The English Phan

School is where it's safe to make the mistakes you don't want to make in real life.

When is it a bad idea to give the poor free stuff?

You may think you know what other people need… or you could be wrong.

BU UEA

by: Jacob A. Geller

“I think that giving somebody something for free is always a bad idea.”

Dambisa Moyo, on KUOW

THE above is clearly hyperbole; what about vaccines, shelter for the homeless, medical care for the mentally infirm, etc.?  Yet it must be asked: when is it a bad idea to give away something for free, even to the poor?

The question is not exactly trivial–there is a perennial debate about the economic effects of gifts in kind, better known as “free stuff” to all us lay folk, or “GIK” as it’s known in the foreign aid community.  The debate was rekindled recently thanks to World Vision, a Christian charity, and their plan to ship 100,000 free t-shirts to Africa.  The question also comes upmore thana fewtimes in academic journals.

Common sense dictates that GIK should be a good thing.  If I give you a free iPod, how could…

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This entry was posted on October 2, 2016 by in Materials.

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