The Life You Can Save: Effective giving against extreme poverty

Reviews, Books

170909 Capturing Music
170904 How the Universe Got Its Spots
170808 The Quantum Divide
170731 Drawdown
170708 The New Urban Crisis
170617 From Mathematics to Generic Programming
170524 Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
170311 Red Rover
170225 Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
170123 The Life You Can Save: Effective giving against extreme poverty
170112 Contemporary Directions in Asian American Dance
161224 The Spy Who Couldn't Spell
161023 Los Angeles Union Station
160927 The Art of Learning
160903 Walkable City
160822 Ending Medical Reversal
160819 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
160815 Creativity: The Perfect Crime
160808 The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World
160726 Whatever Happened to the Metric System?
160706 Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England
160620 Audio Culture, Readings in Modern Music
160613 Decorating with Architectural Trimwork
160613 More Not So Big Solutions for Your Home
160416 This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things
160405 Half-Earth
160405 Birth of a Theorem
160321 How to Bake Pi
160319 Letters to a Young Scientist
160307 The Search for the Perfect Language
160307 Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance
160307 Black Hole
150303 Brioni
150303 Designing, Building, and Testing Your Own Speaker System
150303 This Changes Everything
150303 When Clothes Become Fashion
150303 Art Power
150117 How We Got to Now
150117 Cloudspotter’s Guide
150117 Pay Any Price
150117 Closet Smarts
150117 American Fashion
150117 Charles James
141108 The Extreme Life of the Sea
141108 Absolute Value
141108 Real Talk for Real Teachers
141108 Moving Through the Universe in Bare Feet
141108 The Dictionary of Fashion History
140919 Chanel
140919 A History of Men’s Fashion
140919 Fashion
140919 It’s All About the Dress
140919 Terpsichore in Sneakers
140909 Automotive Chassis and Body
140909 The Divide
140909 No Place To Hide
140909 The Code Book
140909 Missing Microbes
140621 The West Without Water
140621 Cool Tools
140621 Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money
140621 How Bad Are Bananas
140412 Climate Change
140412 The Ethics of Climate Change
140412 The Sixth Extinction
140412 A Perfect Moral Storm
140312 Climate Matters
140312 The Small Wood Shop
140312 Sustainable Energy
140312 Eating Animals
140312 We are the Weather Makers
140312 Now or Never
140312 How to Grow Fresh Air
140124 Mastery
140124 The Power Surge
140124 The Silent Pulse
140124 Delusions of Gender
140124 Stuff
140124 The Time of Music
131121 The End of Money
131121 Traffic
131121 Fresh Lipstick
130710 Just Being At the Piano
130710 The Castle
130710 Web of Debt
130710 Contagious
130710 Pension Fund Politics
130710 Ethical Markets
130710 The SRI Advantage
130710 Thinking, Fast and Slow
130710 The Fashion Reader
130413 Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire
130413 Kanjincho
130413 The Inner Game of Tennis
130413 The Creative Director
130413 Effortless Mastery
130413 Antifragile
130413 Steal Like An Artist
130413 A Universe From Nothing
130413 The Green Collar Economy
121231 Trust Me I’m Lying
121231 Turing’s Cathedral
121231 How Music Works
121231 What Money Can’t Buy
121231 How Much Is Enough?
121231 Notes and Tones
121231 Which Side Are You On?
121128 Basic MIG Welding Practices
121128 The Handplane Book
121128 Towards A Poor Theatre
121128 Drift
121128 Welder’s Handbook
121128 Imagine
121128 Working with Handplanes
121128 Mathematics
121128 Rethinking A Lot
121128 How Children Succeed
120901 Consent of the Networked
120901 The Man Who Quit Money
120901 Being Watched
120901 Clone of Workshop Math
120901 Workshop Math
120901 Choreography and the Specific Image
120901 The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty
120901 The Net Delusion
120701 Redirect
120701 iDisorder
120701 The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
120701 The Intimate Act of Choreography
120701 The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance
120701 The Art of Making Dances
120701 Predator Nation
120701 Flow
120701 Feelings Are Facts
120701 Free
120604 Make Space
120604 Canning for a New Generation
120604 Salted
120604 Making Ideas Happen
120604 Choreography Observed
120410 Adapt
120410 Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars
120410 The Creative Habit
120410 IBM and the Holocaust
120410 A Guide to the Japanese Stage
120410 Willpower
120410 Knocking on Heaven’s Door
111220 Creative License
111220 Using Drupal
111220 Program Or Be Programmed
111220 The Chairs Are Where the People Go
111220 But Will the Planet Notice
111220 Moby Dick
111022 The Art Instinct
111022 Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed
111022 Life Inc.
111022 Moonwalking With Einstein
111022 Physics for Entertainment
110917 The Warrior Diet
110917 Small Is Beautiful
110917 Learning OpenCV
110917 Freedom of Expression
110723 The Essential Touring Cyclist
110723 Practical Furniture Design
110723 The One Pan Gourmet
110723 Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook
110723 Designing Furniture
110723 The Perfect Edge
110723 Great Soul
110708 Decoded
110708 Einstein: The Life and Times
110708 The 4% Universe
110708 Celebration of Awareness
110708 In the Mirror of the Past
110708 The Workbench
110708 The Information
110509 The Happiness Project
110509 Michael Polanyi
110509 Organizing from the Inside Out
110509 Massive
110509 Against Method
110509 Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite
110509 Modern Spice
110509 Making Workbenches
110509 Treasure Chests
110509 The Workbench Book
110401 A Long Way Gone
110401 The Moral Landscape
110401 The Science of Good and Evil
110401 The Master Switch
110401 Piracy
101024 The Gift
101024 Common As Air
101024 Decoding the Universe
101024 Very Special Relativity
101024 The Shallows
101024 Shop Class As Soulcraft
101024 The Matchbox That Ate A Fourty-Ton Truck
101024 Payback
100828 Principles of Dance and Movement Notation
100828 Laban for Actors and Dancers
100828 Alphabet of Movements of the Human Body
100828 On the Count of One
100828 Dance Notation – The Process of Recording Movement on Paper
100828 Dance Writing Shorthand for Modern and Jazz Dance
100828 Movement Study and Benesh Movement Notation
100828 Your Move
100630 What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
100630 Healing with Whole Foods
100630 Beautiful Evidence
100504 The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint
100504 Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value
100504 Brain Rules
100504 The Ethics of Authenticity
100504 Virtual Music, Computer Synthesis of Musical Style
100401 The Art of Possibility
100401 Money for Nothing
100401 Ayn Rand and the World She Made
100401 Visual Explanations
100401 The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
100401 Envisioning Information
100401 Just Food
090709 Outliers
090709 Musicophilia
090709 This is Your Brain on Music
081227 home-construction (various)

