Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The United States is the most charitable nation in the world

Something that, it seems to me, those of us who develop and offer Catholic-grounded critiques of American consumerism, individualism, exceptionalism, etc., etc., should at least keep in mind.  I can't help noting that some of the "Catholic" countries whose social practices and economic policies are often held up as models for the United States (France, in particular) do pretty badly.  I note also that the top 7 consist, basically (with one exception), of the "English-speaking peoples" (U.S., Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).


Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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It is about time someone reconized that the US is the most charitable country in the world. They do not call it a Christian Nation for nothing. It is in our DNA which God put there. You will also find from research that conservatives are more generous then liberals who believe that it's the governments problem.

Posted by: Susan | Jan 1, 2012 5:29:06 PM

An encouraging and underreported example of something we do well. The volunteering rate is especially heartening. But jumping to a simplistic story about virtuous conservative Americans versus global liberal-socialist hypocrites, as some do, is also misguided. We bounce around the top ten in these measures, but so do countries like Canada, the Netherlands, Great Britain, etc. with more developed welfare states. It is also important to keep in mind that the vast majority of charitable giving does not go to poor folks—it is to local churches, museums, political organizations, colleges, organizations our kids are in, etc. All of these are good things, but they don’t reduce poverty or get people basic health coverage. One of the hallmarks of Catholic Social Teaching is that charity and just social policies are not an either/or proposition—they are not opposed but complimentary. Government should not push aside civil society, but charity is not sufficient to insure a living wage, universal access to healthcare, adequate family leave policies, etc. either. So good news indeed, but it should not make us complacent about other global rankings where we do poorly on issues the Catholic social teaching consistently tells us matter (inequality, access to healthcare, imprisonment rates, and so on).

Posted by: Dave Cochran | Jan 2, 2012 11:30:54 AM

Actually it's Norway that is the most generous in terms of % of population and donations BY FAR over the USA, as testified by a Fr. Rossetti in his article about being a chaplain to the South Pole. Apparently he discovered this when he went to vist relatives in Trondheim Norway. The article was at the Spirit Daily news website before Christmas. He gave the actual % of foreign aid for each country. Of course, as to the PEOPLE of the USA in contrast to the government, that may be a different story.

Posted by: pete | Jan 3, 2012 2:12:55 AM