2021 December 25
There’s a lot of opportunity for well-off, altruistic people to make the world a better place by redistributing their money. Donating $4,500 to global health interventions via GiveWell will save a life. It’s terrible that people are dying of cheaply preventable causes, but the flip side is that if you have extra money, you can play a role in negating those causes. And if you believe that you can do even more good by donating elsewhere, that means that if your beliefs are correct, you’re saving or improving lives at even lower cost. To me, this is empowering: I don’t have to feel helpless in the face of all the bad things in the world, and I don’t have to first wait for systemic change or ask for permission to start giving money.
I’ve pledged to donate at least 10% of my income and hope to donate more than that. Of course, how much you can give is constrained by your financial situation. If you have high-interest debts or don’t have much excess money after covering basic expenses and budgeting for future plans, then you should focus on paying your bills. And of course, donating money is not the only or even primary way to contribute to the world. I’m lucky to be financially comfortable and just think that committing a portion of my money to charity is the right choice for me and is something many other people might be interested in doing.
Knowing about other people’s donations has encouraged me to donate money, so I hope this post will push someone else in the same direction.