Your best option, make buttons. Most of the world’s problems can be solved through arts and crafts. Making fun from crap can save the world, singing a song can feed a starving family for weeks, wearing the ribbon immediately qualifies you as a doctor working hard to find the hue.
The secret to success: you want to be so needy it makes the papers. Being needy is a drag, being really really needy however can be a big plus. Look at art and culture, no one cares about the old cinema that’s crumbling and bleeding to death by shrinking revenues, but everybody gets worked up if its scheduled for demolition- even better if you just think its scheduled for demolition.
The ratio to respect here is popularity vs perceived neediness. If you’re popular, but not super needy, employ some tricks like wasting money to increase your neediness and get some attention. If you’re unpopular, you’re going to need to go through some serious suffering to make it big- there’s tough competition! Obstacle: the biggest donors, corporate and the wealthy, only set aside money they don’t need for donation in their yearly budgets (thanks for digging deep and sacrificing). The amount of philanthropic cash available isn’t determined by what the poor need but rather by what the rich don’t need. But don’t worry, they do their best to direct this fun money towards who’s most needy and who throws the best fundraising parties. The overall ‘giving’ doesn’t increase because of a new problem, the money just gets redirected. Somewhere Bono is stewing in his mansion about album sales being down- attention to Haiti has detracted from his precious Africa.
This budgeted giving reinforces the slave/master relationship; its really just one class dropping its crumbs. If they actually cared, they’d just donate money as was needed when its needed (which is all the time)- or better yet, adopt fair trade instead of free trade in their business practices. Even better still, those of us in wealthy nations could start shopping and working ethically. We spend most of our waking hours supporting the corporate beasts that perpetuate widespread third world poverty, and try to resolve the guilt by waving our credit cards towards the latest sensation/disaster. Pay more for ethical goods, work for less at an ethical job- that’s philanthropy. . . Sadly, no one could be fabulous anymore. . . .The flow of luxuries will continue at rock bottom prices. . . . Here’s your pittance, get back to work! Maintaining whole nations of beggars is worth more than any amount of aid money.
Teach a man to fish. We’ll eat what he catches and mail him just enough corn starch to sustain his fishing. He lost an arm in gruelling conditions? Can he still fish?
Send more starch.
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