[FoRK] What Americans Do...

Luis Villa luis.villa at gmail.com
Tue Jan 4 20:56:43 PST 2005


On Wed, 05 Jan 2005 00:42:04 -0400, Owen Byrne <owen at permafrost.net> wrote:
> >While I'm not a huge fan of the WSJ, particularly their editorial
> >page, they point out that on average, individuals in the US give in
> >the range of 5-8 times as much money annually to charity as
> >individuals in western european countries, and that historically only
> >roughly 1/4th of American foreigh aid comes from the government- the
> >rest comes via individuals, foundations, religious institutions and
> >corporations. Anecdotally, for their respective red crosses in the
> >current disaster, Amazon.co.uk has raised $400K, Amazon.de has raised
> >$180K, amazon.ca has raised $64K, amazon.fr has raised $32K, and
> >Amazon.com has raised $14.2M. Even adjusted for net access and GDP and
> >such, that is fairly striking. And frankly, I trust the Red Cross to
> >do a lot better than the UN at distributing money. So, tossing some
> >broad blanket saying 'america(ns) is|are stingy' is not really
> >particularly accurate.
> >
> >Luis
> >
> >
> You're probably right, but it wasn't Jeff Bezos trying to step up and
> say Americans are once again leading the way - it was Colin Powell. I
> don't really think Americans are stingy, but I do think the people
> running your government are - not
> stingy - but have a particular lack of compassion and hatred of the poor.

Oh, sure. I mean, I'm the last to defend Bush & co. The current bump
in direct US government aid is a completely cynical PR move to counter
all the other stupid things we've done in the past five years. You'll
find no disagreement here on that.

I'm just pointing out that even if the US government had done nothing
after its original offer, the criticism of America(ns) as stingy would
have been bullshit, given that on average Americans are provably
substantially more giving personally (and in toto) than Western
Europeans. There will be no headlines saying 'Amazon gives as much as
many small governments'... maybe the average American needs a PR firm.

Luis


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