We in the western world always have spare money.
We all forget how hard things can be.
"We in the western world" is a bit sweeping. I know people with no spare money. I just today heard from a neighbour that my predecessor in this house, a woman whose husband walked out on her and three young children, spent the winter of 2009/10 wrapped in duvets as she could not afford the heating. She might in theory have been entitled to social services, or in theory have been entitled to payments from her husband, but clearly that did not happen. Yet someone passing outside would consider it a prosperous-looking house. Sell the house you say? She did; in fact she had been trying to sell it ever since her husband went two years earlier. You just don't know what suffering goes on behind closed doors.
You also have much greater optimism about the economic future of the western world than many people do, with today south Asia, and no doubt parts of Africa tomorrow, fast overtaking us, leaving the UK little but Scotch Whisky and the last dregs of the North Sea oil to sell in exchange for the manufactured goods needed to live in an overcrowded island unable to grow enough food for itself. Will they
be sending us charity in 100 years from now - or will it not be in their philosphy?
wyliecoyoteuk wrote:This man
should be an inspiration to us all.
I am in two minds about that guy, Toby Ord. Interview kept referring to Bill Gates as an inspiration, but it is unclear whether Ord himself said this. We might be impressed by Gates' payments but should not
be impressed by Gates himself : he has given (I believe) $1 billion, but still leaving a personal wealth of ~$55 billion, more than it would be physically possible to spend on himself in the rest of his life. He is following a well trodden path set by Rockefeller, Carngie and other shady and ruthless businessmen who, before they died, got worried about how history would remember them. I have always said that Gates would impress me only if he gave away such as to leave himself with no more than the average citizen.
Toby Ord is far more impressive than Gates in that he has made a significant dent in his own lifestyle. Or has he? I have known those donnish types. Their working and social lives revolve around the academic world and they have little use for money apart from subsistence. They are not interested in cars, clothes, yachts, holidays, etc. So I suspect he would have lived like he does anyway.
He says "someone in the UK suffering from severe depression has possibly a worse life than people I help in Africa or South Asia but it turns out that it's really difficult to help that person, but much easier to help the person abroad."
Has he never heard of the NSPCC for example? Or is it an example of the popular western conscience-saver, to point to the other side of the world as to where the troubles are and to be in self-denial about anything wrong near home. I recommend Charles Dicken's "Bleak House", Chapter 4, "Telescopic Philanthropy". Or is it the "Just toss money at them" attitude as a "solution"? Someone in the article made a good point that these charities value your time more than your money - except for the middlemen like Jeffery Archer perhaps.