Author Topic: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?  (Read 3849 times)

scrubbyfish

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how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« on: April 04, 2015, 10:18:06 PM »
I've pondered this all my life, and have done and still do everything I can think of in that direction. I like acting within my home, locally, regionally, and globally, but genuinely feel I'm already doing my "most effective" stuff in the first three. I'm wondering if there's more a person can do, so would like to hear YOUR thoughts/ideas on the most effective way to use money to resolve terrorism, murder by airplane, war, etc? I give through KIVA and some other approaches, but obviously it's not resolving everything.

Of course this is a mighty question, and I realize many over the eons have been trying to do it. But I think Mustachians are a smart and groovy crew, coming up with unique and effective ways to change stuff that many say cannot be changed.

So, what are your ideas?

ETA: Some posts in, I changed the thread title from "...terribleness" to "...terrorism", as that's the piece I'm really wondering about.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2015, 12:29:27 AM by scrubbyfish »

Ricky

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2015, 10:42:09 PM »
Define terribleness.

I don't mean to sound so pessimistic, as I realize much of the world is destitute (and the world as a whole needs to come together and fix these unnecessary issues)  but I don't think money or security will ever solve all issues.

Once you are "secure" in life, you have more time to ponder existential thoughts which are potentially dangerous. When you don't have to worry about anything you actually start worrying about everything.

That is to say money and security isn't everything. Sometimes we are happier and perform at our best when we are least secure, since there's no such thing as 100% security anyway.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 10:44:06 PM by Ricky »

swick

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 10:43:10 PM »
I think it comes down to knowing your own strengths, skills, resources and interests and thinking outside the box for how to apply them - and just reaching out to other people. That  step can produce some really neat results.

One of the things that has really bothered me was watching everything that was happening in Syria and all the mis-information in the west or just plain ignorance. Peoples thoughtless comments really bother me, I felt like people just didn't get it. Syria is one of my favorite places, I feel a deep connection to the land and the people. I wanted to show people why it mattered to me, so I decided to put on a show of my travel photography in our local art gallery on the 4th anniversary of the conflict.

I wanted it to really hit home so I did a bunch of research and compared death numbers to towns and cities in BC and in Canada. In the process of my research I came across a newly formed Canadian group who had doctors traveling to Syria and organizing medical training and humanitarian aid called the Canadian Medical Relief Organization. I wrote a fax to the Doctor in charge, and to my surprise, he called me the next day. He and a colleague had just gotten back from Syria and had some very harrowing tales to share. They ended up sending me some pictures of their work, the bombed out hospitals and villages, the children and people, the affect of war on the landscape, and said I could use them in my show. Many of the pictures where haunting, beautiful, devastating.

I organized the show so it started with my travel photography, the "before" pictures, used a shot of Krak des Chevaliers getting bombed as the transition picture (placed right after my photos of the place) which moved into the pictures the doctor had provided, and information about the work they were doing and how people could get involved. For opening night I made a bunch of Syrian dishes and invited our community out. The show was up for 15 days and we raised over $1,000 in donations. For our small community it was a sizable amount considering most people who came to the show didn't know where Syria was before they saw the show.

I think the first step is education, because we can't change what we don't understand. Then I really think that reaching out to other people and finding complimentary people, organizations and ideas so we  can make a bigger impact then each of us alone. Also - not falling into the thinking that as one person you can't do anything in the face of such massive hardship - because you can be the catalyst for something bigger then yourself.

scrubbyfish

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2015, 10:49:37 PM »
Holy shit! Awesome already!!

I've been pondering starting this thread for some time -weeks? months? longer?- but was reluctant to bring up such a sad topic, or to hear too much naysaying.

Instead, right off the bat, I read (a) a thoughtful philosophical reply, and (b) a detailed post of direct activity. Freakin' awesome.

Swick, that's really neat, what you came up with!! Fills my heart. (I'm involved with a group sponsoring a refugee family from Syria.)

scrubbyfish

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 10:50:45 PM »
Define terribleness.

terrorism, murder by airplane, war, etc

deborah

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2015, 11:00:12 PM »
ScrubbyFish, are you trying to receive the award for the person who asks the largest number of most difficult questions - what a curler!

