How Generous Are American Companies?
Charity is one of the most important aspects of a capitalist society, so much so that it is very common indeed for businesses to regularly donate to charities and other non-profit organizations that would otherwise have not been able to get their respective jobs done because of the fact that they would have fallen short of the required amount of resources necessary for the completion of said tasks. Indeed, governments are also commonly known to give tax breaks to companies that donate to charitable causes which gives companies an incentive to give more and more.
To their credit, American companies are usually genuinely charitable. Indeed, the top twenty contributors to charitable causes have ended up donating several billions of dollars to said causes, with Gilead Sciences topping the list with a total dollar amount of nearly half a billion dollars all on their own. This is more or less in line with the way Americans tend to approach generosity, which is to say that they tend to value it greatly. Two out of every three Americans feel like generosity is important, so the question here is not whether or not Americans and American companies are generous, it is whether or not their specific brand of generosity actually helps.
The fact of the matter is that charities need money in order to function, but are in many ways a symbolic gesture more than anything else because of the fact that they tend to fail to address the systemic causes of the problems that they are attempting to remedy. For widespread change, cash donations are not enough. The system needs to be changed. After all, it doesn’t matter how many homeless shelters you donate to if you don’t simultaneously try to eradicate homelessness itself as well.
Labor is one thing that big companies can donate which would allow actual change to be brought about. Cash donations often delay long term progress because of the fact that it gives the impression that forward movement has occurred without the actual system causes having been addressed. Through the provision of free labor, corporations can help rebuild infrastructure and help people in a way that would legitimately allow them to move past the problems that they might be facing at that particular point in time.
Another thing that corporations can do is give jobs to those that need it. There are plenty of communities where poverty is rife. The fact of the matter is that giving the people in these communities food and shelter is only going to go so far when it comes to helping them. In order to truly aid them they need to be given sources of income, and companies are more than able to give such a thing to them because of the fact that they are always in need of manpower and are generally able to pay people fairly significant amounts of money for their labor as well. These are some ways in which corporations can be truly generous.