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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Are Charities a Waste of Time?

January 27, 2012, 12:00 PM

Philanthropy is a tricky business. To begin with, there’s the question of which group, among the millions of needy and suffering people in the world, to help. Even more complicated is the strategic planning around how best to “help” people. Philanthropic organizations need to determine how best and most efficiently to raise funds, what kind of assistance to provide, how to deliver that assistance effectively, and how to help build a sustainable infrastructure in communities they mean to help.

Economist Adam Smith's famously argued that the "invisible hand" of unfettered free market capitalism would result in improvements in living standards for the greatest number of people. His ideas continue to inform concepts like the "single-bottom line" approach to corporate philanthropy. 

What do you think ? . . .

Are charities a waste of time? Should people focus on economic development instead to improve living conditions worldwide?




Are Charities a Waste of Time?

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