Altruism made easy…

It’s the last day of a beautiful three-day weekend and I’m sitting in my fancy new living room reflecting on the harmless self-indulgence of the past few days… comedy romp, bachelorette party, happy hours, “donuts,” movies… general-purpose yuppie fun. I often feel guilty for spending my free time (read: those few hours a week that are not occupied by work and subsistence) in a self-absorbed coma, but the following email I found in my inbox this morning reminded me that even when picking lint off of my socks, I’m “making a difference.”

Dear Seema Shah ,

The business you have loaned to, Taller de Bloques Maritza , has made a repayment of $75.00. The total amount repaid up to now is $450.00. The payment was collected and deposited by Kendall Mau. This repayment will be divided amongst all the lenders who helped to fund this business, depending upon the percentage each lender contributed. Note that you cannot actually withdraw or reloan these funds until after the loan term is complete.

To view your Kiva loan portfolio go to:
http://www.kiva.org/app.php?page=account

With altruism made so easy, there’s really no excuse these days for being a leech on the world.

Yuppies & brats of the world… If your lavish lifestyle leaves you feeling depraved or conflicted, the next time you drop a Benjamin for a few drinks at some chichi lounge, negate your uselessness by loaning the same amount to someone here so that they may earn in one month what you consumed in one hour.

Lazy people, busy people, and broke-ass people of the world… if you feel like you can’t “give” because you haven’t the time or the money to donate, find a new excuse. If you have internet access, a bank account, and liquid assets of at least $25, you can loan money to the world’s working poor to improve their livelihood.

Capitalists of the world… If you’re looking for a new investment opportunity, recognize that positive returns are not always financial. Invest in an entrepreneur for whom failure is really not an option.

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2 Responses to “Altruism made easy…”


  1. 1 livepaola February 20, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Hi Seema. Very interesting. I have actually been tempted to put a bit of money into Zopa, which seems to have a similar concept, except that your money does not go to an individual borrower but is spread across many. Consistently, Zopa’s approach is more business-like and less charitable – but hey, if one believes in markets, that’s probably a plus. So far, you must live in the UK in order to be eligible to lend (it must be devilishly difficult to even start explaining to financial services regulators what it is, let alone get approval to operate), but Zopa plans to come to the US soon. I’ll be watching out as the service is brought to more countries.

  2. 2 brady February 25, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Done. I’m going to try out Kiva.org.


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