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New Book: Daniel Raventós’ and Julie Wark’s “Against Charity”

Daniel Raventós and Julie Wark have just published a new book titled “Against Charity”.

Both authors argue for an unconditional universal basic income above the poverty line and paid for by progressive taxation to both eradicate poverty and empower recipients—the result being the human right of material existence. The burning issue is not charity, but justice.

Raventós and Wark affirm that charity is not a gift. In their own words, “gift-giving implies reciprocity, an ongoing relationship. When requital is impossible, the act of giving remains outside mutual ties and charity becomes yet another manifestation of class structure, a sterile one-way act upholding the status quo”.

Vacuuming up all the profits thanks to a weak labor movement, lower taxes, and tax havens, the global elite then turns around and remakes the world in its own image, distributing charitable donations that can hardly be mistaken with generosity. In the book, postmodern versions of nineteenth-century charity are described as trying to keep wealth and power in a few hands, countering people’s desire for greater income equality.

Daniel Raventós and Julie Wark present a thorough analysis of charity from the perspectives of philosophy, history, religion, and anthropology. They conclude that charity is an unequal relationship, presupposing the persistence of poverty and serving as a prop for capitalism.

Book reference:

Daniel Raventós and Julie Wark, “Against Charity”, CounterPunch, 2018

About Julen Bollain

Julen Bollain has written 6 articles.

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The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • June Ryan

    All that is required for a just society is for ALL citizens of all ages to receive a weekly living allowance that cannot be banked and must be spent within a certain period or cancelled. No welfare or charity necessary. No need to curtail the rich in their need to get richer. All welfare payments to be withdrawn and the public informed that there is a formula for living the good life called the Cosmic Law that controls the Universe. It is known as the ME,.. the organized and utilized Energy of the Masses and is used (or abused) by many organisations i.e. religious, economic, political, defence and offence forces. It was practiced by all the indigenous people’s of the planet and was the main reason for the attempted extermination and demise especially of the Australian Aborigines and American Indians.

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