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  1. yes I think there is an interesting point to be made re: the value of charity. Throughout each year there are always natural and man initiated disasters which actively thrust upon the everyday person devastation hunger and death. Every year disaster management by charities helps populations re-build to live out a meagre life nothing even remotely as fancy and comfortable as our own. We are the fifth largest economy in the world and astonishing and often unbelievable fact (apparently) and we give a tiny fraction of our GDP for development. DFID really are in many ways a marketing tool and a large part of the budget does not go directly to the peoples affected it pays for salaries of civil servants from out own country to work in overseas departments. It is almost impossible for the small charities of which there are millions of to ever get remotely close to any money because as you rightly suggest is pays for development structures within governments it helps. In part it is a bargaining tool to encourage nations from investing disproportionately in space travel or more often buying arms from the western countries and to deal with poverty in other countries. But if you reduce the budget all this does it remove the tool to help the individual. There is fundamental philosophical reason for supporting humanity less able than ourselves to cope with disasters as well as demographic transitions. In the end there is a selfish incentive develop new markets to sell more arms or tobacco too or burberry coats too. Charities that try to get around this barrier to support the individual often face a problem but a few things like access to water and education or rural electrification are often able to kick start individual as well as societal growth. At the bottom of this pile are often the most disenfranchised usually girls and women and if we believe that this country is so great this is in part due to philanthropic attempts in the Victorian age to improve health sanitation education and access to clean water and at the present time to see women as equals.Part of the reason why this forum is able to spout these kind of vile postings is that sadly there are not any active women here as far as I see it and so it has a feeling of "Dad's Shed" about it which is often unhealthy. as for the value of our investment in countries by our contributions. Having lived and worked in countries in Southern Africa and been into to countries such as Romania after the fall of the apartheid and the dictatorship respectively I have seen at first hand how lives have been made sociologically better in that people have freedoms, same in Malawi and Uganda. Ok so the structures may not be fully developed in your life times but if you were an alien living in an imaginary country with perfect lives and you invested in Victorian Britain you would look in your lifetime and think Jesus when is it ever going to get better. But it is a slow process and it is almost impossible to speed up demographic transition thinking that if they just do as we do then life would be sweet but our growth and transition fed on the resources of the very nations you are saying we shouldn't even be willing to help support get water. Now that such resources are gone yes there may be some freedom and yet some power crazy MEN always want more and more of the shinny lumps of flattered metal this group seem to hold in esteem above all else. Greed and power and corruption and a philosophy of look after me first is the very reason why men such as Mugabe reach prominence and then destroy internally all the good that was put in place (and let's remember it was our state funded support of Mugabe that put him there) so if we want things to change then the fundamental shift has to happen within each of us too to reduce the reliance on the need to only feel fulfilled if we have the riches of these shiny lumps of metal in plastic folders or in our pockets and adopt a more holistic and humane approach. I see now that the majority on this forum lean far to the right of centre which is disappointing and conservatism (small c) rarely leads to anything but regressive ideas and practice and usually results in very little development and creative thinking, in truth it hinders all the very reasons and purpose of being on here for me.