Friday, 2 December 2011

What did the Baby Boomers ever do for us? Part two

Isn't it Interesting? The UK Giving Report for 2011 shows giving back to 2009 levels, though with more people giving a bit less. The comparisons with the US however are really revealing. In the UK CAF reckon around 60% of adults give to charity whilst in the states it's nearer 80% according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. This reflect the almost straight line negative correlation some of our LSBU research showed between giving in the USA, UK and Denmark against comparitive overall tax rates!

However what is even more interesting (and depressing) is the role of the Baby Boomers in all this. As one of that self obsessed generation I had thought that we're nice socially minded, philanthropic individuals. As Francis Beckett pointed out however, when I took him to task over his critique of this generation, where are the seriously wealthy philanthropists? In the US the top decile give over 2% of their income. In the UK it is less than 1%. What's worse, whilst Cathy Pharoah points to the 100 donations of £1m plus where are the English (or Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish) equivalents of Bill Gates? Gates, along with Warren Buffet is trying to persuade the seriously rich to give 50% of their wealth to charity!

In the UK the likes of Richard Branson, Alan Sugar, Felix Dennis,Philip Green, Nicky Oppenheimer and Andrew Lloyd-Webber are seen giving a bit to charity but pledging 50% seems a giant step too far for them. So is Francis Beckett's premise right? Are we not only wastrels but bloody mean with it?