Martian Thoughts

Give them cash now


It turns out it costs the state more to evict someone than to give them the money to meet one payment and avoid eviction altogether.

Some charities and foundations are experimenting with this counter-intuitive approach to the now-dated belief that “teaching someone how to fish instead of simply giving them food” always prevails in the long term. More and more studies demonstrate that, in most cases, destitution can be avoided with short-term cash payouts and no questions asked. It makes sense that someone might just need some food in their belly before making the judgment of learning how to fish – what if the river is polluted or their village is in the middle of the desert? By giving them money directly, they can decide what to use it for. Most folk don’t want to be poor or depend on the charity of others – who would have thought?

Everybody despises being tricked. We would hate to find out our generosity goes to waste. Yet, most of the time, common sense urges us to trust.