Nephew Versus Nepal Charity
If you had a poor but promising nephew, you might promise to pay his way through college. You would place some limits on his activities – you probably wouldn’t pay for a semester off to train for Halo championships. And you might insist he maintain a minimum GPA. But you probably wouldn’t interfere much in his choice of college or major. And when you give to your children in your will, you rarely place restrictions on how they can spend what you give them.
But when we help poor people in far away lands (like Nepal), we almost never just give people money with few strings attached. We instead fund projects, run mostly by outsiders, to do things for them. We build them dams, roads, hospitals, bed nets, laptops, irrigation ditches, and so on. For poor people in our own nation, we act somewhere in between these two extremes.
When we give, why do we interfere so much more with distant poor, and interfere so little with those close to us?