I don’t believe the world becomes a better place just by transporting money from one person to another. Usually, the people who benefit most from this are the people doing the transportation. They either call themselves “charity organizations” or “tax offices”, depending on their resourcefulness in taking my money. The poor generate lots of jobs for people who transport money. Unfortunately, it rarely improves the lives of the poor.
What improves lives is not transporting value, but generating value.
We generate value by exchanging things. I give something to you that is more valuable to you than to me. And you give something to me that is more valuable to me than to you. By exchanging things we generate value. We exchange two euros for an ice cream, a million for a yacht, or a movie ticket for a kiss.
I believe the poor can improve their own lives through trade, not charity. I feel fortunate that I can play a small role helping people to trade. With Kiva I can lend money to the poor. They trade. And then they pay me back. I don’t care that they’re not paying interest on the money I lend them, because for me the value is in the enjoyment. I read stories, I pick favorites, I lend money, I see progress, I feel good. And after a while I get my money back. Hurray, that means I can do it again!
I exchange value and generate productivity and positivity.