Admit it: you were wondering where this week's ice-bucket challenge story was. At Slate, Felix Salmon writes about why giving to disease-specific charities is "a bad idea".
"Clearly this fad has outlasted just about all expectations. It’s almost as though it were invented in some kind of viral factory.... It has celebrity and built-in virality ('tagging' friends) and wet T-shirts and humor (all those #fail videos)—and, crucially, it has a random Good Cause attached. Even if you think the whole fad is incredibly stupid and/or dangerous, it has become de rigueur to say that if you don’t want to pour ice water all over yourself, it’s still important to donate to ALS.... But giving money to a disease-specific charity is a very odd, and peculiarly ineffective, way of spending your philanthropic dollar—especially when your donation is a one-off thing. What is the ALS Association going to do with all this money? They haven’t said. The organization’s primary focus is scientific: They fund research into the disease and potential cures. ALS is a tough nut to crack, however: After 30 years of work, we don’t seem to be any closer to finding a cure. And there’s no particular reason to believe that we’re $100 million away from finally getting somewhere." -- Felix Salmon, Slate.com