With Batkid, don’t point out the obvious
In a Washington Post editorial, Princeton’s Peter Singer helpfully reminds us that the money spent on Batkid in San Francisco last month could’ve more efficiently been used saving or bettering the lives of dozens, if not hundreds of people through the efforts of nonprofit organizations operating around the world.
Clearly. I don’t think anyone had argued that making 5-year-old leukemia patient Miles Scott’s day was the most efficient, mathematically optimized use of money. But Singer skims over the fact that our spending as members of a wealthy industrialized nation spans the entire spectrum of utility. Did I need that slightly upgraded television with an extra HDMI input? How about that new Montblanc pen? Or the millions of Xbox Ones and PlayStation 4s sold in the past several weeks? What if we’d all went to a slightly less expensive place for dinner last night?
Indeed, on that scale, Batkid’s Make-A-Wish outlay was money well spent: it brought a major city together in a way that little else could, put a spotlight on leukemia research, and mesmerized a weary nation in perpetual need of good news.