We need to make societies more inclusive - this has been shown to assist mightily. As citizens of two of the most successful multicultural societies in the world (Canada and Australia), we should have better answers to this question than others. But I'm not sure about the Australian answers. We are currently in the process of closing 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia - basically reducing the ability of numbers of our indigenous people to maintain contact with their land. At the same time we are intending to include them in the constitution!

My mother always has several children she supports in Africa through World Vision. Education (especially for girls) and medicine seem to be good ways to assist.

swick

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2015, 11:05:17 PM »
:) Thanks, scrubbyfish.  If they ever open adoptions up for Syrian orphans, we'll be the first in line.

It's a good topic worthy of discussion. Money is a tool and it can make a difference. War and conflict aside, even just being aware of how your personal spending decisions can impact others is a good place to start. Are you supporting sweatshops, modern slavery or human rights violations without knowing it?

It is a rabbit hole, but it starts with educating yourself.  Now this is where I see mustachians having some real power. We already consume less, but then there is the sticky question of index fund investing and being vested in companies that you are morally opposed to. I have no answers for that. Does the freedom that investing can provide allow you to personally do more in your own sphere of influence and does that balance out? I'm not sure. Those answers I do not have.

arebelspy

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2015, 11:05:57 PM »
So here's the thing: it will be up to you to decide your personal ethos and ethics.

For example, regarding the OP, I personally think Kiva is not only not good, but is actively harmful, and I think acting locally is way overrated, especially if you live in a developed (Western) country.  You can do so much more of an impact elsewhere (e.g. The Life You Can Save).

But if you think those things are good, great!  Do them.

Each of us must define our own path towards meaning and impact. Make yours your own. Not some other Mustachians.

I have lots of ideas regarding reducing entropy (helping fight terribleness), but they may or may not align with yours. That's okay. If we each do ours, we'll hopefully have the impacts we desire. :)

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arebelspy

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2015, 11:07:55 PM »

I've been pondering starting this thread for some time -weeks? months? longer?- but was reluctant to bring up such a sad topic, or to hear too much naysaying.

We've had some extensive discussions, thanks to the forum moral compass, Sol.  I think several big ones were in summer 2013, before you joined. They may be worth looking up and reading since you're interested in this topic. :)
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scrubbyfish

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2015, 11:38:10 PM »
Make yours your own. Not some other Mustachians.

Oh, I'm never in danger of adopting someone else's.

I have lots of ideas regarding reducing entropy (helping fight terribleness), but they may or may not align with yours. That's okay. If we each do ours, we'll hopefully have the impacts we desire. :)

Yes! We will all have our own values, ideas, etc -I know some people are shocked about my non-belief in some approaches. We each develop our own ideas through reading, travels, experiences, relocation, family history, etc, but also through discussion with others.

So in this thread I'm hoping to hear what people's ideas/beliefs are about what creates real change, not so I can automatically adopt them, but to consider new ideas, generate more creativity on my end, etc. So, here's hoping I get to hear yours!

I definitely see lots to do locally -all the people bullied because of disabilities, or people with no dental care such that they cannot eat food, or people lying on the wet streets of Vancouver. Lots. But I'm not sure how to prevent wars and other acts of terrorism, even though I believe they are often (though not always) bred in money-related issues such as malnutrition, lack of personal land space, barriers to effective medical care, etc.

Regarding KIVA, I've read and explored several for/against discussions so, yeah, I know there is definitely no more consensus on that than on anything else. I ultimately decided to continue with it at this point, but I'd be very keen to hear what folks do feel creates positive change.

arebelspy

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2015, 11:54:19 PM »
I'd be very keen to hear what folks do feel creates positive change.

Fair enough - I sort of only criticized and mentioned everyone has to develop their own, without some suggestions.  Thanks for the positive reminder.  :)

For me, two big things:
1) Giving to causes I believe in (especially in relation to human rights I feel strongly about -- for me personally that's things like the EFF, ACLU, etc.), and
2) Giving to those who have very little (i.e. direct giving in poor countries, not "lending" to them at usurious rates).  I have a friend living in Senegal right now who just raised money to dig a well at the local school to provide water for the community.  She posts pictures of the people in that town and the work they're doing.  It's quite a difference they are making.

