Saturday, 1 February 2014

Public Service, Social Work, Charity & Goodness

I have been recently informed that people who make charitable donations are not "good" but only give to charity to avoid tax. This point of view was made known to me, during a lunch party last week, by a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party. The previous day, while having dinner with two young adults of ambivalent political inclinations, I was amused by their unfettered admiration for another individual who worked with autistic people and is paid handsomely by the government to do so, describing that individual as "good".

Is it possible that there is a general confusion about "goodness"? It is my understanding that when people give to Charity, they no longer have the use of that money for their own needs. This often means that they do without something; if the donation is small, it may be the sacrifice of a mere bar of chocolate. If the donation is big, it may mean doing without a holiday abroad. In contrast, when a person works with autistic people and receives a good salary for it, as this activity has entailed no sacrifice and indeed has been remunerated, it is clearly not an act of charity.

I believe that those who make sacrifices for others in Charity giving, have a greater claim to the description "good" than those who work for a salary in an area of public service that helps others. After all, if an individual has an inclination for working with the handicapped, the ill and the disadvantaged and does so at no sacrifice to themselves, then they are in fact doubly rewarded in finding a suitable niche and being well-paid to enjoy that niche. They cannot possibly be described as "good" as they are no different from any other person in the work-force and they are consumers of public wealth rather than the creators of public wealth.

Contrast this with creators of public wealth who regularly give to Charity; any excess money left over to such individuals can only be taxed up to a maximum of 45%. If these individuals choose not to give to Charity, then the 55% still remains available for personal consumption and enjoyment once 45% has been surrendered to the taxman/woman. Please also note that wealth creation happens in the private sector, with all the stresses of risk-taking and fearfully long hours of work; this is in stark contrast to the comfort and security of the wealth-consuming public sector

My blog-posts are usually about educational and academic matters. Could it be a sign of a defective education (might it be a subtle form of brain-washing?) when the fundamental differences between the true goodness of Charity-giving and shrewdness of well-paid employment in the "caring" part of the Public sector get confused? To go back to my starting point, all the three individuals who have prompted this blog are highly educated. I find worrying that, despite being so well-educated they may be mistaking shrewdness for goodness.

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