You can’t give this stuff away

I’m not sure this a helpful model for charity per se, but it does feel a bit like a prophetic act. I wonder if our dollar-distributor would have fared much better near the same spot 20 or 50 or 100 years ago. An economist would likely note that what our prophet found out was that most people priced the amount of effort and risk involved in figuring out what was really going on, making a promise to a stranger, and then either carrying it out or reneging on it, at something more than a buck.

About the same time that Ibnale was handing out umbrellas, Brett Lockspeiser took $100 worth of dollar bills to the 16th Street Mission BART Station and held up a sign.

“I will give you $1 for you to give to someone else,” the sign said. Throughout the evening rush, Lockspeiser stood in the station, trying to give away dollar bills.

“Everyone though I was trying to scam them,” he said. “They wanted to know what I was up to. I told them they just had to promise to give the $1 to someone else.”

After three hours, Lockspeiser had managed to give away only $52. One passer-by did not take the $1 but, suspecting that Lockspeiser was down and out, handed him a pair of socks.

from “Secret Society for Creative Philanthropy,” by Steve Rubenstein,, 26 February 2010 :: via The Morning News

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