The Spirit Level and the Economics of Charity

A few more things have come out recently related to economics:

  • For MoveOn, Robert Reich does an RSA-animate style 2:15 minute lecture called The Truth About the Economy. His drawing isn’t up to par with RSA but the lecture is clear and compelling.
  • The Daily Bail (as in bail-out) has short video and news briefs that show Congress and the Fed and banks interacting in hearings and public statements. The video they term “The MOST IMPORTANT Video We’ve Ever Posted” is well worth watching. It’s in the right sidebar.
  • Ellen Brown has a good Power Point presentation of the campaign to create a North Dakota-style state bank in California. There is lots of good information on a site she refers to:
  • A radio show called Unwelcome Guests has an excellent episode called Redefining Poverty: Needs and the Spirit Level. It shows that it’s not the quality of life that makes countries happy and healthy but the equality of life. People in more equal countries live longer, have less crime and violence, generate fewer teen pregnancies and drug addicts, and feel that other people can be trusted.
  • Tikkun has an article on worker ownership called Democratizing the Economy from the Bottom Up. Noam Chomsky’s interview, also in Tikkun, gives further examples of worker ownership.

I’ll also be teaching a section on the economics of charity, including

  • Ivan Illich’s view of charity.
  • How tax breaks provide the incentive or disincentive to give.
  • Charity Navigator’s measures of effectiveness and “capacity.”
  • Strategies by which givers prioritize recipients, including “charity begins at home,” “innocent, helpless and cute,” “one world at a time,” “that could be me,” and “the biggest bang for your buck.”
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