Sunday, 30 January 2011

I'm giving £1m to charity on an ordinary salary

Reading an article in the Financial Times first thing this morning has left a little imprint on me.

Toby Ord, a Junior Research Fellow at Balliol College at the University of Oxford, has chosen to make a pledge to donate £1m to charity over the course of his working life.

While reading the article I was asking myself how I feel about this idea.  Frankly, it's a beautiful idea. It's one in which it gives your working day a purpose whether you have a great job or a job that's sapping the very energy from your being.

I barely have a few beans to rub together and I have a perpetual fear that if I don't have enough pennies saved I don't have the freedom to do something else.

Toby Ord writes in his article a quote from the philosopher, Peter Singer - an Australian, "the money we spend on luxuries could be used to save people's lives in developing countries if we so wished."

Ord goes onto to ask, "How then can we justify choosing the luxuries? This is a strong argument, and quite confronting."

Saving people's lives. That's the difference that makes you confront what you are doing and if you have any antenna for the world outside of your own.

Ord calculates that over his working life he could save between 2,000 and 10,000 people by donating a not insignificant amount to supporting his chosen two areas that he feels support can most affect, tuberculosis and parasitic infections.

The article had me questioning whether I could do something similar and challenging one of my fears.

Could I do it though? I do not know.

The Financial Times Article can be found here
Toby Ord's Oxford Uni site here
Giving What We Can site here

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