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(The Atlantic)   "One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income"   (theatlantic.com ) divider line
    More: Ironic, Oregon Health & Science University, Feeding America, United Way, Paul Allen, Phil Knight, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, child poverty, public charities  
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4171 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Mar 2013 at 6:35 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-22 01:43:31 AM  
I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.
 
2013-03-22 02:18:05 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.


Either that or, the rich became rich by being selfish assholes who would gladly screw the poor as long as they became richer.
 
2013-03-22 03:10:40 AM  
This is one of those phenomenons that wealthy conservatives routinely attempt to (unsuccessfully) debunk.
 
2013-03-22 04:54:10 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.


I don't think it's to garner a reputation for kindness.  I think it's empathy.  I overtip not because I want a reputation as a big tipper but because at one point in my life the amount of money I received in tips was a big deal.  Poor people know they are one turned ankle or car breakdown away from being on the other side of the charity equation.  The wealthy don't have that problem.
 
2013-03-22 06:15:31 AM  

relaxitsjustme: BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.

I don't think it's to garner a reputation for kindness.  I think it's empathy.  I overtip not because I want a reputation as a big tipper but because at one point in my life the amount of money I received in tips was a big deal.  Poor people know they are one turned ankle or car breakdown away from being on the other side of the charity equation.  The wealthy don't have that problem.


This.

On a side note - my mom delivered pizzas to pay for college. She said that the poorer customers tipped the most.

I noticed the same when I waitressed. I also noticed something else. The wealthier patrons thought their 5-10% was generous and that I should feel humbled by their generosity. The poorer patrons always apologized that they couldn't tip more.

It was like the poorer patrons felt bad about being served by one of their own while the wealthier patrons felt like this was a normal relationship and because they don't tip other servants - I should feel honored that they tipped me.

It was incredibly bizarre but I originated from a town in which there was a great financial divide unfairly spread across a population of 24,000 residents.
 
2013-03-22 06:19:38 AM  
If you have "street performers" where you live pay attention to the type of people tossing money into the hat.
 
2013-03-22 06:38:24 AM  
not surprised. was a valet at a way busy Italian restaurant in my youth. working stiffs with POS cars were the best tippers. wealthy people don't sweat for their cash.
 
2013-03-22 06:39:52 AM  
This is why wait staff tip better then others, right?
 
2013-03-22 06:40:52 AM  
How hard is this to get? Those closer to suffering are more willing to deal with some pain to help others. Those farther from it are less willing to suffer, end of story. Then again is a 1%-er giving up 150k really "suffering"? It's not.
 
2013-03-22 06:41:49 AM  
Ah, the old percentages rule.

Remember when people used to say: "Thanks"?
 
2013-03-22 06:43:56 AM  
It's kinda how things work in general. Most people work, a few people exploit the work of others. The people really good at exploiting get rich (employers, political leaders, religious leaders, etc...).

What's even weirder is the few often look DOWN on the people whose work makes them rich. Some even call them 'takers' (gop) and resent paying taxes to keep these working people safe and healthy.
 
2013-03-22 06:46:05 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.


Or it could be that we consider giving to a church "giving to charity".

I have yet to see a charity-related survey that breaks out religious tithing from donations to poor, education, SPCA, etc.  Until I do, surveys like this one and those that break down charitable giving by region are hopelessly broken.
 
2013-03-22 06:46:32 AM  
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."

Mark 12:41-44
 
2013-03-22 06:46:36 AM  
Yeah, you guys have pretty much nailed this one, Farkers.  Asshole rich don't give because they're greedy assholes devoid of compassion and empathy.  Non-asshole rich often aren't confronted by the needy very often, and may not understand the need to donate.  The fact that some non-assholes (Gates, Buffett, Rowling* etc.) donate a LOT of money to charity or even just paying their taxes properly shows that it's not impossible to be a good person and rich... just very difficult.

* going from welfare to one of the world's richest billionaires (in what, a decade?) makes her possibly history's greatest Horatio Alger story.  The mind boggles...
 
2013-03-22 06:47:35 AM  

sithon: BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.

Either that or, the rich became rich by being selfish assholes who would gladly screw the poor as long as they became richer.


I'm going with option "B"
 
2013-03-22 06:48:17 AM  

Bontesla: On a side note - my mom delivered pizzas to pay for college. She said that the poorer customers tipped the most.


When I delivered pizzas, the poor didn't tip for shiat.  The upper-middle class didn't tip particularly well either.  The closest I was to median income in the area, the better the tips.
 
