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Jun 26, 2007



I think it's a little weird to talk about percentage of GDB when most of the money is flowing to US citizens! Seen from the outside it's actually not giving when the money stays in the US economy.

As for foreign aid, USA really has a very bad track record, and the little that is given seems to also be political (e.g. heavily tilted towards the middle-east).

For instance compare these two charts:


Stephen Downes

I think stories like this (and I've seen them before) are very misleading.

First, donations to religious organizations should not be considered donations to charities. They have very different purposes.

Second, the story does not take into account the level of government support for the same causes. In Canada, for example, citizens pay a large percentage of their taxes toward what would be called 'charities' in the U.S.: health, education and social services.

This sort of statement makes people want to roll their eyes. "It tells you something about American culture that is unlike any other country." The implication is that Americans are the most generous people in the world.

But in reality, it shows that (a) Americans track their giving more meticulously than anyone else, and (b) things that most nations view as social infrastructure - hospitals, schools, welfare support - are viewed by luxuries in the U.S.

Graham Glass

Hi guys,

My goal for this post was not to boast about the US - sorry if it came across that way.

I just thought it was interesting to note how much money people donate every year.

My theory is that you could subsidise poor people's education and healthcare via voluntary charity instead of involuntary government taxation, and the large numbers mentioned in the article made me think that it might indeed be possible.

It will never happen in the US, but I like to dream now and again.


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