artphoto by splunge
artphoto by TheophileEscargot
artphoto by Kronos_to_Earth
artphoto by ethylene





Mecha Wiki

Metachat Eye


IRC Channels



Comment Feed:


08 October 2010

Hey, it's time for a Friday Night Question! Here's a random selection from The Book Of Questions...[More:]

#150- Would you be willing to give up all television for the next five years if it would induce someone to provide for 1,000 starving children in Indonesia?

(This book being kind of old, let's throw out a modern-day equivalent to the question: would you be willing to give up all Internet connectivity for five years for the same reason?)
Television? Definitely. Even if that meant Netflix and DVDs and Hulu.

But the internet? I don't know. I have a hard time picturing starving children in Indonesia. I've never been there, or to that part of the world, and it's a life that I just can't imagine. I think I would be more likely to give up my internet to fee 1,000 starving children in my city/state.
posted by rhapsodie 08 October | 23:18

Because the resources exist to feed those thousand starving children and should be made available anyway.
posted by jason's_planet 08 October | 23:31
No. I hate it when someone says "If you do this I'll do something good." Just do it if you really want too.
posted by arse_hat 08 October | 23:36
Oh please, can't I just give up TV? I barely watch it anyhow. But don't take away my internet connection. While TV is mainly entertainment and some knowledge, the internet is what I use to manage my finances, communicate with friends/relatives/colleagues, find out news and other information plus it's an endless source of entertainment. It's pretty much indispensable. So nope, sorry.
posted by nelvana 08 October | 23:42
Funny, but I used to watch a lot more TV, BEFORE I started getting paid to write about it. So I could lose the boob tube easy.

I'm also finding that some of my favorite things to do with my computers (even the 'netbook') are offline, so I could take a break for a few months, but NOT five years. Can we negotiate?
posted by oneswellfoop 09 October | 01:15
So, if I give up the internet then I get TV back, right?
posted by Ardiril 09 October | 01:33
No. If someone has the capacity to help 1,000 staving children, why shouldn't they do it? I think it' stupid and childish for someone to expect me to suffer so that they will do something they should do anyway.

Also, I've been to Indonesia many times and the many of the starving children there have better Internet access than I do, so this hardly seems fair.
posted by dg 09 October | 03:41
Yes, though these are the words that bother me: if it would induce someone

I would still do it.
posted by LoriFLA 09 October | 07:47
I wouldn't even miss TV. The single box we have in the house is for PBS and DVDs. Otherwise, I'm with dg.
posted by tortillathehun 09 October | 08:15
If, for whatever reason, this is the exchange being offered, "It should be happening anyway" isn't a good enough reason for me to not take it up. I'd be thrilled if providing for starving children in such numbers were as simple as this, and although it's open to interpretation as to whether the faceless entity offering financial support is a jerk or not, it's still a seriously cost-effective way for me as an individual to amplify my own charitable giving. TV and internet access are already out of the entertainment/convenience budget (that is, if I don't live in a place where they're already paid and they don't increase the cost of living there, I don't use them at home) so I can't figure turning those monthly maintenance costs over to charity (although this is effectively how things work right now in my budget), but assuming I used the hours currently spent on the internet and watching television to pick up an additional job, or even overtime at my current job, at the current value placed on my worth as a worker I wouldn't be able to match the cost of supporting 1000 children (hopefully that's what's meant by the terms here, because if it's just "feed them for a day" then I can handle that on my own) for much more than a month.

So yeah, if this existed, it'd be pretty easy to decide. Ideally there'd be a large difference in the amount of good that would be done by channeling the money towards this use as opposed to where it would otherwise have gone ("hookers and blow" obviously being a more satisfying answer in terms of making me feel good about the bargain than "rainforest preservation", in which case it's debatable as to whether it comes down to being much more than a simple substitution of my values for the donor's values), but even so, it wouldn't have to be all that much of an improvement for it to be worthwhile to me. There's too much other stuff that should be happening anyway, and doesn't, so it would be nice to have a bigger impact than usual as a result of a personal decision.
posted by notquitemaryann 09 October | 08:32
I understand that for each year you give up sex, it staves off global warming for that year.
posted by Obscure Reference 09 October | 08:43
We've kind of already given up all television, and I'm not sure it's doing anybody any good, but it is saving me a lot of time to use for other stuff which I like better and used to put off in favor of vegging in front of the tube.
posted by Miko 09 October | 09:39
TV, sure. Internet, no. I'd be more likely to just find a way to feed 1000 starving children myself.
posted by jessamyn 09 October | 12:07
Talk about overbeaning the plate of thinks! "Would you do A if it induced someone else to do B". The end.

Yeah, I would. What the hell. It's 1000 people.
posted by iconomy 09 October | 14:14
Considering how much of one's life will be processed via the internet in the next 5 years (without any recourse to do those things via snailmail or in-person) I'm not sure giving up the net would even be possible for someone living here.
posted by Thorzdad 09 October | 15:56
I can't, because it would not only effect my job, but my husband who is a web developer. However, I'd definitely give a donation to Oxfam and the Red Cross if I was given that question in real life. Those are my favorite charities anyway.
posted by eatdonuts 09 October | 16:44
Yes. Hunger is terrible.

I guess I'd get a lot of reading done. I might need some prozac (and xanax) to replace the tv.
posted by Pips 09 October | 19:38
Speaking of this, my mind was blown this week by this Critic at Large piece by Phillip Gourevitch in the New Yorker on humanitarian aid. It gathered up a lot of points of view on what seems like an unassailable good - the kind of send-the-doctors, feed-the-people, neutral human-assistance aid that has been practiced since World War Iish - and suggested that it may cumulatively do more harm than good. It was fascinating and surprising and made me completely rethink global aid charities. For instance, it talked about how starvation is often a tactic used by a political regime to draw aid into a poor nation, and the aid can then be redirected to fill the larders of that nation's armies. And that by refusing to make political judgments and patching up guerilla soldiers as well as injured children, it may extend conflicts, and shift the burden of dealing with the consequences of war from the governments or entities responsible onto third party organizations from the larger world, enabling more of the nation's resources to continue going toward the prosecution of that war.

It's subscription-only, but here's the abstract. Some serious food for thought.
posted by Miko 09 October | 22:44
What is your favorite anecdote about yourself that you tell way too often? || Happy Birthday, elizard!