2013-03-22 06:48:49 AM  
"Ironic"
"Surprising"
"Confounding"
i136.photobucket.com
 
2013-03-22 06:49:12 AM  

Babwa Wawa: BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.

Or it could be that we consider giving to a church "giving to charity".

I have yet to see a charity-related survey that breaks out religious tithing from donations to poor, education, SPCA, etc.  Until I do, surveys like this one and those that break down charitable giving by region are hopelessly broken.


Speaking of hopelessly broken

Charity Watch gave SPCA an "F" grade for money mismanagement.[1]

In 2012, a CNN investigation found that SPCA had raised almost $27 million but spent nearly all of that money on fundraising expenses paid to a direct mail company. Of the $14 million that SPCA raised in 2010, the organization spent only $60,000 in cash grants to animal shelters across the United States. CNN also accused SPCA of misrepresenting a program called "Baghdad Pups" on its tax filings and hiring an officer for that program with a questionable background
 
2013-03-22 06:51:50 AM  
To help someone suggests an understanding and kinship.  "I know, I've been there".  You don't help people you can't relate to which is why someone will donate to causes that parallel with political organization.  I would donate to the local AIDS nonprofit & methadone clinic, someone else  might donate to Focus on the Family.  I don't see where they're coming from and they won't see me.

If you truly won't give a damn, you'll donate the minimum your accountant forces you to do for tax purposes.
 
2013-03-22 06:52:21 AM  
Well yeah, people that actually have to struggle some in life can empathize.

Someone like shiatt RMoney will never, ever, be able to comprehend what it's like to choose between their kids prescription medication and paying the mortgage.
 
2013-03-22 06:52:51 AM  
Each takes care of its own. It's been that way since the dawn of time. That's why you give boxes of food to the food bank, and I have to let my old college friend's idiot kid be a vice president of something. We all have our burdens.
 
2013-03-22 06:54:03 AM  
AverageAmericanGuy:
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."

Mark 12:41-44


On the one hand, calling the wealthy out on their cheapness... on the other hand, setting a precedent for churches squeezing the poor of their last coppers for the next few millennia.  God dammit, Jesus, think ahead for once.
 
2013-03-22 06:55:27 AM  
What is a sociopath?
 
2013-03-22 06:55:42 AM  
It's not surprising at all... Some of the most generous people I know are either working poor or lower middle class.

I'm self-employed and most of my clients are fairly affluent business owners... The majority of them are very nice people, no doubt, but they are some stingy motherfarkers, who will nickel and dime you to death when they owe you money for services rendered.

I think they even did a study about this a while back... Don't have a link, but the researches parked a broken down car in several neighborhoods of various income levels and had a person stand outside the car trying to fix it. In most cases, it was in lower income neighborhoods that people offered help to the person, even inviting them into their homes to wait for a tow truck, while in more affluent neighborhoods, people tended to ignore the person and broken down car.

Anyone know the study I'm referring to? Is that accurate or am I completely off base?
 
2013-03-22 06:55:49 AM  
It's just another tax on the poor.  (this one we shame them into)
 
2013-03-22 06:56:10 AM  
Obvious tag must be on vacation.
 
2013-03-22 06:56:14 AM  

Babwa Wawa: Bontesla: On a side note - my mom delivered pizzas to pay for college. She said that the poorer customers tipped the most.

When I delivered pizzas, the poor didn't tip for shiat.  The upper-middle class didn't tip particularly well either.  The closest I was to median income in the area, the better the tips.


Well - like I said - I'm speculating that the odd layout of my hometown has something to do with it.

But it's odd that no one tipped you well. Were you just sh*tty?
 
2013-03-22 06:56:59 AM  
images.fineartamerica.com
 
2013-03-22 06:57:49 AM  
Barking Unicorn is right. I definitely give money because I want people to see how generous and kind I am. That's why I keep copies of all the checks I write and sew them into giant quilts that I give to poor families as Christmas gifts. It's my little way of saying 'see how many people I helped out, you better help me out if I'm ever in financial trouble.'

Or I'm just nice.
 
2013-03-22 06:59:32 AM  
I think it makes sense because, if you've ever been down and needed help, you know what it's like to need help.  As such, when you are in a position to actually give back yourself, you do it.

Case in point...
Before Hurricane Sandy destroyed the entire coast of NJ, we were in financial trouble ourselves.  Many people stepped up to help us.  Our situation has since improved a good bit.  But we were still struggling when the hurricane went through.  But we weren't as bad off as MANY others.  So we gathered everything from clothes to food and donated everything we could.  Hopefully someone out there really benefited from what we donated.