Women's literacy in developing countries I also feel has a disproportionately large positive impact compared to the dollar amounts.  The impact just ripples out within their families and communities, raising the standard of living, reducing poverty, crime, etc.
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deborah

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2015, 12:04:03 AM »
One problem is that people in rich countries are into things like the locavore movement and trade barriers, that are actually quite bad for the environment and for poor countries. For instance, many foods are better overall for the environment when they come from a country in South East Asia (even though there are a number of food miles involved) than when they are grown in a cold country (USA, Canada, UK) because of the amount of pesticides, fertilizer, water and fuel used in more marginal country.

arebelspy

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2015, 12:07:13 AM »
One problem is that people in rich countries are into things like the locavore movement and trade barriers, that are actually quite bad for the environment and for poor countries. For instance, many foods are better overall for the environment when they come from a country in South East Asia (even though there are a number of food miles involved) than when they are grown in a cold country (USA, Canada, UK) because of the amount of pesticides, fertilizer, water and fuel used in more marginal country.

Wholeheartedly agree.
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scrubbyfish

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2015, 12:27:34 AM »
Great stuff! This is the kind of thing I was hoping to hear. (i.e., It doesn't matter if today I agree or disagree with anyone else's idea, I just want to be hearing them at all!)

Some of my favourites:
  • Instead of buying, say, $20,000 worth of TB medicine, leverage that money to gain a massive bulk-buying discount and heal way more people, or to demand a discount on its cost to everyone (Partners In Health)
  • buy goats, etc, for people so they can have milk, cheese, sell the excess, eventually eat the meat, etc
  • buy water buffalos for people, so they can harvest way more rice using way fewer human calories
  • support eye surgeries, so people can read, farm, etc (Operation Eyesight)
  • sponsor whole families/villages to thrive in their location
  • sponsor people (refugees) into our neighbourhoods
  • from a refugee transition point, teach the language of the country they are moving to, so they have opportunities there
  • give or lend money so people can start or increase self-employment
  • buy fairly-traded items
But...Are there any direct actions that are proposed to potentially prevent or turnaround terrorism when things have gotten that far??

I'm inclined to replace the word terribleness with terrorism in the thread title, as that's the piece I'm really wondering about these days.

scrubbyfish

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Re: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2015, 12:41:12 AM »
Looked up EFF, ACLU, and "marginal country". Good learning! (Didn't manage to narrow down the last one, so if you can define that for me, deborah, I'd be grateful! I feel like I should be able to get it from context, but I'm not.)

Also, I mentioned once in my journal my delight in an article explaining how when a group of women were asked what intervention they needed to end the form of terrorism called survival sex, they said "a fence". An electric fence keeping the creatures (elephants??) out of their food garden allowed them to harvest full crops thus live freely. A fence!

arebelspy

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2015, 12:52:25 AM »
I'm inclined to replace the word terribleness with terrorism in the thread title, as that's the piece I'm really wondering about these days.

Terrorism isn't a blanket thing.  We (over)use that word to mean many different things.

Often we call something "terrorism" that isn't at all.

And different actions that are all terrorism have different root causes, so one thing may not address them.

I do think supporting women's rights is helpful in general:
Quote
Over the past decade, significant research has demonstrated what many have known for a long time: women are critical to economic development, active civil society, and good governance, especially in developing countries. Focusing on women is often the best way to reduce birth rates and child mortality; improve health, nutrition, and education; stem the spread of HIV/AIDS; build robust and self-sustaining community organizations; and encourage grassroots democracy.
...
The United States, too, is increasingly embracing women's rights, as a way not only to foster democracy, but also to promote development, curb extremism, and fight terrorism, all core strategic objectives.
Source: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59896/isobel-coleman/the-payoff-from-womens-rights

But the terrorist group de jour that everyone's talking about is ISIS.  ISIS is not going to be "solved" by solutions as we've been talking here, as it's a fundamentally religious issue.  They believe what they are doing is right.  In other words, it doesn't matter what we do to improve lives over there, because they have what they believe is a mandate from God.

