Thursday, December 30, 2004

On donations to charity

The mainstream media seem to be getting a bit uppity about the level of donations to the Tsunami relief made by America.

The Scotsman:
But the US has so far only pledged £18 million despite being seven times richer than Britain.

The problem with this is that government pledges are less than one half of the equation. With one US business alone collecting nearly $4m, and individuals also pledging millions directly to charities, the implication of meanness by Amercans in the linked article is indefensible. I've always thought that the tendency of Europeans to congratulate themselves on their generosity based on the level their governments spend on overseas aid is silly. It's hardly generosity when you are compelled to pay up! Generosity is when you put your hand into your own pocket and hand over your hard-earned cash in person.

It's interesting that none of the Amazon operations outside the US (in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Canada) seem to have set up a Tsunami relief operation. Perhaps management thought people in these countries were too stingy?