Self Interest: What Are the Differences Between Charitable Giving, Economic Interest and Political Interest?
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Self Interest: What Are the Differences Between Charitable Giving, Economic Interest and Political Interest?

To truly benefit from the art or act of giving, the gift as well as the giver must be pure of heart. This simple phrase as a religious tenet is extremely complicated. The precept, pure of heart on the surface seems unobtainable for most of us.

The concept of tithing has its roots in ancient philosophy and transcends all cultural lines. It is easy to say this without direct historical reference because the concept of caring is humanly encoded, a matter of the heart, and embedded in the natural collective. It is inherent in the psyche of modern man, the impetuous to germinate the direction needed to build a sense of community. The point is all cultures whether eastern, western and north or south, the natural evolution of the society led to an adoption of a practice of charitable giving. This is a basis in fact and the common reality of what it means to be humane.

The innate aspect of this intrinsic value is rooted in the instinctive precept of self preservation and is stronger than the false premise of survival of the fittest. It further goes against the grain lending to the disproof of the common belief tithing is a simple form of religious financial sacrifice of which the hardship is the sole basis warranting the giver some form of just reward. Such thinking is faulty, misconceived and at best convoluted.

To truly benefit from the art or act of giving, the gift as well as the giver must be pure of heart. This simple phrase as a religious tenet is extremely complicated. The precept, pure of heart on the surface seems unobtainable for most of us. The question becomes whether the donor’s work product, sources, operating environment or life motives are well intended. It is a matter of ethics. This goes to the necessity of giving with a correct and joyous heart. Yet as complex as these notions may seem they are the tenets of a simple truism governing maximum reward.

The following quote is taken from the rabbinical literature and is referenced in the Talmud, Jewish Bible. It is not consider one of the canonical works of the Bible by Protestant Christians but is accepted by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and the followers of the Church of England. The reference is subsequently found in the Septuagint and the Book of Sirach or Ecclesiastics.


[1] He that keepeth the law bringeth offerings enough: he that taketh heed to the commandment offereth a peace offering. [2] He that requiteth a goodturn offereth fine flour; and he that giveth alms sacrificeth praise. [3] To depart from wickedness is a thing pleasing to the Lord; and to forsake unrighteousness is a propitiation. [4] Thou shalt not appear empty before the Lord. [5] For all these things [are to be done] because of the commandment. [6] The offering of the righteous maketh the altar fat, and the sweet savour thereof is before the most High. [7] The sacrifice of a just man is acceptable. and the memorial thereof shall never be forgotten. [8] Give the Lord his honour with a good eye, and diminish not the firstfruits of thine hands. [9] In all thy gifts shew a cheerful countenance, and dedicate thy tithes with gladness. [10] Give unto the most High according as he hath enriched thee; and as thou hast gotten, give with a cheerful eye. [11] For the Lord recompenseth, and will give thee seven times as much. [12] Do not think to corrupt with gifts; for such he will not receive: and trust not to unrighteous sacrifices; for the Lord is judge, and with him is no respect of persons.

The book of Sirach is thought to be dated around the second century BC. So it has been around for some time. It may surprise some such sophisticated civil notions were enacted during those ancient times. These ideas are not purely religious in nature but govern aspects of civil accountability too. They are practices and beliefs guiding how to maximize the benefits of a divine contract associated with or linked to gift giving. Such acts not only go to the economic self interest of the individual but also point to civil responsibilities or a social contract. To be fully vested the oblation requires we work towards the common good of the community especially in times of economic distress. This same divine social contract requires we take care of the poor and the less fortunate which is not all inclusive or mutually exclusive of our communal obligation.

To ensure the health of the society requires we fight against corruption, promote in earnest well being and through acts demonstrate a commitment to combat against spiritual and physical disease of the body politic. It does take a village to educate a child, or ease the wounded heart of a widow or cure the infirmities of the sick. The summation is the art of giving is the seedling of the cure to all social maladies. The obligation is clear and the divine contract places a priority on who has standing in the highest court of appeal. The petitions of those who have the least supersede those who have plenty. Just as the gifts need to be wrapped in a wholesome and joyous armor the penalties if the common law of giving is disobeyed has social, spiritual and economic ramifications against those same haves.

Sir.35:13-20So the question, “What is the difference between charitable giving, economic self interest and political self interest?” The answer is riddled with nuance and subtleties. For each there is a micro definition but from a macro perspective hopefully by now it is apparent there is no difference. For Charitable Giving is at the core of economic and political self interest and raises the quality of life for us all.

[13] He will not accept any person against a poor man, but will hear the prayer of the oppressed. [14] He will not despise the supplication of the fatherless; nor the widow, when she poureth out her complaint. [15] Do not the tears run down the widow's cheeks? and is not her cry against him that causeth them to fall? [16] He that serveth the Lord shall be accepted with favour, and his prayer shall reach unto the clouds.

[17] The prayer of the humble pierceth the clouds: and till it come nigh, he will not be comforted; and will not depart, till the most High shall behold to judge righteously, and execute judgment. [18] For the Lord will not be slack, neither will the Mighty be patient toward them, till he have smitten in sunder the loins of the unmerciful, and repayed vengeance to the heathen; till he have taken away the multitude of the proud, and broken the sceptre of the unrighteous; [19] Till he have rendered to every man according to his deeds, and to the works of men according to their devices; till he have judged the cause of his people, and made them to rejoice in his mercy. [20] Mercy is seasonable in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the time of drought.

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