Is there still a place for charity in the modern world ?
Yes there is, and for 2 main reasons :
1) The other present-day alternatives to charity are insufficient or at times problematic
2) Charity, while clearly having a benefit for the recipient, also has a timeless benefit for the giver
The modern world may have many welfare states where governments take on the role of giver because it has a responsibility to take care of its people anyway (add e.g. here)
HOWEVER, the role of charity is not entirely usurped by government support systems because this kind of over-reliance puts a huge strain on governments (add e.g. here).
Besides, the government cannot look into everything anyway. This makes charity necessary, not just to accumulate donations but to allocate and manage these donations too (add e.g. here).
Moreover, the top-down government giving is also not sustainable because it erodes the sense of initiative and care that people have for each other. It is better for societies to promote love and compassion that translates to acts of charity because it helps the people bond (add e.g. here). In the long-run, this sense of fraternity and unity can help society weather other storms that may come.
In the today’s global economy, the win-win situations that corporations offer to the poor appear promising and can replace charity. Corporations and richer countries need natural resources and labour. Poor countries provide these in return for investment and employment (add e.g. here). This sounds better than charity because these agreements can offer a long-term plan for the development of the country.
YET, charity still has a place because this arrangement need not always be win-win. Poor people may lose out if their workers’ rights are violated or their pay is abysmally low (add here). Such situations have tarnished the reputation of corporations and actually drew attention to the need for charity : altruism, as opposed to enlightened self-interest.
The importance of charity is eroded as people in modern societies get richer themselves. They may adopt a view that the poor are just less bright, less hardworking or less responsible, and are thus deserving of the predicament they are in. They may also regard charity as promoting laziness. DESPITE SUCH VIEWS, charity speaks to the donors’ personal need to give – to feel happier, feel connected to others, cement his personal values. In specific cultures, charity is given as an act of penance or an act of religious devotion
Modern day methods of promoting charitable causes also help charity remain significant.
– Technology can help promote causes, even niche ones, to the whole world via the internet.
– Celebrity activism keeps some charitable causes in the limelight too