Bureaucratic Vogons! You know what I think of the United States welfare program? I hate it. You know what I think of the EPA? I hate it. You know what I think of the private sector (a.k.a. “Big Business”)? I love it. It can handle charity and environmental management far more efficiently than our bloated Federal government.
In a world where, according to economics, everything is scarce to some degree or another, there is a limited supply of money. Therefore, spending that money most efficiently should be the goal of any individual or group engaged in spending money: even if it is being given away, it should be given where it would do the most good. Now, where charity would do the most good is a subjective case at best. However, the more the charitable organization and/or its agents know about the possible recipients of their charity, the better judgment they ought to be able to make on the matter. When the charitable organization is the government, efficiency is at an across-the-board low, since the government is the largest possible charitable organization, and is therefore the farthest-removed from its objects of charity.
However, private charity is given with an individual interest in the causes helped. Not only will the giver be more likely to carefully expend him more limited charitable means, but the recipient will feel more of an obligation to the giver to use the money wisely and for self-improvement, rather than simply squandering it. I believe that fifty dollars given by an individual one knows does more good than three hundred given to that same individual by the government: imagine what three hundred dollars of private charity does!
“Big Business” is often accused of being a money-sink in our economy, rather than being recognized as the ultimate source of prosperity (in jobs, investment, and, as we shall see, in charity). Case in point, Southern Company’s Georgia Power. They have a true capitalistic outlook, proving once again that capitalism — which is at its core a seeking of one’s own rational self-interest on the expectation that others will seek their own; and the belief that if one excludes violation of other’s pursuit of rational self-interest from “reason”, ture conflicts of interest do not occur — does not mean running over others rough-shod. From Georgia Power’s website:
Our vision is based on a very simple premise: The quality of life in our communities directly affects the success of our business. As a company, we want to be judged not only by the service we provide, but also for what we do to improve the quality of life for all people in the places where we live and work.*It is well-within the rational self-interest of Georgia Power to provide charitable programs in cities throughout Georgia. Everyone lifted to a higher standard of living is a future custormer of GP and a future member of an increasingly-technological workforce producing an increased demand on the production of electricity. As well, if they improve their public image through charitable programs, their bottom line is eventually bolstered as a result. Now, to show you that they are in earnest about giving back to their communities, I’ll show you Georgia Power’s five main charitable outreaches:
- Project Share, which matches customer donations to the Salvation Army, one of the largest non-profit charitable organizations in the world
- Club of Hearts, an employee charitable organization whose administrative costs are paid in full by Georgia Power, ensuring that every dollar donated goes to charity
- Georgia Power Foundation, funding non-profit endeavours throughout Georgia, and third-largest charitable foundation in the state
- Corporate Giving, which is assisted by employees, who best know their own communities, and can determine where money would be best-spent, increasing the efficiency of the program
- Volunteer Services, which encourages and assists Georgia Power employees in personal community involvement and volunteerism
Of course, this is where the “rational” part comes in. The executives at GP had to be visionary enough to see the long-term (even over the next fifty to one hundred years, as standard-of-living improves) benefits of immediate charitable activity. For this reason, it is not “Big Business”, but “Stupid Business”, and stupid people in general (I use “stupid” denotatively rather than flippantly), who are our true enemies. Those who seek immediate benefit at the expense of long-term benefit (such as pushy door-to-door salesmen and companies utilizing “spam” marketing tactics, both of which lessen the likelihood of intelligent, rational people purchasing from them) are likely to throw public images and environmental stewardship to the wind in favor of this quarter’s bottom line. Luckily, though, capitalism punishes such activity (and far better than restrictive regulations would, I might add) by pushing such individuals and corporations to bankruptcy through their insustainable (in the true, rather than Liberal, usage of the word) activities.
But I mentioned environmental stewardship. Yes, “Big Business” does care about the environment — the environment is, in the end, their underpinnings and support. Forestry has been hashed and re-hashed (foresters plant at least three trees for every one they cut down), so I’ll let you look up that issue on your own. However, infrastructure companies are time and again attacked for the environmental manipulations they must carry out to provide their services. Well, Georgia Power has that covered as well.
- Project WINGS cooperates with, assists, moniters, and provides monetary incentives to landowners, hunting clubs (Gasp! Did you know that hunters cared about the environment, too?), wildlife organizations, and individuals who wish to manage power line rights-of-way in an environmentally sound manner
- Forestry for Wildlife, which is a program managing public-use land for recreation and wildlife conservation (such as their partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, which seeks to increase wild turkey populations on Georgia Power lands)
- M.A.R.S.H., a joint effort with Ducks Unlimited to provide and enhance wetland habitats for ducks, geese, and other species
- Environmental Teachers Corps, which provides K–5 teaching, free-of-charge, in Recycling, Water Use, Habitats, Air Quality and Energy Resource Management
I’ve used Georgia Power as an example, but if you go to the website of most major corporations and find their community-involvement section, I’m sure you’d be pleasantly surprised how much “Big Business” is doing for you and your environment.