5 – What do you think of philanthropy and altruism?

In 2017 a crowdfunding scam unfolded when a couple, Katelyn and Mark, along with Johnny Bobbit, concocted a fake story about a homeless man giving the last of his $20 to a woman to help her with her gas. The couple posted this heartwarming story and created a GoFundMe campaign to repay the kind homeless man and get him a place to stay.

The GoFundMe campaign was a huge success, having raised $400,000 from 14,000 people. In a few years, the ‘homeless man’ Johnny Bobbit sued the couple alleging that the latter did not give him his fair share. The couple used the money for their own end, and worse, they even posted their new BMW, trip to Vegas, gambling, shopping on social media.

What is Philanthropy and Altruism?

Philanthropy is an institution to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. 

Altruism is a state of mind concerning the well-being of others and a truly unselfish act. Is altruism a purely selfless act though? There are always positive externalities. We donate money because we feel good. We feel better. There are great tax benefits.

Basically, philanthropy is a social construct, altruism is not. Think Mother Teresa for altruism, and Oprah Winfrey for philanthropy.

Is philanthropy for the rich people only?

Indeed, philanthropy is associated among the wealthy. If you aren’t wealthy, you can call yourself charitable or generous, but it seems pretentious to call oneself a philanthropist. Philanthropy is a social technology used by the wealthy–it confers tax benefits, social capital and a boost in public relations. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *