In a Tizzy About Tithing

Fighting global poverty is a matter of giving generously and effectively
by Staff, Utne Reader
July-August 2011
Add to My MSN

Image by Flickr user: mira66 / Creative Commons


Content Tools

Related Content

Havana: City of the Future

If globalization is catalogued in your brain as an impenetrable, abstract idea, filed away somewhere...

Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Cloud Seeding

With 32,000 employees and more than 10,000 artillery weapons, China literally has an army assembled ...

Feta Cheese Fights Food Poisoning

A bacteria found in raw-milk Feta cheese, enterococci, has proven effective in fighting against food...

Don't Feed the Hungry

Utne Reader Visionary Raj Patel talks to a Wisconsin farmer about agriculture, globalization, and wh...

Toby Ord, an Australian philosophy researcher at the University of Oxford, is causing quite a stir—by giving away his money. Ord earns $52,000 a year and has promised to donate all of his post-tax earnings above $28,000 to fight global poverty. He has calculated that his personal giving could save as many as 2,100 lives. His wife, Bernadette Young, a physician, donates everything she earns above $40,000.

Ord and Young are members of Giving What We Can, a philanthropic collective Ord founded about a year and a half ago, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education (Feb. 13, 2011). Made up primarily of academics—including bioethicist Peter Singer and political philosopher Thomas Pogge—the group has two primary rules, writes Don Troop: “Give generously, and give effectively.”

But a story about their efforts didn’t sit right with readers of Britain’s Daily Mail. “What a pair of freaks,” wrote Penelope about Ord and Young in a letter to the editor. A reader who goes by the name Shoe Addict wrote, “It is much easier to adopt these kinds of ideals if you are a childless couple and only have yourselves to worry about.”

Reactions like these don’t surprise Singer. “People like to be cynical about others who are doing something good,” he told the Chronicle, “because it challenges them to do something themselves.”

Regardless of whether or not Ord and Young strike readers as self-righteous, there’s no doubt that Giving What We Can is starting to make a difference. Together, by promising to donate at least 10 percent of their annual pretax income to charities that fight global poverty, the collective’s 80 members have pledged more than $25 million.

cover-166-thumbnailHave something to say? Send a letter to editor@utne.com. This article first appeared in the July-August 2011 issue of Utne Reader








Post a comment below.

 

PaulB
8/3/2011 10:44:03 AM
Maybe someone could forward this article to that nice Mr Trump...

Gertene Winston-Luccas
8/1/2011 11:25:24 AM
This is true sacrifice. God bless them.

steve eatenson
8/1/2011 8:14:34 AM
Living in a country where so many of the super rich do all they can to get out of paying their fair share of taxes each year it is refreshing to read of a couple who find their life's purpose something more than seeing how much they can accumulate in material goods.








Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!