Portfolio.com has an interesting article on the link between charity and personal wealth:
In John Bunyan’s 1684 classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, the character Old Honest poses this riddle to the innkeeper Gaius: “A man there was, tho’ some did count him mad, / The more he cast away, the more he had.” Gaius solves the riddle thus: “He that bestows his Goods upon the Poor / Shall have as much again, and ten times more.”
Less poetically, the idea is this: Giving makes you rich. A lovely sentiment, to be sure, but quite backward-sounding to an economist. You obviously have to have money before you can give it away, right? Or in the pithy words of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, “No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions—he had money too.”
Well, it turns out that Gaius was right, and new economic research backs him up. Emerging evidence—crunchy statistics from real data, not the mushy self-help stuff—supports the contention that giving stimulates prosperity, for both individuals and nations. Charity, it appears, can really make you rich.