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Monday, January 03, 2005

Tsunami relief

I commented yesteday about the fact that the United States had upped their pledge to $350 million but that is just money coming from the government. Money from private citizens and corporations is pouring in in much smaller amounts obviously but I am sure that the total amount given by private citizens and corporations will rival that given by our government. It is a very good thing that people are trying to do what they can for people that they don't know in places that they will probably never visit and many people may have a hard time finding. Some of the big philanthropists are drug companies. Pfizer will be $10 million in cash and $25 million in drugs, Coca-Cola is donating $10 million, Exxon-Mobil is donating $5 million, Citicorp, Merck, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are each donating $3 million, Johnson and Johnson and Abbott are giving $2 million, and Bristol-Myers Squibb is donating $1 million in cash and $3 million in Anti-biotics and Anti-fungal drugs. The other pharmaceutical companies will donate drugs as well. Nike, American Express, General Electric, and Starbucks are also big donators as well. It would be very easy to find an ulterior motive for all of these companies' giving. It could be argued that the pharmaceutical companies are donating a lot because many of them have black eyes and this is a great PR move. Several of the other companies have corporate interests in the area. It would be very easy to say this, but it doesn't matter but ulterior motives don't matter if the money is getting where it's needed. On the other side, people can crow that the money for disaster relief is coming from "evil corporations" to the chagrin of hollywood. I will make two arguments against that point, Sandra Bullock has given $1 million to the Red Cross. I am sure that there are other stars that have made substantial donations but a lot of people like to remain silent about the amount that they donated and who they donated to. For the most part, an individual will not be able to compete with the philanthropy of a corporation and they shouldn't have to compete. A person should give what they feel is right. Again I say it doesn't matter who gave what and for what reason as long as they are giving.

In Iraq, the total for December has risen to 72 and January has risen to 2. This brings the total for the war to 1335. This is nowhere near the total in SE Asia but there was no reason it should have happened.


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