Poverty and the Charity Simulacra


“Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” – Nelson Mandela

One example out of many more, perfectly shows how mass media is a weapon of mass deception, the example is charity. Before talking about charity as a good act, I would like to talk about the reason why charity existed in the first place which is poverty. Poverty is ‘deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, and/or to obtain better employment to escape poverty’. Can anyone tell me how it is possible that we live in the 21st century in a world full of money, foods, goods, resources, inventions, etc… more than half of its human beings live in poverty? Does it make any sense? Well, it doesn’t to me. There is enough food on earth to feed all the people and there is enough money for every single person who lives on this planet. Why are there millionaires and billionaires on one hand and people starving to death on the other hand? It is because people in control, those who rule the world, capitalists, industrialists, illuminaties, whatever they are called, want poverty to exist. Then, they created charity to cover-up the unfair distribution of money and natural resources in the world. If those people who control the world think a bit about poor people and share a little percentage of what they own/their wealth, not a single human being on earth would be poor or starving. And in this specifically, the media plays a very significant role, in which it does nothing but spot the light on charity acts, especially those done by politicians, celebrities and other elites. They manipulate the mass by showing them how kind and generous those rich people are but they totally ignore the reason charity existed which is poverty i.e. they focus on the effect, totally ignoring the cause. Why do they do that? Pretty simple, in purpose of making the mass believe that poverty exists because that’s the way it is, life is unfair, and that those people i.e. people in power are doing their best to decrease poverty. In fact, this is NOT the case, there is nothing called ‘that’s the way it is’, if we go back in ages when there was no globalization, technology, etc… things were way different, way better.

Charity is a very high level of simulation – level expert – it’s not a simulation like Disney Land, something that’s not real at all but it’s more like a simulacra. In what terms? Charity as an action does exist; people do donate money and other things to people in need. BUT the whole concept or ideology of charity is the lie. I might sound subjective here but I personally believe that the world is full of resources, natural and manmade, that if divided on the whole world – not necessarily equally – no single human being would be starving to death or even poor, thus there wouldn’t exist what’s called Charity. Charity nowadays, with the help of mass media, is perceived as the top of humanity works. Companies, politicians, celebrities, etc… hire public relations’ practitioners or specialists to manage their charity events that are usually organized in a very persuasive and touching way that is always covered and edited by the media which in turn shows them to the public in order to make them think that those people are angels and social activists. And do they succeed in this manipulation? Through mass media; yes they do.

Zoe Rajh

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7 thoughts on “Poverty and the Charity Simulacra

  1. Very interesting and controversial blog Zoe! To a certain extent I do agree with you. I believe corporate charity is something blown out of proportion by the mass media, persuading the public to believe they’re empathetic about poverty and underprivileged communities. There is a newer initiative going on called Social Impact Bonds (SIB) where large companies/investors take the risk of investing in non-profit/social causes so the government is relieved of that risky investment in a time where public funds are scarce. If the program that was invested in succeeds and as a result government funds saved, the corporations/investors receive their social return on investment (SRI) from the federal government which means they get paid their principle plus an agreed upon interest. If successful, the implications are that the government would save money otherwise spent on solving these issues over many years. Now, although some of these investments are working, it is hard to believe that Wall Street banks, who are using SIB and profiting off a social investment, really have the best interest in mind for the public. PR stunt?? Maybe so, but as long as there is an increase in public value and sustainable communities, I’m ok with it.

  2. Zoe, super cool thought.
    I agree with you on pretty much everything. There is enough wealth in this world to raise people out of poverty and give education to those who have never really had access.
    BUT, exactly right. Those who have enough money to pull this world together never will. Why? because there is not profit in that. Where profit does not exist, there will be no aide.
    I wish things were different and there was more of a global family.
    BUT, that is also super depressing. I hope that someday, maybe through the internet, can come together and take steps together. There are cries of hunger everywhere.. Even the United States experiences high level of poverty and hunger. I just hope people wake up someday and try to put an end to poverty.
    Some people say that wars now are fought over oil, and that future wars will be over water. Being from Lebanon, what do you think?

  3. I read this as I was eating Thanksgiving left overs from last night.. My fridge is currently stocked full of food that could feed over 20 people right now and nothing is being done about it. What can individual people do to stop poverty? Is it even possible for one person to contribute to this problem and make a difference. It’s sad it really is, the media is a dangerous tool and to be honest I’ve never really thought of how it much it deceives a “good deed” and morphs it into a lie and it doesn’t surprise me which is even more sad.

  4. I personally grew up in one of the poorest towns in my state of Ohio. While conditions could have been worse, it was eye opening to see some of the ways the people around me were living. My family had always been considered working class, until my mother had to find a new job. We then realized just how hard it is. In this town, there were minimal jobs available.There were not many resources around that would permanently help.
    All over the world there are people striving everyday just to survive, with close to nothing. I agree with you, it is a shame. While I believe that some charities are benefiting the cause, I completely agree with most of the points that you have made.

  5. This is a very interestig perspective. I also agree with some of your points to an extent. I too think it’s ridiculous that some people in this world live with every material luxury at their fingertips, while others starve and have no access to clean water. That sort of global welath gap is astounding to me, and is something that I think every country should be working on. I also do think that those in power retain it by maintaining their financial superiority over the rest of society. Even in America, which is hailed as a model of democracy, money controls a great deal of our political proceedings. Basically, without money, it’s extremely difficult to successfully run for office or spread a message about a certain cause.
    However, I don’t think that all charity is bad or is some sort of stunt by the media. I think a lot of charities truly are initiated by someone’s desire to use their position in the world to better someone else’s. Of course money gets mixed up in all of this, and some corporations do want to broadcast their charitable actions, which is a natural response in a competitive, capitalistic society. I’m not saying that is good, but I also don’t think that is a mark of evil or dishonest intentions. If there is help going to people who need it, I’m for that.
    There is also an interesting theory proposed by some economists that rich countries like the USA dump too much money into charity without doing anything to solve the root of the problem. They argue that we should be putting more money toward education and self-sustainability, and that only contributing financially is actually doing more harm than good. I think that’s a interesting concept to consider!

  6. I think you have made several true and interesting points in your blog and I do agree to some extent. It saddens me to see that in the 21st century there is such a gap between socioeconomic statuses. It is a shame to see people on the opposing side of the spectrum.
    I do agree that some charities are blown out of the proportion by the media and utilized to promote an ulterior motive. However, not all charities are like this. Like Emma pointed out there are organizations that work to get to the root of the problem. Instead of giving money to countries to aid a certain problem, they give money that will endorse positive change. Some organizations create change in areas to help them being able to move forward on their own. For example, I am very involved with the organization Habitat for Humanity. This organization does not simply hand a home over to a family that is in need. The family that is being provided a home must work with volunteers to make their own home. When I worked with an individual Habitat chapter in Kentucky I was informed that families selected for a house must take a course that would educate them on high to be financially responsible. This organization provided education so that they family could become financially stable and remain that way.

  7. Oh, how I detest mass media. I agree with your statements, that Charity is invented, its a stand-in for alleviating poverty. Its a bandaid on a dam thats about to bust.
    One thing that really depresses me is that our youth are not taught to look critically at their people in power. If I would ask a child who rules the world, they might tell me, “God” or if they were a little more aware, they may say “Nobody– countries rule themselves.” But countries co-conspire, and they say all the richest of the rich know each other.
    I also hate how my high school government teacher emphasized the good in capitalism and the bad in socialism, totally brainwashing my peers. I remember having to write a paper about it.

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