Monday, June 25, 2007

Those awful Americans

People outside the US love to bash on Americans, and some of our fellow Americans do nothing at all to help. If you believe most Europeans, we're a crass, selfish, materialistic and ignorant bunch.

On the other hand, if one looks at actual facts, one will find that Americans are also spectacularly generous.
Americans gave nearly $300 billion to charitable causes last year, setting a new record and besting the 2005 total that had been boosted by a surge in aid to victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma and the Asian tsunami.
Nearly $300 billion. That's nearly $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the US.
"It tells you something about American culture that is unlike any other country," said Claire Gaudiani, a professor at NYU's Heyman Center for Philanthropy and author of "The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism." Gaudiani said the willingness of Americans to give cuts across income levels, and their investments go to developing ideas, inventions and people to the benefit of the overall economy.

Gaudiani said Americans give twice as much as the next most charitable country, according to a November 2006 comparison done by the Charities Aid Foundation. In philanthropic giving as a percentage of gross domestic product, the U.S. ranked first at 1.7 percent. No. 2 Britain gave 0.73 percent, while France, with a 0.14 percent rate, trailed such countries as South Africa, Singapore, Turkey and Germany.
No further comment.

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