask if giving alms (money, food, and etc. given to poor) is correct. When you see a beggar on the side walk, would you give alms? Would you feel good when you give alms? Some would say that giving alms is not correct because it promotes laziness. Others would comment that it's okay because they have extra money and that they want to help.

How should economics look at giving alms is the main question. Giving alms is not bad because it helps the marginalized (the poor people) to survive in short term. Yet, giving alms cannot be considered as a developmental economic method. The short term benefit of giving alms is considerable, yet its long term positive effect is blurred.

When you give alms to a beggar, the person uses the money to buy food and water for the day. The next day, the person will ask for alms again so that he would have something to feed himself and his family. The scenario is a poverty cycle - there is no development.

Others would probably ask, so why give alms if it does not help the poor? It does help the poor in short term, yet, long term effect is not clear.

The right thing to do is that while the society is supporting the marginalized sector in short term by giving alms, the authorities should be able to provide long term solutions. By providing food, shelter, clothing, and livelihood projects at the same time, the poor will be able to uplift their lives again.

The authorities cannot just remove the beggars on the street without proper programs to help them; they will die if removed from the social circulation which is the source of alms. Another case that the authorities should also resolved are the syndicates who are using the marginalized children for profit.

Giving is correct as long as you have something to give.

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