Americans love charity. They jump to help relieve the latest disaster. But sometimes charity is not what’s needed, at least not exactly as it is being given. So argues James Huenink at the Federalist in an article entitled “How to Make Sure Your Charity Doesn’t Keep People Poor.”
Relief undermines developing nations’ economies. Clothing donations given to charities like Oxfam and the Salvation Army are often shipped overseas, where they destroy local textile markets. Why buy a locally made shirt, when you can get a better quality, cheaper shirt donated from America? For every secondhand shirt we ship to Africa, a local clothing manufacturer or retailer loses a sale. Soon, the textile mill goes out of business.