Freeform

Opinion: How crowdfunding is changing the economy

By Donovan Levine
Freeform Editor

A popular Facebook broadcaster known as Nas Daily (real name Nuseir Yassin) made a video regarding the impacts of charity in impoverished countries. He uncovered the negative effects of events like clothing drives or food drives that indirectly negate the economic progress for native countries.

Two years ago, Nas visited the Philippines, cooked burgers and gave away free t-shirts to impoverished children. Despite Nas’s best intentions and incredibly generous actions, he detrimentally affected local food businesses and markets and led to an economic decline in that region without realizing it.

Nas says, “It’s time to rethink charity.”

Nas expressed concerns that those kids he helped, as well as other kids growing up hungry around the world, would be dependent on free donations rather than working for it.

He also references Bill Clinton’s speech to Congress on this issue. “We rich countries produce a lot of food and should sell it to poor countries and relieve them of the burdens of producing their own food, so thank goodness they can leap directly into the industrial era. It has not worked. It has not worked.”

While the gesture of charity is incredibly kind and humanitarian, families rationing the free food don’t benefit local businesses, hurting the families of those owners and the economy. No money is being spent or earned. 

Nas makes the exception for natural disasters and war crisis, which is where organizations like the International Rescue Committee, World Food Programme, the United Nations, No Kid Hungry, Care2Causes, the White Helmets and the record 10 million global non-profits that have come into existence since the Informational Era began. He also makes it very clear that no country in planet Earth’s history has ever developed from donations alone.

The risks involved with crowdfunding, such as lack of advancement, do not only happen with charity, but with the entertainment industry, engineering, infrastructure, all kinds of businesses.

With the boom of crowdfunding sites like YouCaring, Global Giving, GoFundMe, Kickstarter, Patreon and more, content creators have asked and often received thousands of dollars of other people’s money so they can fund their projects, which can be more convenient and beneficial but not economically sound. 

Without the direct giving-and-receiving of goods, people are simultaneously creating a bubble that can burst once the crowdsourcing trend reaches a certain threshold. One business experiences a surge while the other experiences a plummet.

This does not go without saying that crowdfunding has its benefits, as well. An article from Forbes described a business in the UK that started solely from impact funds and provided 100 jobs before getting sold for £22 million. CrowdfundInsider discussed the idea of how “crowdfunding could spur waves of investment into emerging countries through social causes and start-ups, which in turn creates an ethos of welcoming innovation.”

Crowdfunding is capable of narrowing the gap between middle and upper-class incomes, but by how much is left undetermined. Because of how new the idea of crowdfunding on the internet is, there is not enough history to gather accurate statistics. This goes for crowdfunding businesses and charities equally.

“If you want to help, choose charities that employ locals for locals,” said Nas. “If you want to travel, travel in Africa, and support local tourism. If you want to hire, hire from Africa. They have talent.”

The important message he wished to send through his video is that it’s okay to give and want to help but only to give in a smarter way and learn more about where you give.

 

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