Charities – Jon’s Ad Hoc Hic Up – Jon Risdon

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Charities – Jon’s Ad Hoc Hic Up – Jon Risdon

Article kindly submitted by Jon Risdon

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Do you like people telling you what to do? I know I don’t, so I’m not about to start telling you what to do. I do like to think that I’m always willing to listen to a sensible idea however, so I want to give you something to think about.

I think most people would agree that we [the British, that is: I can’t really speak for the rest of the world!] are a pretty generous lot, especially when it comes to giving to charity – what could be better than trying to help people who are down on their luck, were born with some sort of disadvantage, or are suffering [which also applies to animals]?

Aside from all the government cuts, even though they do have a bearing on all this, our giving is even more commendable when times are as hard as they are at the moment for most of us [and don’t forget, “We’re all in this together”!], but do you ever wonder if we’re being taken advantage of; that our generosity is being abused? Naturally, the first question that will come to mind is “Well what would happen to all the good causes if we stopped donating?” Lots of human beings and animals would suffer, to a greater or lesser extent, that’s for sure.

I’m not saying that charities in themselves are wrong; the majority of them were set up with the best of intentions, undoubtedly, but it’s the system that makes them necessary which is wrong, and to make matters worse, this forces most of them to be commercial businesses to survive. There’s an old saying: “Charity begins at home”, and that’s very fine, but there’s a difference between genuine altruism, one of the best attributes by far we possess as human beings, and an expectation of charity, from necessity, which is the way it is now. We are alleviating symptoms, and not very well at that, rather than curing the disease. “What choice do we have?”, you might ask. Well, before I answer that, let me give you an analogy.

Apart from what could be called inert matter; in other words, some of the materials our world is built from, nearly everything else we see in it is organic: it grows, and needs nourishment to survive, and that includes the groups and organisations we make to decide how our society operates. If organic matter isn’t nourished, it will die, but sometimes that can have a positive effect: something better will spring up in its place.

Now apply that to charities: they survive, and continue to grow, because we keep nourishing them, but the people who are supposedly in control [i.e., government] know that, and are very happy to let it continue. Now obviously, we can’t just expect to all stop giving to charity to force the system to change, because it doesn’t work like that; but there are other things we can do [and obviously, I want to be able to offer positive suggestions, rather than just pointlessly moaning about my pet hates!].

As individuals, we have more power than we actually realise, and that is what those who ‘have authority over us’ are scared of [their authority only derives from our agreement to accept it]; sure, one vote in an election doesn’t make much difference, and two million voices raised in protest didn’t prevent us going to ‘war’, but if enough people work together for change, then it will happen: fact. It’s not ‘pie in the sky’ to say that we advance as a society by cooperation & concensus: we can’t agree about everything all the time of course, but I truly believe that competition, which is a very simple definition for ‘business’, can only hold us back. We really do have the power to make the world the way we want it: we do it all the time, with nearly every decision we take, with our purchases, the people we associate with, and so on. There is always a better way to do anything, but trying to do better than everyone else by earning as much money as possible, to buy all sorts of expensive junk is not the answer. That’s just what the system we are used to makes us believe.

Just suspend your disbelief for a while, and consider if everything was free: we wouldn’t need money would we, so no need for competition; we’d just do what we enjoyed doing, within reason, and by that I mean there would be no justification for causing unnecessary injury, harm, or loss. Sure, people might be greedy at first, but hopefully that would die out pretty quickly when people realise that there would be enough in the world for everyone, if our needs are modest. Wishful thinking maybe, but greed becomes unnecessary when there is abundance. Before you say that what I am suggesting is impossible [and you can bet that someone will!] just consider this: if everybody says that something is impossible, it will be, because they will all act accordingly! How does a placebo work? It works because we believe in it. I don’t have all the answers to a myriad of questions you might have about this, but there are plenty of people in the world who are trying to come up with effective ways of bringing this about [including doing all the nasty jobs people only do for money now!], so if you’re interested, have fun trying to find them: I’m not selling any particular group or scheme, but if you genuinely want to find out more, just ask me.

