Most children in the world are born into excruciating poverty, and an ever increasing number are being born into the variety of poverty that leads rapidly to hunger and death. The natural conditions of planet earth are not actually so hostile as to be detrimental to the lives of so many human beings. Our planet, in balance, is quite a good place in the cosmos for people to live. The problem is not so much the natural condition; it is the human condition. Wealthy and powerful human beings have systematically made it impossible for most of the world’s children to live free from poverty, and an increasing number free from starvation and death. Planet earth provides enough to satisfy the needs of all, but not nearly enough to meet the wants of a single person. So human beings, as a result of the selfishness and greed of others, are born into poverty and hunger, and die in their hundreds of thousands every year. Not to worry – Concern Worldwide can cure all of this for a mere €2 a week, or so it claims when it assaults us at teatime with images of pitiful, dying children, and making sure they can work this miracle is their CEO on salary of €99,000.

Concern on Twitter took just over an hour to come back and claim that this astronomical salary reflects the experience needed to save the lives of more than twenty-four million people. My blood runs cold when I hear or read this sort of rubbish. Had I – or indeed most people – the experience of working to save so many starving children, and seeing the magnitude of the misery and suffering they endure, I am sure that I would give that experience for free. In fact I am privileged to say that I already know so many people who do precisely this. Yet this is not the experience Concern means when it looks for a fat cat CEO. No, it and other profiteers of the ‘charity sector’ are looking for the money making skills and experience of the corporate world – the world that thrives on poverty creation by greed and strict adherence to the profit principal. A sucker, earning nowhere near a hundred grand a year, who decides to save the world by donating her or his €2 a week would have to pay that sum weekly for 952 years to cover the cost of a single year’s salary of the man with the experience to feed the starving. This causes me more than concern. It causes alarm. This would explain the need for a further spend on the glossy, guilt inducing television ads.

Ad campaigns like this cost a great deal of money, but without them the money wouldn’t come rolling in to feed the checking account of the CEO or the other grossly inflated salaries of this – and other – charity sector organisations. Morally this racket is indefensible, but their spokespeople are well trained to answer the questions with the same old pat answers. Suffering in the world is a reality. For the most part it is an unnecessary reality, but if we are to begin solving this problem then some people really do need a reality check.

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