Charity relies on the whims and 'kindness' of people with money to donate - when it should be social responsibility. Charity is inherently arrogant, it says 'I have money, I'm a good person, so I'll give it to others". It shouldn't work like that, helping others should be obligation, it should be law, and it's incredibly arrogant to think otherwise. Of course, even people who donate large sums of money to charity disagree. They donate because they want to look impressive to others (it's accepted that very high earners should have a constant stream of money going to charity, it's just "what you do") or because they like the feeling they get from doing it - they like thinking "I'm a good person" and "People are getting a better life because of me", basically a big ego trip. Charity is like a business in that sense - it's selling you good feelings.
And why should you decide who is most worthy of receiving money? So your mother died of cancer = cancer charities are worthy. You see a particularly heartbreaking Oxfam advert = Oxfam are worthy. You watch a Children in Need special = Children in Need is worthy. It's all down to the whims of people - and that's not how it should be at all. It's selfish to suggest that because some cause appealed to you in an emotional way, it's the one that most deserves money. The worth of causes should not be decided by emotions - that's a terrible thing - their worth should be decided by facts - which causes can be tackled effectively, where would money be wisely spent etc. It just means that well-publicised and 'glamorous' charities are given to the most - those who shout loudest win. Whilst unglamorous causes get left with little funding, doesn't seem terribly fair, does it? And it works on a social level as well. It seems nearly everyone here (kind of, other than me) are champions of democracy (DEMOCRACY! YAY!). But charity works on a level that Mrs CEO gives £100,000 to Charity A, whilst Mrs Postwoman gives £10 to Charity B. So those with the most money are making the decisions - they're deciding who to help, who to save. Surely the idea of democracy is to take power away from the wealthy and to the many, and that is impossible to achieve with a charity structure.
Charity lacks understanding, and further, it absolves the need for understanding. You donate, and that is the end of things, you can sit back happily knowing that you're helping someone somewhere in some way. As some religious person said "charity is no substitute for justice withheld" - charity gives government the okay to wash their hands of causes. It absolves their responsibility - and it always should be the responsibility of the government to provide for it's people, it should be set-in-stone absolute, not down to people to do what they like, when they feel like it.
Finally, charity is inherently unhealthy. The relationship between the provider and the receiver is wrong. People give money and think "someone's going to be really grateful for that", it's the same way Oxfam tell you to sponser a child, and then they'll send you a letter telling you just how thankful they are for your generosity. This fits into the first ego-trip category as well, but also into further establishing the hierarachy. The idea of being a 'provider' is unhealthy, and shows a complete lack of understanding - people should get what they deserve and not have to feel in any way thankful - most things charities cover should be basic rights.
Nearly all charities, even 'development' ones, are inneffective. They throw money at short term solutions, even ones that consider themselves different really aren't much better. The latter send off waterpumps and schools to be built, doctors to be trained - but in the existing structure, it's mostly worthless. It advocates survival. It says 'here, you have water, and you have medicine, be happy' as if people in poorer countries have no more ambition than to live beyond their thirtieth birthday. It sets them apart from 'us', it almost makes them inhuman - even when giving them schools to build and run themselves - it seems almost like keeping a pet. The idea that they think in totally bizarre ways, that they wouldn't be introduced to watches, and video games and cars and think "hell yes" - that they'd just nod in acceptance and get on with 'just living'. Ultimately, when dealing with poverty, and often even when not, it's just a system to keep the poor in their place. It doesn't really have any intention of changing things, if it did, it would cease to exist, it would realise it was wasting time and resources, it would realise it was a terrible system, an unequal system. Charity as a concept would die, and the actual changes needed for any good could hapen. Amen.
Okay, that was remarkably tiring to write, so start picking holes, and I'll get on with apologising or defending or whatever it is I do.