This article, though quite long, is quite useful in understanding them:
http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

That type of terrorism is fundamentally different than just "we're in a shitty situation, let's blow ourselves and others up," which can sometimes be solves with solutions like marrying them off: http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/23/love-in-the-time-of-terrorism/

This topic -- as written -- lends itself to charity discussion, rather than anti-terrorism methods. 

Either way, read the above two articles and then try to define what type of terrorism you want to combat, and maybe we can talk about methods that might work, but we might need to define some terms first to have a common understanding before we even start the conversation.  :)
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arebelspy

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Re: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2015, 12:54:06 AM »
Looked up EFF, ACLU, and "marginal country". Good learning! (Didn't manage to narrow down the last one, so if you can define that for me, deborah, I'd be grateful! I feel like I should be able to get it from context, but I'm not.)

I'm not sure what word she meant to type there, but basically she means in the country they're consumed in.  Growing them there is often sub-optimal than transporting them (even halfway around the world) in a place where growing them is a much better fit.
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deborah

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Re: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2015, 01:16:09 AM »
Marginal Country: This is a specific term where a particular agricultural crop/animal can be produced but the country itself is not really able to produce it in all years, and it is better if it is produced somewhere else. For instance in South Australia there is Goyder's line - see http://meandmybigmouth.com.au/goyder-line/ . A geologist (Goyder) mapped where wheat could and could not be grown because of the lack of reliable rainfall. When I was a child, Australia had more sheep than anywhere else in the world, but many of them were in marginal country (where you can only grow a few sheep per square kilometer), and the land devoted to sheep has gradually been reduced over the years. There are similar areas in the US where the amount of rain is minimal and the land really shouldn't be used for farming. The over-production of crops and/animals on marginal and is one of the major causes of desertification. The desertification of North Africa is laid at the Romans/Arab invaders door because of the extensive wheat cropping on marginal land in Tunisia and around that area - http://explorethemed.com/RomeAfrica.asp?c=1

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Re: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2015, 07:47:49 AM »
Marginal Country: This is a specific term where a particular agricultural crop/animal can be produced but the country itself is not really able to produce it in all years, and it is better if it is produced somewhere else. For instance in South Australia there is Goyder's line - see http://meandmybigmouth.com.au/goyder-line/ . A geologist (Goyder) mapped where wheat could and could not be grown because of the lack of reliable rainfall. When I was a child, Australia had more sheep than anywhere else in the world, but many of them were in marginal country (where you can only grow a few sheep per square kilometer), and the land devoted to sheep has gradually been reduced over the years. There are similar areas in the US where the amount of rain is minimal and the land really shouldn't be used for farming. The over-production of crops and/animals on marginal and is one of the major causes of desertification. The desertification of North Africa is laid at the Romans/Arab invaders door because of the extensive wheat cropping on marginal land in Tunisia and around that area - http://explorethemed.com/RomeAfrica.asp?c=1

New fact for the day for me.  Thanks for that, deborah!  :)
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swick

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2015, 08:38:10 AM »
I'm inclined to replace the word terribleness with terrorism in the thread title, as that's the piece I'm really wondering about these days.

Terrorism isn't a blanket thing.  We (over)use that word to mean many different things.

Often we call something "terrorism" that isn't at all.

And different actions that are all terrorism have different root causes, so one thing may not address them.

I do think supporting women's rights is helpful in general:
Quote
Over the past decade, significant research has demonstrated what many have known for a long time: women are critical to economic development, active civil society, and good governance, especially in developing countries. Focusing on women is often the best way to reduce birth rates and child mortality; improve health, nutrition, and education; stem the spread of HIV/AIDS; build robust and self-sustaining community organizations; and encourage grassroots democracy.
...
The United States, too, is increasingly embracing women's rights, as a way not only to foster democracy, but also to promote development, curb extremism, and fight terrorism, all core strategic objectives.
Source: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59896/isobel-coleman/the-payoff-from-womens-rights

But the terrorist group de jour that everyone's talking about is ISIS.  ISIS is not going to be "solved" by solutions as we've been talking here, as it's a fundamentally religious issue.  They believe what they are doing is right.  In other words, it doesn't matter what we do to improve lives over there, because they have what they believe is a mandate from God.

