How do you measure altruism?
America donates over 2% of its GDP to charity every year.
But how does a person make the conscious decision to simply give money away, to charities or people or countries that they will never know?
Economists, scientists and mathematicians alike have all tried to devise algorithms or formulas and experiments to determine if our actions are truly altruistic or born out of other incentives
Do people help others because they are altruistic?
Or do they help others because of an innate, personal desire that makes them feel good in the tummy when they help someone else?
Is it for social factors, to look good amongst peers or society?
It might even be economical–helping others can be an investment for reciprocated assistance in the future.
Or, maybe it’s simply logical to help others, after all, we all live on Earth and survive together.
Either way, I’ve thought about this and this is my conclusion:
Does it matter?
Honestly, in the end, determining altruistic behavior and the incentives underlying the altruistic actions is seemingly pointless to me. (although, it is still an interesting research topic!)
If I receive help from another person, I will take it and understand that there are numerous reasons why that individual might be helping me, and numerous factors which I cannot count or decipher.
If I offer assistance to other people, I understand that there are uncountable factors that could have lead me to make such a decision. But still, in the end, my primary objective is simply to help.
So let’s not worry too much about the math or the science of altruism.
Let’s simply foster a community where charity is encouraged and praised and healthy.