The Life You Can Save: Effective giving against extreme poverty

The Life You Can Save: Effective giving against extreme poverty
Peter Singer
pub. 2009, 206p
source: LAPL

This book is exactly what I was hoping for; a thoughtful reflection on our charitable responsibities and well-researched info on where to direct our contributions.

For the first time since childhood, I find myself living in a beautiful home.  A recently-completed renovation has completely transformed Hiro and my apartment.  We now have fancy appliances and cabinets made from beautiful wood.  In undertaking the remodel, our hope is that we can buy nice things once, and make them last for the rest of our lives.  We hope to build a space that enables us to live efficient, careful lives and lessen our impact on the environment.

These are all good things, but I can't help feeling it's a bit selfish.  The gap between me and the homeless feels even more stark reflected in a new, no-fog shower mirror.  So, concurrent with this graduation into luxury, I hope to increase my ability to help the poor.  The Life You Can Save is exactly what I needed for ideas on how to do that.

Singer is a bioethics professor at Princeton University and writes in the field of "applied ethics".  In The Life You Can Save he tackles the ethical question of how much we should be giving, and to whom.  This NYTimes review is excellent, but to summarize their summary: 1) We Americans are not doing enough to help the world's poor.  2) Many aid organizations do great work.  3) Start with 1%.

Inspired by the book, I've begun contributing $20 monthly to Oxfam (roughly 1% of what I make), and my hope is to increase this annually to a more substantial percentage.  My goal is to include charitable giving in my purchase decisions, so that I might find expenses I can eliminate and direct that money to Oxfam.  It feels great to have begun the process and The Life You Can Save was instrumental!

 

notes

possible standards for giving

  • 1% - thelifeyoucansave.org suggested starting point
  • give until significant risk of worsening own life; Richard Miller
  • give until infringement on our own "intrinsically life enhancing goods"; Garrett Cullity
  • give according to a code that if all followed, would bring best outcome; Brad Hooker
  • 5% - reasonable base-line in The Life You Can Save
  • 25% - Singer's own current rate
  • 50% - 50% League
  • give until giving more would sacrifice something nearly as important as a child's life; Peter Singer