Remember the big idea of giving money to a charity so they could buy someone in Africa a goat?
Sounded great, right?
But where did the goats come from? I don't remember seeing any news of ships (such as sheep carriers) being stuffed full of European or Australian goats and sailed to Africa.
(When I was 12, I worked on a sheep station for 2 weeks during the school holidays. Towards the end, we did a big goat muster and shipped off several road trains worth to the abattoir. We are not short of goats).
I suppose the money was collected here and then wired to the African office of the charity. The locals then went to the market and bought a gaggle of goats.
And what do you suppose that did to the local price of goats? A sudden influx of western money, and demand, when supply is fixed could only mean a big increase in the price of goats in Africa.
Now that's nice if you happen to be selling a truckload of goats at that moment, but what if you are not one of the lucky recipients of western charity, and you need to buy a goat? Suddenly, it's not going to cost you 10 shekels - it's going to cost 50.
That's how we help the poor. Giving some feel good aid to the few, and shafting the many.