Can $750 End Homelessness?


It’s midnight. Some combination of insomnia, restlessness, or nocturnalism has kept you in front of your television watching reruns or, worse, the news. As a commercial break ensues, the solemn soprano of Sarah McLachlan or a cheap imitator adorns your speakers, but before you can enjoy the vibrant vocals, you are accosted with images of a malnourished child or an abused puppy. After a years-long minute of this poverty porn, your only reprieve comes in the form of a grown-up child-actor reminding you who they are—Is that what they look like now??—and telling you the good news:

“For just $2 a day, you can save this child/puppy from its terrible fate. WILL YOU HELP US?”

We’ve become largely immune to these types of guilt-inducing, exploitative pitches, and this is for the better. But should we be resistant to all pitches that suggest small amounts of money could solve big problems?

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