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World Aid Program

Gothic Serpent pledges 90% of its revenue to some of these causes.

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NCDs And Communicable Diseases In General

World Health Organization

Noncommunicable diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes, are the leading cause of mortality in the world. In 2008, of the roughly 60 million global deaths, about 35 million of those were due to NCDs. A staggering NCD statistic is that a billion people will die in the 21st century from smoking. That’s mostly concentrated in the countries of China, Russia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India.

The key thing to take away here is that NCDs, primarily diabetes, is preventative to more than 80% of occurrences.

The next big factor is communicable diseases, which have the highest mortality rates in: malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS are also at the razor’s edge of being able to be innovated and solved against. The main goal here is using vaccines to solve the problem. The vaccine cost in most countries is about 2% of health spending, which accounts for about 50% of the net benefit reaped including saving lives through vaccines. So for so little money, you can have such a positive impact. Another benefit of vaccines is that once you lower or eradicate a disease (which polio is on the way for 2018), then you can forever save on costs to society down the road. About $5.5 billion has been invested in polio, but the cost to society would be far greater if that money was not pre-emptively invested.

The Greatest Inequity In The World - Infant / Child Mortality

World Health Organization

When you take a look at the world, the greatest inequity by far is the high rate of childhood death, notably in Africa. You can look at the Middle East and say it’s terrible, and sure it’s terrible, but when you compare the millions of kids dying in africa (about 6 million) to the number of people dying in places like Syria, which is a couple hundred thousand, excluding major wars, you can begin to see the real problem here.

Infant mortality is primarily linked to dehydration from diarrhea, which is preventable. Improving sanitation, access to clean drinking water, vaccination, and other public health measures can vastly reduce the rates of infant mortality, which are highest and remain high in places like Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The rates used to be high statistically in China and India (because of the population) but have reduced since the 1990s, mainly because of the virtuous cycle they have going from the power/water grid in those rich countries.

World Health Organization

Public / Private Sector

One of the ways to go about solving things quickly is by using the private sector to show how to get it done, then maybe in the public sector where the moneys are much greater, they might follow and put in practices and goals that you need to make some progress. the UN / World Bank does do some things and tries, America does a lot of things. But I think private philanthropy has the ability to tackle problems that the government’s unwilling to or can’t get to and to approach it in novel ways, where the real difference is in the private sector you can innovate, and in the public sector you have to use the tried and true because you’re using public moneys.

If you look at public moneys, we spend about 20% of our GDP on health care. That’s 5% of the economy. 1 out of 20 people in the entire economy are the net inefficiency of the health care system. And our outcomes are not better for spending that money, so it’s pretty staggering how the health care system is affected by things like the NCDs especially in the rich world (including diabetes and cancers).

Most of the federal money in this case is in entitlements, including social security, medicare and medicaid. The defense budget for health and welfare benefits for retired military is 50% of health benefits. 50% of the defense budget is going to that.

Something Else To Consider - Mortality From Accidents

Another serious factor to consider is the loss of life that occurs from things like traffic accidents. Traffic accidents are the #1 cause of death amongst people aged 15-29.1 In the rich world, it will probably take some legislation to enact safer transport practices.

In terms of developing countries, traffic accidents, complicated childbirth, a cholera infection, and things like that occur pretty frequently. Since emergency services are generally not available in these countries, an untrained civilian using cell phones can, in an uncoordinated and inefficient way, attempt to help these cases. However, the best way to solve the problem would be to have government infrastructure to provide basic medical services -- which actually also save about 1-5% of the countries GDP, in some cases. The way this was introduced into developed countries was pressure from the medical community to increase political will, coupled with increases in technology. In terms of financial recoup, it may be possible to earn back the moneys spent on the emergency response system by simply imposing a mandatory fee per text or per minute used, similar to a electronic tax. The cost would be negligible.2

In a general sense, traffic accidents are highest by far in India and China.

Global Warming

World Meteorological Organization

Global warming is another issue that is pretty serious because at the rate of CO2 emission thus far, we haven’t gone down in value, and the track record on will by the government to solve the problem is not great despite the obvious future consequences.

As it stands, in about 100 years, the temperature could change by roughly 3 degrees in the positive. Additionally, the world will run out of our current carbon reserves in about 30 years at our current rate (although the fossil fuel reserves, if converted to carbon, can last longer).3

In a general context, China has by far the most serious problem when it comes to it’s existing coal-fired power plants, which actually kill an estimated quarter million people every year from emissions alone. This fossil fuel plants cover about 70% of the Chinese energy demand as of around 2014. Clean technologies such as wind and solar are still immature in China, and therefore not viable at least in the short or medium term. Coal natural gas, a proposed solution, which is created by burning natural gas derived from coal, still has serious problems as it is expected to emit about 80% more CO2, and also utilize far more water during the processing (60 gal / MMBtu as compared to the value of 3 for coal or the negligible value of around 0-1 for authentic natural gas) which is a challenge due to the current water crisis in China. As it stands now, China puts out about 25% of the worlds C02, specifically - 9.9 billion tonnes of C02, which is well higher than the value of roughly 5 for the U.S. and the E.U. So clearly, Asia pacific is the key target for change here.4

The research budgets put into developing better generators with less emission are usually marginalized by most governments. We need to have the breakthroughs that allow cheap energy and that is only possible with the research. The governments do spend a lot on deployments of plants that are non-economical in the sense that in many cases beyond just the CO2 constraint they have low efficiency.

