Most of us don't like talking about money, but a crucial part of taking compassion for others seriously involves appreciating the power of wealth.
There are two facts about money that motivate me to help:
1. I am rich. From putting my intern expenses into the Giving What We Can calculator I know that I am in the richest 14% of people in the world. This isn't because I have crazy expenses, I can expect to be much richer in the future. The average person in the UK is in the top 3% of earners in the world. We can get a better understanding of why this is the case when we consider that 1.2 billion people live on a pound a day.
2. Our money can do an incredible amount to help people living below the poverty line. I can provide a pill that will cure someone of intestinal worms at a cost of 50 cents, by donating to the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI). It is incredible to think just how many people I can help when I give to the most effective charities.
This year I'm taking part in the Live Below the Line challenge to draw attention to these facts. Live Below the Line is a challenge to live on a food budget of a £1 a day for 5 days. This is the amount that 1.2 billion people around the globe live on for food, travel, shelter, everything, everyday. You might think that a pound will go further in developing countries but this figure is adjusted for purchasing power parity, meaning that 1.2 billion are living on the equivalent of what £1 would buy in the UK.
The challenge I am taking part in won't come close to the everyday struggle involved in living in extreme poverty but I hope to highlight the disparity in wealth and the comfort that having excess money provides. I am also donating the savings I will make during the week (plus some more to round up to £100) to SCI and I am hoping to raise £2000 in total. This will fund the equivalent of 4000 tablets to rid kids of parasitic worms. Keeping this in mind puts in perspective the real value of our money.
I hope others will join me in making a donation and having a huge impact. If you'd like to sponsor me you can donate at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/benclifford
You can find out more about SCI here.