I was pretty happy after my reading of the excerpt of the Book “Tahrir: os dias da revolução no Egito” at amálgama site, and now I’m pissed off by this post by Tyler Cowen. The context is the argument that leftists should donate more to charity. He says he used to think that this argument was juvenile, but he changed his mind and now thinks it is a good argument.
I don’t follow his blog for a long time, so maybe I’m wrong here, but I think that with the increased polarization in US, he’s becoming more and more conservative, and more often with weak arguments like this.
For me it’s pretty obvious, specially if you’ve ever read Machado de Assis (Bras Cubas specially) how problematic is charity. I don’t know how to say capricho in English, google translate suggests “whim”, “caprice” and several other words, but I’m not sure they have the same meaning of it. Anyway, my point is: charity is a capricho. It implictly puts a power relationship between the receiver and the giver in our society. And that’s one of the reasons that we need a public action toward wealth redistribution.
The other reason is that we don’t want redistribution because we are good christians. At least, not for me. I don’t care about christian etichs. I wanna redistribution because of my desire of a more free society, not because of some sort of pity. Putting together these two reasons, and you’ll understand that the achieveability of more freedom depends mostly of public action, not private actions.
One final note. I’m not against charity per se. I’m against not realizing the power relationship that emerges from charity. Not long ago, the Daslu (a brazilian retailer) was caught commiting tax fraud. And people started arguing that they were very good people, they even provided a nice place for their workers (!) and so on. And that’s the whole point of making good work conditions depending only of decision on the public arena, and not of private arena. If these things are based only or mainly on private actions, you end talking about some people being morally superior to others.
ps.: I know it’s not Friday. But I couldn’t wait till Friday….