Another possibility is having a carbon tax levied on the power plants which could be a price signal for innovation, but the political realities make this a difficult thing to accomplish.

The World Bank

Conclusion

Private individuals of the poorest 2 billion on the planet often have a difficult time sending the proper market signals needed to give incentives for doctors in the rich world to treat the diseases, or scientists to innovate. Malaria kills about 1 million kids every year. And yet the amount of money until around recently that went into malaria research was less than 1/10th as high as the amount that went into baldness research. Well why are we working on baldness? It hasn’t killed anyone. Well those top 2 billion, they are sending market signals, “Cure my baldness.” The million children that are dying are not sending any market signals because they have no money to buy the medicine. And so you get an allocation of scientists to work on a problem of less importance for society, and there are dozens of examples like that. So it’s incumbent upon us to help out if we are lucky enough to have capital.

Looking more in general terms, we could ask ourselves the question, “How would we go about effecting this change in poor countries?” In order to get these problems solved, we need to have a better relationship with the local population, through talks with people like religious leaders / clergymen.

As an example, in order to eliminate polio in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the foundations that are backing that pledge are reaching out to religious leaders to talk to families. Many of the families in those countries won’t allow their children to be vaccinated, because of things like bad rumors being spread about the polio vaccine.

So we should reach out to these types, and local politicians as well, and foster those relationships so that we can advise them as to how to properly develop and maintain things that we here in America take for granted like our electricity and water grid. And that all starts with political legislation and a properly established system of governance. Handholding with foreign aid can only go so far, before the country has to have its own virtuous cycle.

Now in terms of practical deployment at the gate, it comes with hiring aid workers on the ground in safe countries, and then moving more towards government programs after good relationships have been built up. So it comes in many phases, but first trust has to be established, and infrastructure development can follow.

Category Amount
Total U.S. Private Assistance $71.2 billion
Foundations $3.4 billion
Private and Voluntary Organizations (NGO) $9.7 billion
Universities and Colleges $1.7 billion
Religious Organizations $4.5 billion
Corporations $4.9 billion
Individual remittances $47.0 billion

The Idea Of Giving

Philanthropy etymologically means “love of humanity” in the sense of caring, nourishing, developing and enhancing “what it is to be human” on both the benefactors’ (by identifying and exercising their values in giving and volunteering) and beneficiaries’ (by benefiting) parts. The most conventional modern definition is “private initiatives, for public good, focusing on quality of life”.

Instances of philanthropy commonly overlap with instances of charity, though not all charity is philanthropy, or vice versa. The difference commonly cited is that charity relieves the pains of social problems, whereas philanthropy attempts to solve those problems at their root causes (the difference between giving a hungry man a fish, and teaching him how to fish for himself). A person who practices philanthropy is called a philanthropist.5

The United States has a history of philanthropy that possibly dates back to the early settlement by Europeans.

American philanthropy has met challenges, and taken advantage of opportunities, that neither government nor business ordinarily address. The other sectors certainly affect American quality of life, but philanthropy focuses on it.

Philanthropy is a major source of income for fine arts and performing arts, religious, and humanitarian causes, as well as educational institutions.6

I have family. I have friends. I want their lives to be better. I want my life to be longer and better.

The satisfaction you get out of helping others is something that is much greater than anything I think you can do in buying stuff. You can only sleep in one bed at a time so having lots of houses is nice I guess but so what? You eat too much food, it’s not healthy for you but on the other hand the more diseases you cure, the better you feel.

So I think that we realize that we can make a difference either with disposable income, if we’re lucky enough to have that, or just time and labor.

Name Amount Given Cause
Warren Buffet $30.7 billion Healthcare, education
Bill Gates $29.0 billion Healthcare, education, AIDS-prevention, sanitation
La Ka-shing $10 billion Healthcare, education
Chuck Feeney $6.2 billion Healthcare, youth, aging, poverty, human rights
George Soros $6 billion Healthcare, anti-Fascist publications, human rights, economic / legal / social reform
Azim Premji $2 billion Healthcare, education
Howard Hughes $1.56 billion Healthcare

References

1 “Injuries Are a Leading Killer of Youth.” World Health Organization. N.p., 2004. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. < http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/key_facts/VIP_key_fact_4.pdf >.

2 Friesen, Jason. “Not Having 911 Services Is a Huge Drain on a Country’s Economy-and Yet so Easy to Fix.” Quartz. N.p., 7 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. < http://qz.com/184737/mobile-phone-access-could-make-calling-9-1-1-ubiquitous-in-the-developing-world/ >.

3 Holthaus, Eric, and Ritchie King. “How to Fix Global Warming before It’s Too Late.” Quartz. N.p., 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. < http://qz.com/140576/how-to-fix-global-warming-before-its-too-late/ >.

4 Guildford, Gwynn. “China’s “war on Pollution” May End up Accelerating Global Warming.” Quartz. N.p., 6 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. < http://qz.com/184860/chinas-war-on-pollution-may-end-up-accelerating-global-warming/ >.

5 “Philanthropy.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Apr. 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2014. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philanthropy >.

6 “Philanthropy in the United States.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 May 2014. Web. 26 Apr. 2014. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philanthropy_in_the_United_States >.