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Quote of the Day (February 28, 2009)

February 28, 2009

Quotemarks "Our current situation is the result of the uncorrected obsolescence of old ideas. The Puritans could not have foreseen charity's expansion to the status of industry. It wasn't until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that economic thought began to take its modern form. The Puritans didn't relate their personal beliefs to any theory of macroeconomics. We cannot afford such a luxury in the twenty-first century. Our personal beliefs create our macroeconomics, whether we realize it or not. The micro belief that compensation in charity should be limited has macro implications. When held by a critical mass of people, as it is now, it has a macro effect. The Puritans lived in an age when poverty and suffering were inevitable. We live in an age where these problems can be solved. They lived in an age when the donor, so to speak, gave directly to the needy. We live in an age when the donor hires others to provide services on behalf of the needy. The ideology that sufficed for one age will not work for another.

"The Puritans' gift to us was a strong ethic of charity. Our system of charity is more developed than that of any other nation on earth. But they also gave us the beginnings of another gift -- capitalism. Our task is to reconcile these two and build a new construction for addressing the world's most urgent needs. It is time for a charity born of reason. Does this mean that our charity must be devoid of feeling? That there is no place for love? No. Why must the presence of self-interest mean there is no love in our hearts? This is a Puritan idea. Its time has passed...."

-- Dan Pallotta, Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential

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  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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