Dirty Money: Transactional Pagan Writings

Exploring Pagans and their relationship with that earthiest of earth symbols, money.

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Terence P Ward is a business writer and journalist who blogs under the rather cumbersome moniker of True Pagan Warrior.  He can generally be found at home, tending to his gardens and the many demands of his cats; in the alternative, follow TPW on Facebook

Comments

  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal Wednesday, 04 September 2013

    My personal experience has been that Pagans may be willing to donate their time or materials, but few are willing to donate cash. I think that people need to rethink the word "charity" anyway. Giving to any worthwhile organization should be considered charity, even if the cause is not typically a charitable one. For example, paying $100 to go to a local fetival is a charitable act, although you get something (entry to the event) and the group you are giving to may not be a recognized charity by the IRS. It is still charity and it is a great way for people in our Community to give back, although even with this view I think that giving of money is still quite rare in the Pagan Community, IMHO.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Wednesday, 04 September 2013

    I definitely agree with that! Defining "charity" is something I plan to trying to tackle, and I hope you'll weigh in, Carl.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Wednesday, 04 September 2013

    The tight fist of fear definitely keeps us from giving a lot more money.

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Wednesday, 04 September 2013

    Not Paganism specifically, but a general New Age concept that if you want to attract prosperity into your life you must be willing to participate in the flow of it to others. I am quite impecunious these days. My well-to-do Republican father, on the other hand (passed away in 1989), who became successful by the sweat of his own enterprise, basically donated to charity because he needed the tax write-off. I don't condemn that, however, as I wish I had the kind of money that lets Bill and Melinda Gates give so much to worthy causes. I respect them for it.

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Thursday, 05 September 2013

    Five points for making me look up a word, Ted!

    Sometimes I wonder if giving tax deductions for charitable contributions is actually helpful, or in fact reduces the time/effort/money/goods that people who have them might otherwise give to people who don't. Shortly thereafter, I find myself wondering if there's even a way to test that hypothesis. That's almost always followed by a sharp pain in my temples, a couple of ibuprofen, and a change of subject.

  • T
    T Saturday, 07 September 2013

    I recall (though sadly can't cite) this being a repeatedly reaffirmed trend. Heck, even Jesus has parable with an example of the poor giving more than the rich in terms of percentage of wealth.

    To stir the pot of thought (and can cite from an academic text!), there is a counter point to connection, where charity & giving can provide and reaffirm social connections & status. A great example can be the lavish potlatch traditions of Northwest Pacific Coast Tribes-- or the recent trend in advertising for companies to list the causes they contribute to (Dawn immediately comes to mind with its "Dawn Saves Wildlife" campaign). It draws on the idea that, if someone gives so much or gives to something very heartfelt, that they do have a great deal of resources and subsequently may have a great deal of authority. And authority can also subsequently lead to trust.

    Building off your gratitude point would be similarity & familiarity, where its been found (not surprisingly) people are more likely to give help to those that are close to them in some form. This includes similar appearance, background, and situation. Someone who has not directly experienced poverty or other hardship is less likely to give because they don't have that common ground. Further, for those that have experienced and do give, they may consciously or unconsciously see their action as 'protecting kin', and thereby ensuring the survival of 'their kind'. (This notion can get messy, as it dives into evolutionary psychology; fun stuff that can involve a lot of how the brain is 'overridden' by in-built predispositions, but it has its own dang field for a reason.)

    Finally, there's the concept of reciprocal aid: that which is given will be returned in time. Now, throughout many, many faiths we see this notion repeated in a variety of good, bad, and neutral terms. With those not-so-well-off, they may see that, by putting forth what they do that help or charity will be returned to them in some way. In contrast, the wealthy do not often need the assistance of charities, so that factor isn't there for them.

    Hopefully this adds to the discussion. :)

    (My information comes from a quick review of information found in Chapter 9 of Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction, 4th Ed. by Kenrick, Neuberg, and Cialdini.)

  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward Sunday, 08 September 2013

    I like the connection you draw between community and charity, T, particularly this remark: "Someone who has not directly experienced poverty or other hardship is less likely to give because they don't have that common ground." Your point is so very obvious that I never would have noticed it, had you not dangled it in front of me like that. Thank you!

    Potlach is an extraordinary concept, because it places economy into a broader, energetic context. By giving away large amounts of goods, I convert them into prestige for myself and my tribe. Prestige isn't worth much in and of itself, but ensures that my tribe will survive when things are tougher on my side of the forest, and it's your turn to give to me. My (rather ancient) recollection of the system tells me that there is a third step to the process, but I cannot bring it to mind at the moment.

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