Theists actually believe this stuff!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kiva. Don't tithe when you can help directly.

When you tithe to your church you are paying for all of the facilities and staff of the church and, if it's a centrally controlled church, there is probably a percentage gobbled up by the church hierarchy. After these deductions, the money might be used for something of social benefit... although it will probably be wasted on a billboard critisizing people who don't attend their church.

This is on 'Luke the Atheist' because being an atheist doesn't mean you just want to keep all of your wage. True generousity isn't giving because some supernatural bully is twisting your arm and threatening a toasty end.

So, why not cut out the middle man. Kiva allows you to pool money online and lend money to a business person in a poor country where their financial systems are not able to help small business.

Small businesses offer communities goods and services that they lack. These small business people now have an income to purchase goods and services from other local small businesses. These little businesses grow and employ people. The whole thing snowballs and the communities economy strengthens. You perhaps have read about people worried about a business withdrawing from a town and how this will have knockon effects. The opposite happens when small Kiva businesses are up and running.

The local lending group educates the borrower. This makes their small business and the whole community smarter and stronger. You can take a look at the local lender to see their interest rate and default rates (if any).

My latest Kiva loan went to Margarita. I re-lent some money that was repaid to me today by another Kiva borrower. Its only USD25 so out it went again. Margarita looks like a hard worker who needs a break in life. The local lending practices look atrocious with interest rates of 120%. Hopefully Kiva and the local partners will be able to drive these interest rates down.

I generally lend to mothers. They will take every cent I lend and make their business work so that their children can eat. The men will take some of the money to the pub to big not themselves first and then go and get on with the business. This is a baseless bias on my part and I know it but I'm happy lending to women. It is positive discrimination at least.

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