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Giving one per cent

June 9th, 2011

While we are on the subject of charitable giving, a reader has sent in a link to the Giving one percent website of a non-profit group trying to create a culture of charitable giving. Well worth a visit!

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  1. may
    June 10th, 2011 at 13:05 | #1

    dear JQ,

    has any one ever counted how much money is donated to the gnp by voluntary donations and work?

    or is this an idiotic question?

  2. John Quiggin
    June 10th, 2011 at 13:16 | #2

    It’s a sensible question, and people have looked at it, though I would say that any index number (including the standard measure of real GDP) is inherently imprecise. Here’s one example


  3. Ikonoclast
    June 11th, 2011 at 08:12 | #3

    To some extent, much promotion of philanthropy is bound up with right wing denial of the role of legitimate and adequate social welfare provision by the social democratic state. Philanthropy of this kind is a bourgoise bandaid, window dressing and conscience salve for the exploitative and oppressive class. Rather than being misled by these tactics of misdirection, we should be recovering citizen democracy from its corporate buyout and establishing the rights of workers over the machinations of finance and corporate capital.

  4. Ikonoclast
    June 11th, 2011 at 15:03 | #4

    JQ, I apologise for the above post. Please feel free to delete it from here. I realise now it is inappropriate for this thread where you are demonstrating your own philantrhropic credentials and promoting a named charity. It might be appropriate in a weekend reflections thread as a general philosophical/ideological critique of some aspects of charity in bourgoise society, but not here. Sorry about that.

  5. adelady
    June 13th, 2011 at 09:55 | #5

    Funny about that “power” to change lives. Seeing it is a powerful thing.

    My mother and her mates knit rugs to donate to charity – knitting is good for old arthritic fingers and the time ‘taken’ for the work is actually making good use of leisure time. The yarn is cheap and easy for pensioners to add in to their shopping a couple of times a month.

    Instead of waiting for them to be picked up, we took a few bags of them to a charity shop the other day. And the lady behind the counter called over a family with 3 cute little kids we hadn’t seen at the back of the shop – and gave a few to them. So mum went back and told all her knitting friends and …. they’re all knitting furiously. More yarn, more knitting, more rugs – can’t have little kiddies being cold at night can we.

    The feeling that we’re doing something really good for real people is a powerful thing.

  6. Mark
    June 13th, 2011 at 21:37 | #6

    John – thanks for the link – I really appreciate it. Glad you liked the site!

    Ikonoclast – the short answer to your critique is that Giving One Percent primarily advocates donating to charities that perform life-saving anti-poverty work outside Australia … in other words, situations where Australian social welfare – adequate or not – is never going to reach.

    Adelady – this is perhaps a good example of science telling us what we already know, but there’s a ton of psychological research that concludes that altruism is one of the most effective methods of achieving personal happiness. (Of course, the Buddhists have known this for millenia!)

  7. ajb3
    June 20th, 2011 at 13:51 | #7

    The concept of charitable giving is a nice idea (and I donate 5% of my income to specific causes, as advised by philosopher Peter Singer) but I think the causes of poverty lie in the capitalist system so the only useful place to put one’s donation is in the revolutionary/socialist movement. So yes, that’s where my money goes – to the socialist party that I think is most able to achieve social change (by a mass uprising of workers) as we’re seeing across the Middle East and now in Greece.

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