This article, though quite long, is quite useful in understanding them:
http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

That type of terrorism is fundamentally different than just "we're in a shitty situation, let's blow ourselves and others up," which can sometimes be solves with solutions like marrying them off: http://thefederalist.com/2014/09/23/love-in-the-time-of-terrorism/

This topic -- as written -- lends itself to charity discussion, rather than anti-terrorism methods. 

Either way, read the above two articles and then try to define what type of terrorism you want to combat, and maybe we can talk about methods that might work, but we might need to define some terms first to have a common understanding before we even start the conversation.  :)

I totally 100% agree with everything that arebelspy says. The Atlantic article he suggests is the first one I recommend to everyone who starts making suggestions about what to do about ISIS...they are operating from a concept that is so foreign to western culture that everything that people suggests that seems like such a great idea to us is a really, really terrible idea.

Unfortunately we have a bad habit, historically of getting involved in the wrong way at the wrong times throughout history - usually by underestimating the "enemy" and  the political and social situation. ISIS would have never gotten a strong hold in the area if the west had gotten involved in Syria when it was primarily a humanitarian crises. 

Pulling dangerous political moves that foster communication between ISIS and Al-Qaeda shows a complete lack of understanding of the issues and could have caused a major, major issue. By having a policy that it is an "internal" issue when Muslims are killing each other and only getting involved when "Christians" are being murdered will mean that it will be too late.

I'm not a war monger, or for going in and enforcing our ideals and beliefs on another country or region, I think everyone NEEDS to educate themselves so they can be aware of the impact of the decisions our governments are making.

scrubbyfish

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Re: how can our money help resolve terribleness?
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2015, 09:02:18 AM »
Excellent, folks, thanks! This is the conversation I've been needing to have.

I realize now that except for within one specific group, which now doesn't meet again til fall, I don't bring this up IRL because I worry about distressing people by bringing in such awful topics. (I also hope to hear from as many brains as possible.)

Terrorism isn't a blanket thing.  We (over)use that word to mean many different things.

Often we call something "terrorism" that isn't at all.

And different actions that are all terrorism have different root causes, so one thing may not address them.


Yes.

I use the word selectively, though not with the same concept/limitation that Stephen Harper does -he tries to define for us what is and is not terrorism- and in regards to any action whose intention is to inflict terror (murder-suicide by plane, school shootings anywhere in the world, take-over of refugee camps, war on civilians, etc). That list of examples would make too long a thread title, though ;)

For this thread, I'm interested in hearing how we use our money to resolve any form of terrorism. As defined by any commenter works.

I will enjoy reading the the links and pondering the thoughts given so far!!

swick

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Re: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2015, 09:12:49 AM »
I use the word selectively, though not with the same concept/limitation that Stephen Harper does -he tries to define for us what is and is not terrorism- and in regards to any action whose intention is to inflict terror (murder-suicide by plane, school shootings anywhere in the world, take-over of refugee camps, war on civilians, etc). That list of examples would make too long a thread title, though ;)

For this thread, I'm interested in hearing how we use our money to resolve any form of terrorism. As defined by any commenter works.

On that note....using  our money to ensure that Harper is not in charge of our government would probably go a long, long way to ensure we have the freedom and autonomy necessary in OUR OWN COUNTRY to even be allowed to discuss these things...

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Re: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2015, 09:24:15 AM »
Use tax advantaged accounts and a long drawdown period (MFJ standard deduction and personal exemptions) to minimize your taxes.  That way your money doesn't end up going toward the next war we end up in.
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Re: how can our money help resolve terrorism/war/etc?
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2015, 10:05:24 AM »
Coursera tip: https://www.coursera.org/course/effectivealtruism

Thanks for posting. I did a different one awhile back that I got a lot out of.
https://www.coursera.org/course/changetheworld

Thanks for opening up this topic scrubbyfish. I have been reading and learning a lot about different opinions and way to help, and it gets overwhelming. I'd really like to help in girls education especially, to prevent poverty and human trafficking. I don't do as much as I could, because I don't know the best way to do that. It's something I want to focus on more with FIRE, especially if I am travelling to countries where it is a huge problem.