Friday, January 25, 2008


One of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity. -- Andrew Carnegie

No, Sir; to act from pure benevolence is not possible for finite beings. Human benevolence is mingled with vanity, interest, or some other motive.
Boswell: Life of Johnson

You cannot spend money in luxury without doing good to the poor. Nay, you do more good to them by spending it in luxury, than by giving it; for by spending it in luxury, you make them exert industry, whereas by giving it, you keep them idle. I own, indeed, there may be more virtue in giving it immediately in charity, than in spending it in luxury; though there may be a pride in that too. -- Boswell: Life of Johnson

The truth is, that luxury produces much good. Take the luxury of building in London. Does it not produce real advantage in the conveniency and elegance of accommodation, and this all from the exertion of industry? People will tell you, with a melancholy face, how many builders are in goal, not for building; for rents are not fallen. -- A man gives half a guinea for a dish of green peas. How much gardening does this occasion? how many labourers must the competition to have such things early in the market, keep in employment? You will hear it said, very gravely, 'Why was not the half-guinea, thus spent in luxury, given to the poor? To how many might it have afforded a good meal?' Alas! has it not gone to the industrious poor, whom it is better to support than the idle poor? You are much surer that you are doing good when you pay money to those who work, as the recompense of their labour, than when you give money merely in charity. -- Boswell: Life of Johnson

Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it. - John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (1839 &endash; 1937)


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