Rar. Do the most good

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madd0ct0r
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Rar. Do the most good

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-01-02 01:16am

You are director of a small charity holding a bond of $20million dollars that has just matured.

Your mandate is to do good targeting the worlds poorest.

Do you
A) identify twenty thousand people and send them each $1000 while resisting the urge to tell them what to do with it?
B) approach a poor town / area with the aim of building instutions or infrastructure if they agree to maintain it?
C) spend it on marketing / roulette hoping to double the good you can do in the future?
D) spend it on emergency provisions stockpiled and ready to be parachuted into a disaster area.
E) other.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by Jub » 2019-01-02 01:28am

I'd have to go with other.

My plan would be to keep the funds running long-term. Find an investment with a steady return, if you can get even 3% back that gives you $600k to work with year over year. Use some amount to pay your staff, try to keep those costs down as much as possible say $150k to pay six people. You'll likely need to rent an office too, but I'd probably do my best to cut costs and have the team working from home and just rent spaces as needed throughout the year. I honestly don't know how to budget that expense so I'll set aside $20k for that. That's $430,000 to play with. I'd put $130k back into the fund and then offer small grants of between $1 and 20k to local community innovators.

Give the cash to small low to the ground operations that will stretch the funds as far as they can go. Evaluate the ones that do well and allow them to renew their funding, perhaps even folding them into your charity or forming a formal partnership.

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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-01-02 04:43am

I fund unions and political movements against labor exploitation in the poorest nations.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by Tribble » 2019-01-02 08:54am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-02 04:43am
I fund unions and political movements against labor exploitation in the poorest nations.
Psh. You're thinking too small. Is $20 million enough to smuggle some people with Ebola into the US and have it spread? Maybe the UK too if theres some money left over?

The best way to help those in need is to wipe out those oppressing them after all :twisted:


Other than that Jub's plan seems to be the best.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-01-02 12:09pm

Tribble wrote:
2019-01-02 08:54am
K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-02 04:43am
I fund unions and political movements against labor exploitation in the poorest nations.
Psh. You're thinking too small. Is $20 million enough to smuggle some people with Ebola into the US and have it spread? Maybe the UK too if theres some money left over?

The best way to help those in need is to wipe out those oppressing them after all :twisted:


Other than that Jub's plan seems to be the best.
Turn around history? Use disease as a weapon against those who wiped out others with disease? Masterful, and cruelly efficient, perhaps. But the OP goal was helping the poorest as opposed to equalizing suffering, and making the oppressors pay for their past sins in horrible ways.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-01-02 01:58pm

Jub wrote:
2019-01-02 01:28am
I'd have to go with other.

My plan would be to keep the funds running long-term. Find an investment with a steady return, if you can get even 3% back that gives you $600k to work with year over year. Use some amount to pay your staff, try to keep those costs down as much as possible say $150k to pay six people. You'll likely need to rent an office too, but I'd probably do my best to cut costs and have the team working from home and just rent spaces as needed throughout the year. I honestly don't know how to budget that expense so I'll set aside $20k for that. That's $430,000 to play with. I'd put $130k back into the fund and then offer small grants of between $1 and 20k to local community innovators.

Give the cash to small low to the ground operations that will stretch the funds as far as they can go. Evaluate the ones that do well and allow them to renew their funding, perhaps even folding them into your charity or forming a formal partnership.
Honest question. Is there an investment that returns 3% above inflation that does not do harm?

Challenge to your idea: is dragging out the aid over the long term leading to excessive suffering now? A benefit delivered in ten years time would be too late for a lit of the current poorest.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by Solauren » 2019-01-02 03:00pm

E Other - Let it grow
$20M is a nice chunk of change, but really, you can't do all that much good with it. Short term impact, fine, but not long term.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by Jub » 2019-01-02 07:42pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-01-02 01:58pm
Honest question. Is there an investment that returns 3% above inflation that does not do harm?

Challenge to your idea: is dragging out the aid over the long term leading to excessive suffering now? A benefit delivered in ten years time would be too late for a lit of the current poorest.
Counterpoint: $20 million isn't enough to institute long-term changes and barely enough to make a significant short-term change for more than a very small part of the city I live in. Even if the means used to grow my funds aren't perfect, no interaction with capitalism causes zero harm, so you need to weigh the good you can do with a reasonable trickle of funds against your disgust with the system.

With long-term low-level output for small-scale projects which squeeze every cent of value out of what I can offer them I have the chance to grow my organization. I'm also generating a lot of goodwill in my community while setting the groundwork for a possible political run where I can make a much larger change than that $20 million ever could.

To put what can be done with $20 million into perspective that would buy less than 13 houses in Vancouver where the average price for a detached home is $1.58 million. You can go lower but you run the risk of buying a deathtrap or buying into an area with zero chance for growth in the near term. That's what I'm working with so I don't feel I can make a big splash even if I was given $20 million USD instead of CAD.

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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-01-02 09:26pm

B and D seem the strongest of the specific options listed, but I'd probably pick E so that I could have greater flexibility in tailoring the specifics.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by Jub » 2019-01-02 09:45pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-01-02 09:26pm
B and D seem the strongest of the specific options listed, but I'd probably pick E so that I could have greater flexibility in tailoring the specifics.
B and D are both awful though and that they're even suggested shows that people don't understand what things cost.

How much to pave a mile of road.

Your $20 million would pave around 6 miles of suburban road or 4 miles of urban road if you were working on a new road.

But what if I want to fix an existing road?

Resurfacing costs are vastly less on a per annum basis but the roads that aren't getting fixed are generally a combination of expensive to repair and infrequently used. You could end up spending $1 million per mile, fixing a small percentage of a city's streets, but what does that really help?

For things like water and power, you'll end up doing similarly little with your $20 million.

