ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



June 2011



The Life I Can Save

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Peter Singer is an interesting (and at times controversial) philosopher. He writes on a lot of issues that are of interest to me – you can read more about his writing and work here. Some utterly despise his view of the world – he's been removed from conferences due to protests, often focusing on his opinions about the rights of parents in making decisions about the lives of their terminally ill infants.

About a month ago I finished his book The Life You Can Save, which my mother kindly purchased for me during a visit last fall. He writes about extreme poverty from a philosopher's perspective but with a practical slant. He spends time talking about the problems of poverty in the world, then explores the arguments people use to justify not contributing more to help others. Those parts could stand alone as interesting reads. He then goes into the problems some charities have, in terms of their effectiveness and percentage of money used to help people as compared to other similar organizations.

At the end, there is a practical call to action: give. Give more than you have. And give to those in the most extreme poverty.

The book struck a chord with me, to the point where I've signed the the pledge. I'm not going to put my salary details here, but what I did was look at what percentage of $105,000 my salary is, and then took that percentage of 5%. So if I made 21,000, I would give 1% of my salary. Each month I'll set aside that amount and give it to one of the organizations ranked top by GiveWell.

This month? VillageReach.

I'm excited about this. It's also helping to motivate me to make some more intelligent decisions with my own money so I can be in a better position to give more, save more, and still live the life I want for myself. And I've posted about it tonight because I'm hopeful that perhaps a couple of you will check out the book, check out the the website, and maybe, if your life situation allows it right now, take the pledge.

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