There are charities for saving lives (call it type A). Then there are charities (do we call them that, though?) for making lives worth living (type B). There’s a subtle difference. Most people agree that charities for saving lives from things like malaria and malnutrition (A) are more worthwhile than those for supporting the symphony or the arts (B).
When type A initiatives are successful, they result in more lives that need saving from the same problems. This is not an improvement. If we think of charity as an investment in a better world, then type A gives negative returns.
Now, consider type B. I value those more because a thing of beauty is a joy forever.
In fact, B doesn’t even have to be a charity. It can even be an ostentatious display of wealth, like Hearst Castle:
But it’s a better way to spend money because the beauty of the result will bring joy to countless others forever. Just think of what the Medici money did for the Italian Renaissance. Positive return on investment.
This is how I use my infallible logic to argue that consumerism is morally superior to feeding starving orphans. You’re welcome.