Monday Mar 17, 2008

Economics of altruism?

If you like behavioral economics, this article titled, "What Makes People Give?" is a nice read. I wish I had read some of these reports before I tried my hand at fund-raising last year. My only peeve with the article is that there are no links to the formalized studies by John List and Dean Karlan. It would be nice to look into the research studies in more detail.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner is another good read on behavioral economics. I read this book last year based on James's recommendation.

By the way, what is it between apples and these economists!

Monday Sep 10, 2007

Help me educate children

There are certain things in life that give me great pleasure. Among the top is intellectual stimulation. My job provides me with plenty of those. Another aspect that is almost as good is, when I help someone and see their eyes light up. You have to be physically close to the person that you are helping to see that. It could be any kind of help. Teaching someone the way something works; helping someone see a familiar situation in a new perspective; providing a helping hand to someone slipping down a hill. It is the same feeling, the feeling of doing good. It is the discovery of the exact value of your action to the receiver.

There is a problem with this, it is the problem of scale. The problem with enjoying the feeling of altruism is that it is not always possible to be physically close to the person that you want to help. so what do you do ? I try to find a organization that I can trust, a organization that has a similar goal. I have recently chosen a cause which has the greatest impact, the cause of educating children. Say what you will about people that are poor, but the children of the under-priviledged cannot go to school because they do not have a choice. They are on the path of withering away without even an opportunity to succeed. That is not right. I intend to fight to change it.

People have dedicated their life for a cause that they believe in, I am just running a marathon. I want to make a difference to these children's lives. I want to see the light in their eyes. I want to visit the school at Pune to see the effect. If I do, I will provide a complete report, I promise. Join me in this cause and support my marathon. Let us make a child smile with gratitude. It will change their lives forever, guaranteed.
About

Augustus Franklin Diraviam works for the Solaris Cluster engineering group at Sun Microsystems. He lives in the San Francisco bay area.

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