That is the idea.
 
2013-03-22 07:02:02 AM  
What I'm getting from this thread is that tipping counts as charity now.
 
2013-03-22 07:02:43 AM  

Yogimus: Ah, the old percentages rule.

Remember when people used to say: "Thanks"?


Remember 20 years ago when the minimum wage for wait staff was $2.13 and hr?
Guess what it is today.  Go on, guess.

Remember 30 years ago when it cost $15 for a doctors office visit, not $120.

Remember 25 years ago when CEOs made 100x what the employees made, not 100,000 times.

"Thanks" doesn't pay the bills.  Sorry if that doesn't make sense to your belief system but then again, math has never been a friend to people like you.
 
2013-03-22 07:02:54 AM  

durbnpoisn: I think it makes sense because, if you've ever been down and needed help, you know what it's like to need help.  As such, when you are in a position to actually give back yourself, you do it.

Case in point...
Before Hurricane Sandy destroyed the entire coast of NJ, we were in financial trouble ourselves.  Many people stepped up to help us.  Our situation has since improved a good bit.  But we were still struggling when the hurricane went through.  But we weren't as bad off as MANY others.  So we gathered everything from clothes to food and donated everything we could.  Hopefully someone out there really benefited from what we donated.

That is the idea.


I hope you didn't donate to the Red Cross, because those bastards use donations to fund their massive administrative costs (like paying the CEO over $650,000 a year).
 
2013-03-22 07:05:39 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.


Also, empathy.
 
2013-03-22 07:05:50 AM  
The part that stood out the most for me was where those donations were heading based on your income/wealth.  Basically, money doesn't trickle down even when it's given away.
 
2013-03-22 07:06:22 AM  
I'll go out on a limb and guess its both because poor people have less to give, and because they are closer to the "need".
A billionaire who has a mansion in a gated community doesn't walk past charity jars or poor folks on the street. He might give out a few hundred thousand dollars, but its a smaller percentage if his wealth than a poor person who drops ten bucks in every salvation army tin they pass.

I'm also going to suggest that using this data as an excuse to milk the rich via government might be a bad idea.  Government doesn't spend wisely and its corruption is part of why the rich are so rich to begin with. There's a cabal of powerful folks at the top of society who outsource the jobs and pen the money up in banks and stock markets. Its a brier patch that the wealthy and well connected love being tossed into.
What we need is to force that cash back out onto the streets, where it can pay workers, who then donate to charities.

It shouldn't be a sin to be wealthy any more than it is to be indigent.
What you don't want is people who hoard the wealth and outsource the opportunity.
 
2013-03-22 07:09:31 AM  

Dr. Manhattan: What I'm getting from this thread is that tipping counts as charity now.


You didn't know that?  You must be one of those rich assholes...
 
2013-03-22 07:09:40 AM  
Um... isn't that basic math subby? If a poor man with $10,000 donates $100, he donates 1% of his income. If a rich man with $1,000,000 donates $100, he only donated 0.01%. Even if he donated much more, he wouldn't reach that 1% level offered by the poor man until he gave ten thousand dollars. Any gift by a poor person is a substantial percentage of their income, especially when they live paycheck to paycheck!
 
2013-03-22 07:11:05 AM  
If poor people have so much money in America they are giving away loads more (as a percentage of their income) to charity than the rich, this tells us that rich people need more tax cuts so they have more money they could give to charity.
 
2013-03-22 07:11:09 AM  
Well, obviously. You don't think they got rich by being generous, do you?
 
2013-03-22 07:15:24 AM  

way south: I'll go out on a limb and guess its both because poor people have less to give, and because they are closer to the "need".
A billionaire who has a mansion in a gated community doesn't walk past charity jars or poor folks on the street. He might give out a few hundred thousand dollars, but its a smaller percentage if his wealth than a poor person who drops ten bucks in every salvation army tin they pass.

I'm also going to suggest that using this data as an excuse to milk the rich via government might be a bad idea.  Government doesn't spend wisely and its corruption is part of why the rich are so rich to begin with. There's a cabal of powerful folks at the top of society who outsource the jobs and pen the money up in banks and stock markets. Its a brier patch that the wealthy and well connected love being tossed into.
What we need is to force that cash back out onto the streets, where it can pay workers, who then donate to charities.

It shouldn't be a sin to be wealthy any more than it is to be indigent.
What you don't want is people who hoard the wealth and outsource the opportunity.


