January 2nd, 2005

My wonderful Meg kitty.

(no subject)

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First thing's first: I haven't verified these numbers. I welcome corrections.

My understanding is that the number's gone up to $350 million which is still a pretty sad number, all things considered.

When I first heard people whining about this, I put it into perspective. The US is the single largest contributor to worldwide causes. Moreover, this is before counting private contributions. So, first off, these numbers are lying at least a little in that they aren't including all the other causes we regularly pour cash into.

My understanding is that compared to the gross product of other countries, our percentage of donations is relatively small. That's still a very large number though, so I find it hard to take that very seriously.

Of course, a few years ago, I remember reading a bit in Newsweek comparing charitable contributions of wealthy individuals like Bill Gates to contributions by the Rockefellers and other old-time capitalists. I recall that Bill Gates contributes something like 3% of his worth, whereas others were good for ~10%.

But again, these aren't trivial numbers, so it's hard to really take them seriously.