I loved the film *After the Wedding*, which I saw last night. One sub-theme of the movie is how easy it is to control the altruistic. You need only offer money to save someone's life. What does it cost to save a life, a few hundred bucks in India? Even less?
"Bark like a dog, and I'll save an Indian life!"
This is perhaps one reason why people have so little altruism for very poor strangers. They have evolved so they are not open to these kinds of manipulation.
Imagine using charity to, in effect, pay altruists to embarrass themselves, just for kicks.
Oddly I had a conversation about this topic in a taxicab today. If you are altruistic, it is easy to precommit. Hire someone to give money to India, and require them to pull away the money from the Indians if you don't lose those pounds on your overweight frame. What should we conclude from the fact that no one seems to do this?