Bhagwan Chowdhry, one of my professors from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, encouraged our class to remain in the private sector, earn higher wages due to our higher productivity, then donate more those wages. He later wrote an article on the subject in the Huffington Post, concluding:
So, if you are fortunate enough to live in a country where productivity is high and, as a result, wages are also high, what can you do to help poor people? You could quit your high-paying job and volunteer for a socially-conscious organization. You could take some time-off from work and feed the poor and the homeless. Yes, you could do all that and it probably would help assuage your guilt and make you feel better about yourself. But you could help the poor more, much more, if you continue to do what you do best for which the society is willing to pay you the maximum you can earn, and then donate part of what you have earned to organizations that are the most efficient at helping the poor worldwide, because that is what they do best. This is what Matthew Bishop and Michael Green would call Philanthrocapitalism: Do what you do best and share.
I think there’s a lot to be said for this approach, even if at some point in the future I’d like to “retire” early, live simply, and do more of this work myself. In the meantime, I donate to over a dozen charities. I also subscribe to several newspapers and magazines. I hope you will consider contributing to some of them too.
- Dharma Treasure Buddhist Sangha
- San Francisco Zen Center
- Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation (also on Patreon)
- Bay Area Zen Center
- Tucker Peck’s eSangha course
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Friends of San Francisco Animal Care and Control
- San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- American Pit Bull Foundation
- Angel City Pit Bulls
- Rocket Dog Rescue
- Rescue Me (General funds and Pit Bull rescue)