Charity: Which fosters greater charity?
- Capitalism has a systemic bias against helping others. Since third parties are externalised from prices in capitalism, it is economically inefficient to consider the effects that something has on others. And since this exclusion of third parties leads to the overpricing of positive externalities and the underpricing of negative externalities, it is cheaper to exploit someone than it is to be fair towards them (see the section on market prices for more detail). This is compounded by the selfish pursuit of profit that capitalism encourages (see the section on individual desires for more detail) . These combine together to mean that it is economically inefficient in capitalism to consider others and so charity and solidarity is punished, whereas anti-social behaviour is rewarded with profits. A perfect example of this is fair-trade: since workers are treated equitably in fair trade products, they become more expensive (the overpricing of positive social costs) and are thus rare and often unaffordable except for the well-off.
- Socialism provides motivation of aiding fellow man. The impulse to share wealth and material amongst the community, to support all, leaving none behind, is one of the purest among humankind. Socialism harnesses this impulse effectively, whereas capitalism tends to squash it in favor of individualism and competition.
- Charity is not meaningful in a capitalist system. Charity is invalidated in capitalism because if you steal a million pounds from someone and then give them a pound of charity because they are starving then that is not increasing their living standards.
- Capitalism fosters, does not prevent, charity. There are lot of rich people in capitalist society who provide grants for charity funds, student fellowships etc. After all, anybody in a capitalistic society can take some of his own money or goods today, out of his/her free will, and go and give them to other (poorer) people, if he or she feels it’s the right thing to do. Capitalism doesn’t prevent that; nor does it prevent you from keeping your earned goods/money if you want to. Some examples of rich people who donated to charity are Bill Gates, Oprah, and others. On the other hand, socialism actively and rather aggressively restricts the amount of riches one can have. So, out of the two, capitalism clearly offers more choice.
- There is less charity in a socialist society. Every resource considered by the majority to be either necessary or highly desirable is supplied through government. Government acquires these resources via taxation. Taxation does not require consent. Therefore, the resources used and provided to members of a society are not obtained through voluntary giving, which is the definition of charity. Since the majority in a socialist society believes that everyone has access to all necessary and highly desirable resources, then they have little motivation to sacrifice their personal resources to benefit another member of that society. They believe that it is not their responsibility to help others, rather, responsibility exists within government.