On a Less Cynical Note

Steve Clemons also blogs:

There are 1300 Clinton Global Initiative members here today. Each has paid more than $15,000 just to get in the door -- which is only the beginning of other substantial financial "do good" projects a member must commit to.

So far, there have been more than 600 commitments made at previous CGI meetings -- and now, the Clinton Global Initiative has launched a new site for people not at this meeting to propose and declare their commitments. The site is called MyCommitment.org. Interesting idea actually. Inspirational for those looking to feel connected to a larger network of socially concerned people and groups.

Now, obviously, despite my somewhat jaundiced views about charity as an approach to tackling big issues, this is a good thing. And, indeed, it seems to me that it's an especially good thing in that the "commitments" go beyond the merely financial. One of the best things about engagement in charitable activities -- especially if it's real engagement rather than mere check-writing -- is that it can get people emotionally invested in the issues they're working on which can, over time, help broaden perspectives and get people more involved with the need for systemic remedies. In principle, there's a possibility for conflict between allocating resources toward charitable giving and toward political advocacy, but in practice I'm not sure that conflict really arises -- if you build social capital and a sense of engagement, you tend to get both.