• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Underselling Donation

    November 23rd, 2012
    giving  [html]
    I just read Esther Katcoff's article on her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay. After her iPod broke she was hit with a wave a guilt over the prospect of buying a new one when there were people who had so little. While she decided not to buy one:
    I couldn't just donate the money saved. I was an Urban Studies major. I knew about the complications of development work, the band-aid solutions, the causes that just sound good, the charity that unmotivates the beneficiaries, the money that doesn't always reach the ground. The only way, I told myself, the only way is to understand completely what the people need to fish themselves out of their lake.

    I tell people I joined the Peace Corps to understand what it means to be poor, but that's just part of the story. I joined the Peace Corps to figure out how to escape the guilt of having so much while other people have so little.

    The rest of the article is her struggling with the guilt of having more than the people around her while in Paraguay. Reading this makes me sad in the same way as the story of Charles Gray: in both cases they worked hard and sacrificed a lot along an approach that offered a poor tradeoff between self-sacrifice and others-benefit.

    While the donation complications she brings up ("band-aid solutions", "causes that just sound good", ...) are real, you can avoid them by choosing good charities. This lets your money have an effect that is, on balance, strongly positive.

    How can we get earning to give to be more widely considered as an option?

    Comment via: google plus, facebook

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    Austerity is Inefficient

    Working on an emergency timetable for regional rail has made it clear how an environment of austerity requires tradeoffs that reduce efficiency. I already talked about how the Swiss electronics before concrete slogan is not about not spending money but ab…

    via Pedestrian Observations February 27, 2021

    Fireside Friday, February 26, 2021

    Fireside this week, but next week we are diving into our long awaited series on pre-modern textile production, though we will be particularly focused on the most important clothing fibers in the Mediterranean world, wool and linen (rather than, say, silk …

    via A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry February 26, 2021

    The Troubling Ethics of Writing (A Speech from Ancient Sumer)

    (Translated from a transcript of an ancient Sumerian speech by Uruk's most well-respected Scriptological Ethicist) Writing is a profoundly dangerous technology: Access to writing was initially, and still remains, uneven. What's worse, the rich are m…

    via BLOG - Cullen O'Keefe February 15, 2021

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact