How to help the poor

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-05-30 02:52

This is too good to waste. Adam Reed, in debating the Mother Teresa/Paris Hilton question had this to say on SOLO:

Fred - you write, "the point about Mother Teresa isn't that there is anything necessarily wrong with helping the poor. The point is that it is an extremely minor and trivial way to help them and elevating people such as her diminishes the much more profound impact of industrial development and the great men who make it possible."

Funny how even today, 900 years after Maimonides demonstrated that the best way to help a poor man is to fund a business that will give him a productive job, and with it the self-respect and independence that come from productive work, Christians still think that the best way is to build him a hospital to die in - without even analgesics to ease his pain - when he gets ill from one of the many diseases caused by staying poor.

Michael Dell employs 8600 people in India. Larry Ellison (Oracle) somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000. IBM 39,000. Together, that's around 60,000 workers; with their families, about a quarter million, who in the unlikely case they get sick (people with good jobs do not get sick anywhere as often as the really poor) can afford real medical care, including analgesics - instead of the unmedicated pain dealt to the poor in 'Mother' Teresa's hospital down the road.

So, if you really want to throw some money at poverty in India, invest in Dell Computer, in Oracle, in IBM. The people of India will grow richer, and you will too. Harmony of interests and all that.


LINKS: Ways of helping the poor - Adam Reed, SOLO
Cue Card Libertarianism - Harmony of Interests - Not PC

TAGS: Economics, Welfare, Politics

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I like the statement Ayn

Victor Pross's picture

I like the statement Ayn Rand gave during a Q&A from her last live lecture "sanction of the victim" where she quotes (long forgotten the person): "The best way to help the not to become one of them!"


Chris Cathcart's picture

There are businessmen employing people in India? This just strikes so many people as a bad thing at a gut level. Likely, it must be exploitation of Indian workers -- they're getting paid a pittance. But it's better for them than the alternatives. But it's still gotta be exploitation. After all, why are the businessmen there, and not over in the U.S. employing American workers? But wait. We should be good altruists here. The Indians are in greater need. They're poorer, so shouldn't they get the higher priority in assigning the jobs? That doesn't sound right, either. The problem is, these businessmen are doing what's best for themselves, what's best for making a profit for themselves.

That's the problem.

And that's the nature of altruism for ya.


Craig Ceely's picture

Who is Jack Welch, indeed. I like that. Makes the point very well that people don't always know what they're asserting.

If people's lives are not touched every day by General Electric and the corporations it owns, then what does touch them?

As for Mother T....ick.

That's true, and I think it

Penelope's picture

That's true, and I think it shows in a very clear way that altruism is really about helping others. It's about sacrificing yourself. When people say that Ayn Rand's description of altruism is a strawman, I always like to ask them: who is more moral? Mother Theresa or Jack Welch? Usually they ask me who Jack Welch is. But then I say Bill Gates and they get the point. Smiling

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