Christmas Charity Gift-Giving Video Edition: Peter Singer and I on

bhtv-2009-12-16-psToday, the New York Times-sponsored Bloggingheads.TV put up a 45 minute video discussion {video link: Peter Singer & William Easterly on}, where Peter and I discuss imposing tough love on the global poverty charities who take your Christmas gifts and donations.  I had given a critical review of Peter's latest book in the Wall Street Journal. Yet, Peter and I wound up agreeing that there is just as big a moral obligation on you to make sure your favorite charity gets the money to the poor,  as much as there is for you to give the money in the first place. Let's see, if I follow Peter's logic correctly, I think that implies that you have a sacred moral &  religous obligation, equivalent to rescuing a drowning child, to WATCH THIS VIDEO. After a lot of  criticism of NGO and offical aid lack of accountability and impressive fecklessness, including colorful insults and stories, we did get around eventually to making some positive recommendations on how you can give effectively, including specific charities (such as Women's Trust in Ghana) and monitoring web sites (such as the site Good Intentions are Not Enough).bhtv-2009-12-16-we

I hope this is not too much of a distraction, but I have to confess I really don't like talking to a camera, as will probably be apparent in this video (ouch). I love talking to real people in person, even 600 at a time, but talking to a machine is something that is still a work in progress for me. Maybe I should take lessons from one of the celebrity actors who work on aid -- now that is an area where they could use their skills productively!

Anyway, the message does come through loud and clear from both Peter and me: give, and, equally important, make sure your gifts reach the poor. Sounds so simple, and yet you have to work hard at the details to get it right.