Here's a quandry -- Since the more abject human misery there is, the more varied, specialized, and likely relatively cheaper (due to variety, breadth of the distribution of misery, etc) types of charity available for "consumption," under what conditions are you willing to put up a side payment to increase it? In seriousness, it would seem to me that many cases of charity involve extremely high returns (above investment) in terms of future cost savings for the recipients or those sympathetic to the cause -- look to the preservation of eastern art by Western sources or disease prevention. Examples and cliches abound (Teach a man to fish... Once of prevention... and on).

At 04:43 PM 6/6/2003 -0400, you wrote:
On Fri, Jun 06, 2003 at 11:49:15AM -0400, Susan Hogarth wrote:
> Speaking as the director of a very small but very active charity, I can tell
> you that we tend to have *quite high* time preferences. Possibly some of that
> is bleedover from the personality of the founder (that would be gotta-have-it-
> now me:) but I honestly believe that for most small groups working in
> conditions where the need is always in far excess of resources available, this
> time preference exists.

My original post was more about charitable giving targeted at human beings
not animals, so I was talking about the time preferences of the end
recipient rather than of the charitable organization. But since you bring
it up...

Do you prefer to rescue two beagles ten years from now, or one beagle
today? Now I realize that your time preference for funding does not
directly correspond to your time preference for the rescue of beagles,
because you're competing with other charities (i.e., if you don't get the
money now some other charity might get it instead). But the incentives are
more straightforward for the donor. If he prefers the former he should
hold on to the money and give it to a beagle rescue organization ten years
from now (assuming he expects a 100% return on his ten-year investment).

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