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More insidious than cargo cults

by Phil Bartle, PhD

Training Handout

Charity Contributed to an Increase in Dependency


In the Factors of Poverty paper, one factor important here is dependency.

The argument is that the Charity Mode (something for nothing) creates and increases dependencies, which in turn reduce self reliance and strength.


Organisms respond to rewards and punishments. The organisms can include individuals, communities, nations, plants and animals. When we give alms to a beggar, we are training that beggar to beg for more.

When we give charity to a nation or community, we train them to want more, and the people come to believe that they can not survive without outside help

See the key word: Dependency, and the training page: The Dependency Syndrome.

Charity results in dependency.


The notion of the dependency syndrome is an important element of training for community mobilisers on thie site.

Where drug addiction would apply to individuals, the dependency syndrome applies to communities and nations.

It is similar to apathy in that it contributes to the community not doing things for itself, depending upon outside help.

Outside help, if there is any at all, depends upon agencies that have different goals and agendas than those of that community or nation.

Communities and nations afflicted with dependency are then like the grass which bends here and there according to the changing whims of the wind.

They lack self reliance

They lack the ability to grow in economy, spirit and confidence

They are doomed not only to poverty, but to increasing poverty.


The dependency syndrome contributes much to poverty of communities and nations.

The charity mode of developmental aid, in turn, contributes much to the dependency syndrome.

If we are going to reverse the trend of aid contributing to more poverty, we need to scientifically examine the dependency syndrome, and devise workable strategies for diminishing it.

See: Dependency


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