Poverty and the unacceptable face of anti-social media

This plate of food doesn’t look much, but it’s the meager daily diet of too many people, believes Solo Expenses’ Giving Back blogger Ron Banks. He has rediscovered what he probably already knew – that people don’t care about poverty, so long as they’re not poor. It was highlighted to him recently in an on-line spat about, of all things, airline food. Ron takes up the story…

I became mildly irritated when I read a social media post in which a company asked if readers thought they were entitled to two meals on a flight lasting eight hours.

That word ‘entitled’ was at the heart of the problem. I couldn’t understand why anyone should think that they needed two meals in any one eight-hour period, much less why they should feel ‘entitled’ to them.

One respondent complained that all he’d been offered on his flight had been a packet of crisps or nuts; he’d felt ‘entitled’ to more. To put this into context, he’d been flying between Rome and London; a flight lasting about two and a half hours.

Perhaps I should have left well alone, but I didn’t. I responded by suggesting that when a goodly proportion of the world’s population was starving, no-one should feel ‘entitled’ to two in-flight meals during a period when, were they at home, they probably wouldn’t eat twice anyway.

I looked at it like this. Shouldn’t families, and especially children, living in poverty be ‘entitled’ to a nourishing meal at least once a day? Surely no-one could argue with that?

Feeling the backlash
Well, they could. And they did. I was told I was stingy. I was told people went on vacation to relax, not to analyse world problems. I was told my stance was ‘typical British stingy hospitality’.  (Note the use of the word ‘vacation’. It suggests a post by someone living in America, the land of the free refill and enormous portions. I struggled to understand how wanting to share resources with others made me stingy, but never mind.)

PovertyThe tone of the responses told me that people don’t care about poverty in the slightest, so long as someone else has to live in it, and they can have the two in-flight meals they feel ‘entitled’ to. It implied that human rights somehow applied more to airline passengers than to children who haven’t eaten so far today.

Well, they don’t. Wake up and smell the coffee, if you’re fortunate enough to have some. Any coffee will do; it doesn’t have to be a skinny hazelnut latte made with freshly-ground beans and served with an amaretti biscuit. Food isn’t free, people! If it were, no-one would be starving. Poverty would be a thing of the past.

The crying shame
Of course the crying shame is that all the people feeling ‘entitled’ to two three-course meals on their way to an all-inclusive all-you-can-eat fortnight in the sun could improve the lives of people less fortunate than themselves without demonstrably harming their own.

It’s called charity, and it works because a donation from someone who has a lot might seem small to them, but translates into a huge difference for the recipient.

Solo Expenses is a regular donor, and helps clients to donate too. Through its giving back initiative Solo Expenses regularly puts money into worthy causes desperate for fundraising support.

The model is simplicity itself. Solo Expenses pledges regular monthly support, and helps clients to do the same by giving back a proportion of revenue to these worthy causes through its Giving Back initiative. Orphaned children in Africa; blind women in India, a dementia charity in the UK, and wildlife all benefit.

The initiative turns customers into donors, and – hear the beauty of this – does it in a way that costs the clients nothing. That’s because its range of money management apps cost very little to subscribe to, and have every chance of saving more than they cost each month. The result is that clients (and they’re in more than 90 countries) are supporting charity without diminishing their own lives in the slightest.

Why wouldn’t anyone want to help others? Giving back to society isn’t hard. The toughest part is deciding that you should. Become a change maker. Sign up yourself or your business to Solo Expenses today. Unless you feel ‘entitled’ to ignore people to whom life has dealt a poor hand. If you feel that way, then shame on you. I don’t know how you sleep at night.

Picture: Americanspirit via Dreamstime