The Value Of A Dollar
How to give more effectively.
“We’re about one hundred times richer than the poorest billion people in the world, and we can do several hundred times more to help them than we can to help others in the rich countries we live in.” — William MacAskill
Food For Thought
The Value Of A Dollar
One dollar can deworm a child.
A dollar and a half can deliver a vitamin A supplement to a malnourished child.
Five dollars can purchase and distribute an insecticide-treated net to someone in need.
Seven dollars can provide a child with a four-month treatment of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention.
There’s a reason why our country and other developed nations no longer face extensive issues with malaria, child mortality, or parasitic worm infections; because these problems are cheap to treat or prevent.
Naturally, what we see is what we think about. This oftentimes confines our frame of thought to the relatively well-off world that is immediately around us. Our dollar can barely buy us a pack of gum anymore, let alone pay for any kind of disease treatment. Because we aren’t face-to-face with the poverty that plagues other nations, we forget that our dollar goes much further and has a much greater impact in developing countries.
According to William MacAskill in his book Doing Good Better:
“One additional unit of income can do a hundred times as much to benefit the extreme poor as it can to benefit you or I [earning the typical US wage of $28,000 or £18,000 per year]. [I]t’s not often you have two options, one of which is a hundred times better than the other. Imagine a happy hour where you could either buy yourself a beer for $5 or buy someone else a beer for 5¢. If that were the case, we’d probably be pretty generous — next round’s on me! But that’s effectively the situation we’re in all the time. It’s like a 99% off sale, or buy one, get ninety-nine free. It might be the most amazing deal you’ll see in your life.”
William also points out that:
“According to the most rigorous estimates, the cost to save a life in the developing world is about $3,400. This is a small enough amount that most of us in affluent countries could donate that amount every year while maintaining about the same quality of life.”
We share these numbers not to make you feel guilty. Instead, this is a call for you to realize the true value of your dollar.
Your dollar can have an impact. How, where, and why you spend or donate matters. You have the opportunity to save a life (or several). It may not look as heroic as running into a burning building, but you can be someone’s hero.
How do you determine what charities to donate to, how much you should give, and if the money you do give is even going to the cause those charities support? Elie Hassenfeld, co-founder and executive director of GiveWell, is here to shed some light on how to donate effectively.
GiveWell is a non-profit that conducts research and investigations into charitable organizations to determine which have the highest-impact. In this episode, Chad and Elie discuss the future of philanthropy and some things to keep in mind when you donate your time and money.
The Life You Can Save
“For the first time in history, eradicating world poverty is within our reach. Yet around the world, a billion people struggle to live each day on less than many of us pay for bottled water.”
Read Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save.
We recently rediscovered Flobots (shouts to Spotify for not letting us forget about some of our favorite artists)! 🎶🎶
If you haven’t heard them before, Flobots are a rap duo from Denver who sing over a full band and rap about societal and world issues. Here are a few of our favorite songs to get you started:
- Stand Up
- Panacea For The Poison
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See you again on the ‘morrow!
This was originally published on April 24, 2019 as the Mission’s daily newsletter. To subscribe, go here.
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