Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Giving Helps the Giver

I listened to a terrific forum address at BYU by Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute. His intriguing thesis is this: people who give of their means to others end up receiving more than they give. In other words, being philanthropic leads to being more wealthy rather than vice versa. You can hear audio of the speech or you can watch the video. I can't provide a direct link to the video, but click here and then click "Conferences and Addresses" and then find the forum address from 2/24/2009.

He sets forth four myths that he rebuts during the presentation:
  1. Giving makes us poorer.
  2. People are naturally selfish.
  3. Giving is a luxury.
  4. Our nation can afford to substitute government for private giving.
As a Mormon, I particularly enjoyed his story about the "magic briefcase" near the end of his talk. He talks about a BYU briefcase he was given as a gift and the reactions from others and from himself when he--a Roman Catholic--carried it around when his regular briefcase broke.

On his website, he has a bunch of interesting statistics pulled from his book on this subject that you might find interesting.

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