More Thoughts on Philanthropy
By Arnold Kling
From Gara Lamarche:
it is values that move people to enthusiasm and action, not more sterile concepts of metrics and results.
Read the whole thing. Rarely do I encounter a piece that I disagree with so broadly and so deeply.
Yesterday, I posted on Dan Pallotta’s book. He wants people to focus on results, not means, when it comes to charity. He sees the focus on means as deriving from Puritanism.
I am more inclined to believe that the focus on means has a broader basis. In political science, there is a phrase “expressive voting,” which I take to mean that people vote not because they rationally expect results but because they feel good about expressing themselves in the ballot box.
By analogy, I would suggest that there is a lot of “expressive giving,” in which people donate to charity not because they expect results but because they feel good about expressing themselves through their donations.
It is understandable why an “expressive giver” would be offended by a charity that pays high salaries. The expressive giver does not observe results (and is not particularly focused on results to begin with), but salaries are observable.
Among other things, LaMarche strikes me as praising expressive giving.