Yeah, well - if you look at overall tax burdens, and not just income taxes, the poor and middle class pay out a higher percentage of their wealth in taxes, too. The rich are getting a free ride in this country.
Everybody knows it, any weak , bullshiat lies to the contrary.
And if that's our value system - fine, I'm cool with it.
But it WILL destroy the economy, just like it did back in the thirties, because inequality of wealth eventually sinks ALL boats.
 
2013-03-22 07:15:38 AM  

BarkingUnicorn: I don't understand why people don't understand this.

Kindness, as Aristotle defined it, is "help given to another without any expectation of return from the one helped."  However, in a society the helper does get a return:  a reputation for being someone who is worthy of help, because he has helped.  That good will is a valuable asset (corporations even count it on balance sheets).

Affluent people need help from others less often than poor people do.  A reputation for kindness is more important to a poor person who needs help relatively often.  So it makes perfect sense that the poor are kinder than the affluent.  It's just a survival-enhancing behavior.


Aaaannnddd.... that's exactly the kind of emotionally detached, near psychopathic analysis one would expect. Turning charity into "conspicuous consumption" is an invention of the stupidly rich, not Joe the working guy. Joe the working guy takes one of his kids and drives over to the salvation army dumpster to drop off some clothes after work. Ted the trillionaire donantes 5 grand and his other rich buddies throw him a gala.

I expect Joe feels lucky to have what he's got, but Ted feels entitled because he "scratched his way up" from daddys trust fund.
 
2013-03-22 07:16:24 AM  

No Such Agency: AverageAmericanGuy:
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on."

Mark 12:41-44

On the one hand, calling the wealthy out on their cheapness... on the other hand, setting a precedent for churches squeezing the poor of their last coppers for the next few millennia.  God dammit, Jesus, think ahead for once.


But the whole point is that it isn't (or shouldn't be) squeezing.  That was the level she chose to give at.  Most likely not the first time, and there she was, not starved to death or dead from exposure.  I will say that older people tend to be more willing to give (at least at church), but in a sense, they know how to make it work.  I've known people who give at what I would call a "sacrificial" level.  They still covered all their needs, it was the "wants" that they gave up.  Again, this is a choice - made by people who have decided they don't need a shiny new toy this month.
 
2013-03-22 07:16:56 AM  

awalkingecho: Well, obviously. You don't think they got rich by being generous, do you?


Heh.. Reminds me of this john Steinbeck quote:

"It has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second."
 
2013-03-22 07:16:57 AM  
Hey subby, Mitt Rommey gives 10% of his "income" to "charity".
 
2013-03-22 07:17:01 AM  

way south: I'll go out on a limb and guess its both because poor people have less to give, and because they are closer to the "need".
A billionaire who has a mansion in a gated community doesn't walk past charity jars or poor folks on the street. He might give out a few hundred thousand dollars, but its a smaller percentage if his wealth than a poor person who drops ten bucks in every salvation army tin they pass.

I'm also going to suggest that using this data as an excuse to milk the rich via government might be a bad idea.  Government doesn't spend wisely and its corruption is part of why the rich are so rich to begin with. There's a cabal of powerful folks at the top of society who outsource the jobs and pen the money up in banks and stock markets. Its a brier patch that the wealthy and well connected love being tossed into.
What we need is to force that cash back out onto the streets, where it can pay workers, who then donate to charities.

It shouldn't be a sin to be wealthy any more than it is to be indigent.
What you don't want is people who hoard the wealth and outsource the opportunity.


If there were only some way we could non violently force people to act in a way a majority deems socially necessary.  Perhaps a commonly recognized authority could steer these rich folk toward an action that would benefit a wide array of people.  I just wish such an organization existed that could accomplish said task.  I imagine we would be a lot better off as a whole.
 
2013-03-22 07:17:50 AM  
In 2011, the wealthiest Americans-those with earnings in the top 20 percent-contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity.

Having just done my taxes last weekend, I can calculate this for my household, and lo and behold, it's 1.3% of my AGI (which is deep in that 20 percent category). I am a terrible person.
 
2013-03-22 07:18:26 AM  
After creating all those jobs they have so little left to give.
 
2013-03-22 07:20:20 AM  
I was bad off for a long time. Now that I have a good job I find myself willing to give money to help out poor friends. No ones ever came to me begging or anything, but one example is I had a friend whose family got in a bad situation and she was about to go homeless with her brother before state assistance kicked in. I picked up her room rent for two months. Minor for me.. life altering for her.
Someone helped me once. You pay it forward.
 
2013-03-22 07:21:17 AM  
Hookers count as a charity now? Alright!
 
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