Should you give money to beggars?

For people fortunate enough to have extra money in their pockets, giving it away can be fraught with stress. The decision to give or not to give money to homeless people has real-world consequences. This question is not concerned with the legality of giving money, but rather with the moral and ethical dilemma that goes along with it.

No, you never know what they might do with it.

Once that money has changed hands, you relinquish control over what the other person does with it.

They may spend it on drugs, alcohol, or gambling

Giving money to beggars is wrong because they may easily spend it to perpetuate a cycle of abuse or addiction. The giver has then contributed to a negative cycle.

Homeless people may gamble with the money they're given.

A disproportionally high percentage of the homeless population have gambling problems.

No, it disincentives them from seeking serious help.

Homeless people experience many problems beyond lack of housing, and they're not going to fix those with the change you give them on the street.

They may not feel pressure to seek employment

Beggars make easy money. Contributing to them further reduces the incentive to seek employment.

They may not feel pressure to save

The amount of money made on the streets varies day to day, but each dollar earned in a day may reduce the incentive to save.

Yes, you should always give to those who have less.

If you were homeless, you'd want someone to help you out with money.

The Ripple Effect

Giving a dollar to one person may end up helping more people down the line.

It will make you feel good

Acts of kindness are oftentimes more for the person doing the act than the recipient.

It shows solidarity

Giving money shows that you care. Lifting someone's spirits may be more valuable than the money itself.

It doesn't matter what they do with the money

Whether they spend it on food or drugs, it doesn't matter how the homeless person uses it. All people—including homeless people—can make their own choices.

Yes, it will make you feel good.

Acts of kindness are often more for the person doing the action than the recipient. It's simple: doing good makes us feel good.

Helper's High

Scientists and psychologists have discovered that doing good deeds causes people to biologically feel good. The brain releases "feel-good" neurotransmitters when you give charitably, in a cycle that psychologists call "the helper's high."

Give to charities instead.

Charities know what to do with the money, and your donation can help more people more effectively.

The Growth Effect

Giving to charities & nonprofits promotes economic growth and improves lives by investing directly in a community. Giving vocally to charities encourages other people to give as well.

Charities know what beggars really need

People who run charities started the organization with an understanding of how to best homeless people. Charities are better equipped to make a real impact for homeless people because charities are the combined, organized efforts of a group of people.

Give food instead of money.

They can't do anything bad with food.

Food is a basic necessity

Everyone needs to eat. Giving food to a homeless person eliminates the step of them needing to buy it themselves and they can save their money for something else.

Giving something other than money shows that you care

Giving food rather than money to a homeless person demonstrates to them that you care about their well being. To take the time and effort to give money over food shows the homeless you have compassion and empathy.
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This page was last edited on Monday, 27 Apr 2020 at 16:34 UTC