What about practical action? Well, first & foremost, don’t think you are powerless: think about what you aren’t happy with, and don’t be afraid to say so! I don’t just mean at home, or in the pub or whatever: there are plenty of ways to get people you know interested, and stimulate discussion, like Real Whitby, Facebook, letters to the Gazette, and so on. Knowledge is power, so they say, so find out about stuff, seize the power, and use it! I’m not advocating civil disobedience, of course [although there are many situations in which that does appear to be the only solution left to us by ‘the powers that be’] but, to use another analogy, if we refuse to accept that the sea is going to wash our land away, and we reclaim it and protect it, we change it for the better. We can do the same with our actions and our lifestyle: don’t accept what you aren’t happy with, speak up, tell politicians and paid officials you aren’t happy with the way they do things, push for change [but politely, and non-violently please!], move your money from avaricious banks to more ethical companies, such as credit unions [but check them out first: they’re not all the same!], grow your own food if you can, have fun making things for yourself, support local businesses [most of them are owned & operated by your friends or family, after all!] – all these suggestions contribute to making the world a more cooperative & enjoyable place! Be the change you want to see!

By | 2012-03-12T21:04:22+00:00 March 12th, 2012|Categories: Featured, Letters, News|Tags: , |13 Comments

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  1. admin March 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    Excellent article Jon. I really enjoyed reading that

  2. Nigel Ward March 11, 2012 at 11:22 am - Reply

    There have been numerous ‘models’ for a society in which government (national and local) assumes full responsibility for a full spectrum of need – midwifery, childcare, care for the more unfortunate, education, health care, care for the aged and funeral arrangements. The principle objection is usually “Where will the money come from?”

    The curious thing is that this objection is most often invoked by those who have little or no grasp of where money comes from more generally. When money was all banknotes and coinage, everyone was content to accept that it came from the Royal Mint. Nowadays, money is 97% digital – created by the fiat of private sector banks, through ‘debt’.

    We stand on the threshold of a major paradigm-shift. Debt-created money (and its leitmotif, ‘growth’) has reached saturation point. Readers who are interested in what alternatives are coming to the fore may wish to Google ‘Monetary Reform’, ‘Positive Money’ and ‘Clifford Hugh Douglas and the National Dividend’. A more in-depth commentary is available in a number of accessible new economy books; my e-friend Ellen Brown’s “Web of Debt” comes to mind. See also the works of Michael Rowbotham. I have been promoting the notion of local authority banks, with authority to create money in the same way as the private sector does at present, specifically to fund public services and works. Through procurement and salaries, this money can then re-circulate within the local economy – as MiloMinderbinder said, “Everybody has a share”. The nominal ‘debt’ is indemnified by the so-called ‘added value’ inherent in the maintained enhancement of both hard and soft infrastructure.

    • Jon Risdon March 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you for that very detailed and informative comment Nigel. Whether we have much of it or not, money dominates our lives, and it is something we seem to be stuck with for the foreseeable future. However, many people are working hard to come up with viable alternative solutions to the conundrum of money and its function in society, and the most pleasing aspect of this is that the majority of these people don’t seem to have an obvious financial incentive [i.e., immediate self-interest] to do it. Where’s the downside in having a better world where nobody has to struggle to survive? Everybody wins.

      Perhaps I delude myself by confining my attention [mostly] to sources of information which support my world-view, but there seems to be a palpable desire for change in the world, and a willingness to be involved, so come on everybody, get on board and enjoy the ride! 🙂

  3. Vanda Inman March 12, 2012 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Meanwhile back on planet reality, the kids need cooking, the food needs dressing, the floors need loving, the husband needs cleaning, the work gets in the way a bit, Mother needs pleasing, then Shielas on the phone, the Cats got the dogs bone, who needs flowers when you’ve got weeds, your hair needs weeding, weeding the overdraft needs feeding and the rains on the washings out, outside your neighbours budgies gone missing and life and love goes on and on and on. The invisibles, the unrecognisables with hands that can and do. And they carry on doing because of love for one another. That is real Charity, it is the back-bone of Society. So, I’m afraid I disagree, when it comes to Charity its not about complaining about what you haven’t got and moaning at every opportunity like its some kind of elevation of Status, its about being very happy and content about what you have got, nurturing it and letting it grow, organically if you like.

