Blandt de værste klicheer om effekten af det frie marked på almindelige mennesker hører anklagen om, at markedet skaber egoistiske og atomiserede individer, der alene tænker på sig selv og ikke er solidariske med deres medmennesker.
Særligt det amerikanske samfund bliver ofte anklaget for at være sådan skruet sammen. Virkeligheden er som så ofte ganske anderledes.
AP kan fortælle, at amerikanerne i 2006 gav næsten 300 milliarder dollars til velgørende formål, hvilket er rekord. Her lidt fra notitsen:
Donors contributed an estimated $295.02 billion in 2006, a 1 percent increase when adjusted for inflation, up from $283.05 billion in 2005. Excluding donations for disaster relief, the total rose 3.2 percent, inflation-adjusted, according to an annual report released Monday by the Giving USA Foundation atUniversity’s Center on Philanthropy.
Giving historically tracks the health of the overall economy, with the rise amounting to about one-third the rise in the stock market, according to Giving. Last year was right on target, with a 3.2 percent rise as stocks rose more than 10 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis.
“What people find especially interesting about this, and it’s true year after year, that such a high percentage comes from individual donors,” Giving USA Chairman Richard Jolly said.
Individuals gave a combined 75.6 percent of the total. With bequests, that rises to 83.4 percent.
The biggest chunk of the donations, $96.82 billion or 32.8 percent, went to religious organizations. The second largest slice, $40.98 billion or 13.9 percent, went to education, including gifts to colleges, universities and libraries.
About 65 percent of households with incomes less than $100,000 give to charity, the report showed.
“It tells you something about American culture that is unlike any other country,” said Claire Gaudiani, a professor at NYU’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and author of “The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism.” Gaudiani said the willingness of Americans to give cuts across income levels, and their investments go to developing ideas, inventions and people to the benefit of the overall economy.
[…]Americans give twice as much as the next most charitable country, according to a November 2006 comparison done by the Charities Aid Foundation. In philanthropic giving as a percentage of gross domestic product, the U.S. ranked first at 1.7 percent. No. 2 Britain gave 0.73 percent, while, with a 0.14 percent rate, trailed such countries as , , and .
Såfremt det overhovedet giver mening at tale om et begreb som sammenhængskraft, er ovenstående i mine øjne et langt bedre eksempel derpå end den tvangsmæssige “solidaritet”, som velfærdsstatens høje skatter angiveligt skulle medføre.