Thursday, June 18, 2009

The life you can save

I've just finished reading The Life You Can Save by Peter Singer. I'm unsure why his noggin is on the front of the book (it is not his life you are supposed to be saving). Anyway, in this book Singer presents arguments as to why it is morally wrong for those of us in wealthy countries to NOT give some of our wealth to save the lives of those living in extreme poverty.

Singer makes things very easy for us by publishing a matrix of the minimum we should be giving, based on level of income and purchasing power of your currency. Here is part of the matrix for Australia:

Income Bracket Donation
Less than 154 000 AUD At least 1% of your income, getting closer to 5% as your income approaches 154 000 AUD
154 001 AUD 218 000 AUD 5%
218 001 AUD 563 000 AUD 5% of the first 218 000 AUD and 10% of the remainder
563 001 AUD 883 000 AUD 5% of the first 218 000 AUD, 10% of the next 345 000 AUD and 15% of the remainder

He also recommends organisations to which you should donate. Some of the organisations use randomised control trials to ensure that donations are making a difference!

Now, I know I should donate my money to pay for cataract surgery for 5 impoverished people...

...instead of buying these

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