Meta-Post: Are we to Blame?

From looking through these blogs and listening to class discussions, I noticed two of Farmer’s ideas that seem to be controversial amongst people.  The first idea is that charity is furthering the plight of the poor because by giving to charity, society is avoiding the root of the problem.  Farmer quotes Janet Poppendieck: “The resurgence of charity is at once the symptom and a cause of our society’s failure to face up to and deal with the erosion of equality.”  Many people found this quote to be incorrect, and even a bit insulting because many of them are involved in charitable organizations.  Others found this idea to speak a bit of truth, and argued that charity can work as a band-aid to cover up an unsound structural system.  Another idea that many people seemed to respond to was the questions about the part that we play in the oppression of the poor: “Do we North Americans eat well because the poor in the third world do not eat at all?  Are we North Americans powerful, because we help keep the poor in the third world weak?  Are we North Americans free, because we help keep the poor in the third world oppressed?”  Most people seemed to be insulted by this statement, and believed that this idea was taking things to far.  However, a few people saw this statement as having some truth to it.  Some argued that in a way, we are oppressing the poor.  Maybe by doing as little as buying a product that was made in a third world country under horrific conditions—we are supporting the businesses that continue to pay their employees just cents a day with no benefits.

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