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Charity?

Haji 2003

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There's a heart-warming story in the news recently.

Quote

Dr Pallavi Patel, pledged $200m to a Florida university - the largest donation ever from an Indian-American to a US institution. Nova Southeastern University (NSU) will use the gift to create two medical colleges - one in Florida, another in India.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41587429

So far so good. Let's look at the background:

 

Quote

 

Patel went from cardiologist to businessman when he created a network of physicians with different specialities. But the real breakthrough came in 1992 when he took over a health insurance company on the verge of bankruptcy. 

Ten years later when the Patels sold the firm, it had more than 400,000 members and revenue in excess of $1bn. His business empire is not without controversy - earlier this year, two of his businesses paid more than $30m in a settlement after accusations of artificially inflating costs for care. The firm has not admitted wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41587429

That's basically the nub of the problem for me. And it is a twofold problem. First of all, you can have an economic system that exploits the vulnerable, as has happened here.

The second part of the problem is that although the system provides some people with the opportunity to give large sums to charity, even this is not without cost. Because the donors can impose their own beliefs and values in terms of who they give the money to and what it can be spent on. Neither of these may always be consistent with the interests of the State as expressed in a democracy.

In this specific instance, a tax based healthcare system makes it obligatory on the rich to pay, the obligations are on them an not the masses. Charity, on the other hand, places obligations on the recipient, the power balance is completely altered.

 



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