“Making poverty history” is, of course, an appealing idea. A few years ago the United Nations had a similar idea, and, after studying the matter, realized that it was beyond their resources.

The causes of global poverty run deeper than you can reach with a few dollars from your own pocket. It’s rather like homelessness in the United States; giving every homeless person you see ten bucks isn’t going to change the economic conditions that made them homeless in the first place.

This is not an endorsement of stinginess or indifference, however. Even if you’re not going to make homelessness disappear with your ten dollars, your ten dollars will be appreciated.

The same is true of poverty on a global scale. It’s not my place or my intention to make up people’s consciences on such matters.

ID: 720
updated: 26 Jun 2005