Saturday, February 01, 2014

You can't save the world

Buying a homeless man a sandwich for two dollars feeds that man. Appropriating twenty billion dollars to feed a sandwich to every homeless man in America will only provide sandwiches to a small percentage of the homeless at a cost of four thousand dollars a sandwich.

Once you try to buy sandwiches for millions of homeless men, the sandwich money is eaten up by the expenses of studying how to identify the homeless, learning what kind of sandwiches they would like, studies on marketing sandwiches to homeless people over social media, the costs of diversity training for the sandwich makers and a million other things.

You can buy a homeless man a sandwich, but you can’t buy them all sandwiches because once you do that, you are no longer engaging in a personal interaction, but building an organization. You don’t need a homeless man to exist so that you can buy him a sandwich, but once an agency exists that is tasked with buying homeless men sandwiches; it needs the homeless men to exist as ‘clients’ so that it can buy them sandwiches and buy itself steak dinners.

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