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Suddenly, we’re generous to a fault

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 16 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 16 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 16 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Suddenly, we’re generous to a fault (Guardian)

This is a very interesting piece, seemingly suggesting that many people have donated to the various charities supporting those caught in the Asian Tsunami are doing so for the glory and pride of doing so, rather than to actually support the people.

A new Populus poll for the Times has suggested such widespread eagerness to appear generous that avowals of altruism occasionally precede the actual act. Over the weekend 83% of the British public claimed that their household had made a donation to the earthquake appeal, the average sum being £33.28. Which, if true, would have added up to more than £800m. In fact, the sum raised by last Friday was a respectable, but more modest, £100m.

I certainly think that there is an element of this going on, though I suspect that it was bound to happen as soon as the celebrities got involved. Once one pop group support the charities, another looks bad unless they do the same. I’ve not seen this happen on a person-to-person level in the community, but perhaps that’s just me.

I personally worry about the amount of money given to this one campaign, and the money that has been diverted from other charitable campaigns. I think it would make more sense to highlight charities that are working in the areas and not have special campaigns, since this would mean that those on the front line in different emergencies can use the money most appropriately. That way, the money donated to this campaign could also be directed to the people dying of HIV and AIDS in Africa. But would people be as likely to donate? Probably not. Or maybe I’m just being cynical.

This 194th post was filed under: Tsunami 2004.

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