Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

When did “Charity” get such a bad name?

with 4 comments

One of the things that we often talk about – and shake our heads about – is the discussion of how much foreign aid should be given to those less fortunate than ourselves.   Currently in Australia,  our overall aid budget will fall to 0.33 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), while our defense budget will rise to 2 per cent.   Hmmm….  that seems a bit unfairly skewed in our view.   For a more comprehensive discussion about our current aid vs. military spending, click here.

Millions of people around the world struggle to make ends meet;  yet rich countries like Australia continue to reduce the amount of money going to foreign aid.

Millions of people around the world struggle to make ends meet; yet rich countries like Australia continue to reduce the amount of money going to foreign aid.

The bottom half of the world’s people survive on barely 1 per cent of the world’s wealth; the top 10 per cent hold 86 per cent of all assets.  And somehow, we are supposed to reconcile that sobering statistic with a reduction in foreign aid?   Wow.   Makes no sense, does it?!  But these kind of thoughts are sadly, alive and well out there.   Even in social media, we occasionally see such narrow minded, mean spirited thinking in posts that people we know (in fact, coming from people that we may even be related to!).   Sad, but true.   How best to combat such thinking?

Well, as with most things, there are no easy answers.   But one thing we have observed during our time on this planet, is that sitting with, sharing, and experiencing life with someone less fortunate than ourselves, is an eye opening experience.   And doing this in a country that isn’t as wealthy as our own, is even more eye opening.  We live such a privileged, day to day existence, that it is sometimes hard to fathom how tough it is in the rest of the world.   So travel is a great way to expand our world view, our compassion, and our belief system.

And for Mar(k), one of the ways we try to help is to simply post little things like this blog, simply to get a few more people thinking about what they do, why they think the way they do, and maybe one little thing that THEY could do to make the world a more equitable place for all.   Would love to hear what you are doing!

Thanks for staying with us.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/the-lucky-country-try-selfish-and-deluded-too-20131103-2wula.html#ixzz2jf6gi6sB
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Written by Mar(k)

November 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Too right Mar(k)…I partic relate to your comment “sitting with, sharing, and experiencing life with someone less fortunate than ourselves, is an eye opening experience”. Id add an enriching one as well. But Im sorry to say there are far fewer votes in increasing foreign aid than “border protection”…for example.

    Ron Ogden

    November 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

    • Thanks for your comment, Ron. And yes, we certainly agree – that “activity” is indeed an enriching one. It is good to look beyond ourselves. But sadly, the border protection vote winner seems to be in use way too much. For both major political parties, it truly is a race to the bottom. Just today Mark was visiting the detention centre at Yongah Hill. One of his first comments on arriving back home was how “jail like” it felt and looked. High fences, etc… border protection indeed. What a sad state of affairs. The government may think that by keeping a lid on “new arrivals” that people will forget, but we won’t. We just can’t. How can we as humans ignore these others who have risked their lives?? But it is good to keep the discussion going, because it is only by keeping our minds open, that we can all grow.

      Mar(k)

      November 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  2. I’m not arguing with your principle that there is plenty of room for improvement and that we should all be more charitable and generous towards our neighbours, but I do think that there is something in the adage that “charity begins at home” and that the new Ozzie government may be trying to get their own house in order as a priority. Maybe I am being TOO generous in that thought!
    I also think there are also concerns about how effectively foreign aid is actually distributed and used in some governments. Foreign governments don’t all have the same quality of governance as Australia and Australia is far from perfect.
    I believe there has been research in the past about how effective is foreign aid and needless to say, probably not as good as one would have hoped for.

    peter

    November 5, 2013 at 10:19 am

    • Thanks for the response, Peter! Indeed, in all areas of public spending, in all places in the world, there is always (and always will be) room for improvement. But it shouldn’t stop us from trying. In the same way that a farmer perseveres, even though she may know the risks of drought, floods or pests, it shouldn’t stop anyone from trying! And we would suggest that a country as rich as Australia has enough to both get their “own house in order”, as well as helping others to build theirs. We would direct you to the link contained in our post, for an enlightening read, if you haven’t already done so! Thanks for contributing your thoughts on this important topic.

      Mar(k)

      November 5, 2013 at 9:15 pm


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