Samaritan's dilemma  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Samaritan's Dilemma refers to a dilemma in the act of charity. It was coined by economist James M. Buchanan. It hinges on the idea that when presented with charity, in some location such as a soup kitchen, a person will act in one of two ways: using the charity to improve their situation, or coming to rely on charity as a means of survival.

The argument against charity frequently cites the Samaritan's Dilemma as reason to forgo charitable contributions. It is also a common argument against Communism and Socialism, claiming that state aid is equivalent to charity, and that the beneficiaries of such aid will be slothful or otherwise negligent members of society.

See also


  • Buchanan, J. M. (1975): The Samaritan's dilemma. In: Altruism, morality and economic theory. In: E.S. Phelps (ed.), New York: Russel Sage foundation. Pp. 71-85.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Samaritan's dilemma" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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