This post brings us to the end of our Charity Symposium. Thanks to all contributors and commenters for sharing their thoughts and time for this, our most recent symposium. I certainly found it to be an interesting series of discussions that demonstrated nicely that charity is a richer topic than one might think at first blush.
Jason did a great job kicking things off, arguing that charity ought to be done in the most efficient manner possible. Jason’s well-reasoned post help set the tone for the symposium; it was definitely a great way to get started. He later offered a follow-up post providing more data to back up his point.
Rose created the single biggest discussion thread, offering a counterpoint to Jason’s inaugural post. She argued that a utilitarian calculus is not necessarily the best way to decide on the destination of your charitable givings. And maybe, just maybe, it is okay to give money to your school.
Feeling less philosophical, I wrote about giving money to my daughter for her to give to the panhandler near our home. I would say that I caught about as much flak as I thought I would… and that I was sympathetic to the idea that I deserved such flak.
Murali took us in a different direction and offered some thoughts on the most efficient ways for charities raise money. From the post and ensuing discussion, it is quite clear that charities must employ sub-optimal methods, if only because that is what so many people respond to (well, I guess that doesn’t make them sub-optimal, you’ll have to read the post and the discussion to understand what I was getting at).
Ethan brought us to the end of our symposium, offering thoughts on the mingling of corporate interests with charitable causes. Any post that can un-ironically and effectively contain the line, “[p]erhaps there’s nothing wrong with THQ giving away products to benefit both itself and the Red Cross and Child’s Play…” is a post worth reading.
Thanks again to everyone, and keep on giving… I think.