  4. Linda March 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    Reconise needs from wants and there is plenty for all. But until there is a cure for the illness called greed, good people will continue to be taken advantage of.

  5. Cliff Street March 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    Nice sentiments Mr Ridson and a utopian view that I wish could be reality.


    The truth is that, as attractive as it may be to right minded people, the concepts of fairness, compassion and charity, upon which such a system would rely, are not ones that are appreciated by everyone. Therein lies the problem.

    There are many who have no interest in fair shares for all. These people want, indeed need, to have as much as they can get of whatever is going. They will go to any ends to achieve this.

    These people will always end up with the lion’s share of the wealth, whether it is measured in pounds, shekels or bags of spuds, whatever system is in operation.

    As soon as an individual or group amasses a large enough stock of what amounts to wealth they are then able, first to create, and then to manipulate markets.

    That brings us back to just where we are today.

    Just to add some balance to my point, and at the risk of laying the false impression that I am not a true socialist at heart, when it comes to the problem of the hardworking backbone of society versus the workshy and the feckless or the people who are genuinely in need of care and support, there are those who, sadly, can’t contribute but there are also those who simply won’t.

    Again just where we are today.

  6. admin March 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    I would agree with you Cliff. Just read Orwells Animal Farm for an understanding of the situation. Maybe it isnt possible for us all to live, share, input what we can and take only what we need. However one thing from Jons thought provoking article that I know can be achieved is to “support local businesses [most of them are owned & operated by your friends or family, after all!] – all these suggestions contribute to making the world a more cooperative & enjoyable place! Be the change you want to see!” With this in mind we should be asking ourselves questions like Sainsburies or Ruswarp Butchers for your meat ?? Co-op or Elises for your fruit and veg ? Weatherspoons or Humble pie and mash for your dinner ? Mcdonalds (if rumours are right) or Ben Laws Java for burger and coffee (Best burgers you will ever taste by the way, Subway or Sherlocks (The best prawn sandwiches in the world) The answer has to be to keep it local and support our friends and townsfolk. This can be achieved by making the right choices

  7. markh March 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Hmm, the core of the article is that people can exercise choice when spending money. To Joe Swingbridge, charity is someone on a street corner rattling a box for poorly kids, or blown up squaddies, which I think is wrong. Make the forces pay for the treatment and maybe it’ll concentrate minds on pointless political/milatary adventurism – from Suez to Afghanistan.

    I would not recommend anyone tries to make sense of Nigel’s confused post on money. To anyone interested, Phil Coggan (The Economists) has a good book out ‘Money, Debt and the New World Order’.

    At it’s root, money is a unit of wealth. Money makes trade easier so you don’t get into a un-workable barter system.

  8. markh March 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    When I ate meat – a very long time ago – I like Ruswarp port pies.

    I’ve always liked Willison’s grocers. Just have. Ever since I walked down from school to get my bus home.

  9. Vanda Inman March 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Those in poverty and need don’t get to choose where they bank or shop. Those who ‘do care’ don’t have time to consider a cost/benefit analysis of a Utopian World. Those that ‘do’ often don’t have a voice. Middleclass thinking for a socialists dream. Nice idea though.

  10. Jon Risdon March 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    I just discovered this today, thanks to a kindred spirit; please consider supporting it. It’s not guaranteed to succeed, of course, but it is a positive step, definitely in the right direction, in my honest opinion, and it is sending a real message to our Government, working with the system. Thank you.

  11. Jon Risdon March 14, 2012 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    Here’s a few currently fictitious scenarios of how a resource-based economy could work.

  12. Jon Risdon March 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    There are plenty of free resources already available, and a lot is being done which is practical, and achievable, so it is not difficult to get involved.

    There doesn’t only have to be “one way” to improve our world.

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