Sunday, December 22, 2013

donation time!

I almost never give to people on the streets. I think my logic is very flawed (irrational fear I'm being taken for naive idiot (does my chinese-american culture play into this?)), but it's habit by now. I will redress my beliefs at some point in the near future with more research.

In the meantime as I've graduated college and started to become an adult, it's time to consider contributing to organizations I believe in. It's also true I shouldn't be thinking about this just once a year, but I think I'll take this step first and then worry about how morally correct or hypocritical all my actions are.

In part this self-reflection is triggered by this really funny and sobering TED talk:
"In one of the studies, we bring in rich and poor members of the community into the lab and give each of them the equivalent of 10 dollars. We told the participants that they could keep these 10 dollars for themselves, or they could share a portion of it, if they wanted to, with a stranger who is totally anonymous. They'll never meet that stranger and the stranger will never meet them. And we just monitor how much people give. Individuals who made 25,000 sometimes under 15,000 dollars a year, gave 44 percent more of their money to the stranger than did individuals making 150,000 or 200,000 dollars a year."

To that end:
(some research that I then ignore)

I live in Boston/Somerville:
These issues affect people I know:
That's it for today. Man, it sort of sucks that for all of these online donations at least 3% of it goes to credit card companies. Oh well, price of living.
 
Future research:
http://blog.ted.com/2013/05/20/20-resources-for-better-giving-and-living-a-more-altruistic-life/
Peter Singer is pretty controversial in that he proposes that "Effective altruism begins with reason – the realization that all lives are of equal value — and looking for charities that affect the most lives, the most effectively." People (myself included) always get squeamish when we start applying economics to giving.

He started this site where people pledge to give 10% of their income:
http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/

with some more (interesting!) philosophizing here, where he answers thoughtful questions by readers:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/24/magazine/24singerqa.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0