-----

D, on the surface, makes more sense, after all, we know what food and water costs, but what about the warehouse to store them in? The transportation to get them to the areas hardest hit? The pay to the workers distributing these items? That $20 million won't do much in the kind of disaster you'd want to help out with. For smaller disasters, it's likely overkill. How much good does your money end up doing when it's a fart in the wind next to a hurricane or vastly overkill because you're stuck looking for an appropriately sized disaster to send you aid to.

Those donations people send after every disaster... Most of those end up tossed. People don't need your old clothes after a disaster, they need money, food, shelter, power, and your old gym shorts don't fix that. We all like to feel good, but the reality is it takes more than an old shirt or $20 million to make any large-scale change.

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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-01-03 07:09am

Jub is not wrong on the costs in most areas. And construction material cost is now fairly even globally. Labour costs is a moderate factor (since a lot of work needs heavy machinery anyway), Logistics is a big factor for heavy materials unavailable locally.


BUT they may be overthinking the level of finished quality required. A single corton steel bridge carrying lorries over a four track railway costs $2million+, but a standard Bridge to Prosperity chain link footbridge costs $60k, and provides all year around access that was not available before.
https://bridgestoprosperity.org/faqs/

Of course, those footbridges help the smaller towns with people poor enough that foot access makes a difference. The $1 a day folks.
If you want to do the most good, perhaps a lorry bridge connecting up two sides of a city like Kolkutta would raise incomes across the city by far more in total. That's the $10 a day folks.

Or sewage, or power, or flood defences.

Or you could give 55 thousand of the $1 a day folks a years free income to get themselves established.... does that even pay off compared to a small town, or is the efficiency, respect and dignity by letting them make their own choices worth it?
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2019-01-03 01:06pm

Something I've wondered is, does bringing economic prosperity to an area come as a cost to some other area, or does that only apply on an international scale?
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-01-03 01:18pm

Are they more dignified by having money in their pocket as opposed to a bridge, though?

What do you all think? Sometimes I feel having a society of people who have dignity around you is no less important than having cash myself.

Also the dollar-per-day line is dangerously outdated. Extreme poverty lies closer to the 3-5 dollar a day line, and it rises steadily the more industrialized a society is and the more commodified its social relations.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-01-03 07:06pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2019-01-02 01:16am
You are director of a small charity holding a bond of $20million dollars that has just matured.

Your mandate is to do good targeting the worlds poorest.

Do you
A) identify twenty thousand people and send them each $1000 while resisting the urge to tell them what to do with it?
This would help some people, immediately, but then disappear. So not this one.
B) approach a poor town / area with the aim of building institutions or infrastructure if they agree to maintain it?
Well, maybe that can work, if it's one small community's project. It'll be a drop in the ocean, though.
C) spend it on marketing / roulette hoping to double the good you can do in the future?
Ah, outreach. This only works if you know that this will give you returns in the future with your spending. Outreach can be such a money sink that nothing comes from it though. Better to give it to another foundation aligns with your goals than running your own.
D) spend it on emergency provisions stockpiled and ready to be parachuted into a disaster area.
Storage becomes an issue, unless the 20 million goes into building and/or buying of a storage facility, and hoping future donations help out with that.
E) other.
Okay, Option e. Give it to another charity with similar aligned goals. The big problem with charities is that each person with two nickels to his name makes their own charity or foundation, making more competitors for donation money to go to. This leads to each foundation becoming more specialized so as to mark themselves different from others. This makes those who seek help from those charities have problems, because a lot of those niches do not apply to them, and the search for a particular charity that they do qualify for is either A, already given out their max amount for the month, B, on a waiting list, or C, if they do qualify, the help is so minuscule that it doesn't do much. That's not counting the amount of donations that go to overhead to keep the charity or foundation afloat, lessening the amount that goes to the people in need.

So, for best returns, invest some of the money into investigating which charity would be best for our goals, and donate the rest to them.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by madd0ct0r » 2019-01-04 04:28am

K. A. Pital wrote:
2019-01-03 01:18pm
Are they more dignified by having money in their pocket as opposed to a bridge, though?

What do you all think? Sometimes I feel having a society of people who have dignity around you is no less important than having cash myself.

Also the dollar-per-day line is dangerously outdated. Extreme poverty lies closer to the 3-5 dollar a day line, and it rises steadily the more industrialized a society is and the more commodified its social relations.
That's a good catch, thanks.

"In 2018, extreme poverty widely refers to making below the international poverty line of $1.90/day (in 2011 prices, equivalent to $2.12 in 2018), set by the World Bank. This measure is the equivalent to making $1.00 a day in 1996 US prices, hence the widely used expression, living on "less than a dollar a day".[3] The vast majority of those in extreme poverty – 96% – reside in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, The West Indies, East Asia and the Pacific; nearly half live in India and China alone.[4] As of 25 June 2018, Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world with more than 86 million of its citizens living in extreme poverty despite abundant resources.[5][1][6]"

Bloody Nigeria.
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Re: Rar. Do the most good

Post by K. A. Pital » 2019-01-04 08:42am

Thanks.

Although I have been recently comically criticized for being „sheltered“, I do have a good grasp on the issues which plague poor societies, not least through personal observation.

There is the possibility of significant improvement in case you use the 20 million to further an agenda even in one sector, such as public transport or similar. Sadly the funds are not nearly enough for political struggle on a total government level, which limits our options.

The differences between an electrified and socialist, but poor society, and a poor, haphazardly urbanizing capitalistic one are immense.

If we could use 20 million dollars to, say, remove a part of a very poor country’s debt obligations (eg Burkina Faso), we could be making an outsized impact. Debt service in hard currency is an immense problem. Remove that debt and you give the government an investment into the future. The only problem, it can be so easily squandered...
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