A good thing from birbsite:

A campaign to help abolish a bunch of medical debt in the places that have the most. Including Flint:

Every dollar you give buys $100 of medical debt and takes it away from someone else, so even a small amount can help someone else out a lot!

This has raised another $3,000 since I posted it! That's $300,000 in medical debt WIPED OUT for people who would have struggled to pay it.

This is saving folks from evictions, hunger, and bad credit.

Keep it up everyone!

"With every donation, RIP uses its precise data analytics to pinpoint the medical debt of those most in need of relief: households whose income is less than two times the federal poverty level guideline or are insolvent."

This sounds like using surveillance capitalism to profit of off the poor to me.

I have yet to see a nonprofit that doesn't pay their employees...

@aladar well, nonprofit employees also have to eat. There's quite a bit of wiggle room between letting people survive while doing work and profiting off the poor, though.

At any rate, they have their financial statements posted on their website, so you can see for yourself whether you think they're turning a profit on this:

Yeah, says their CEO takes $344k/year. That... Sounds like profiting to me, what's the average pay in the US, 60k?

Sounds like using unethical behavior to erase another unethical behavior...

@aladar I see in there the salaries for the two board chairs, but not anything for the CEO specifically, just employees in aggregate.

It is odd for the board of directors to get a salary that they did, actually. So that's a red flag.

So donate your money to something else, I guess.

COO, not CEO, sorry. I mean, I'm not expecting people to work with nonprofits for sub minimal wage, but they filed over $500k in salaries to 3 people, and $220k in "other salaries". I don't mean to be am ass, and as a chronically ill person I absolutely want to see the people's debts gone, but I'm getting a bad vibes when a company starts off by using unethical methods in the first place... I'm pretty much torn between two principles I try to stand for with this.

@aladar The COO is the only salary I'd really question there, to be honest. That's a high salary for an ED, but not unreasonable, especially for New York City.

The analytics part is something I'd like to know more about. I'm in favor of just wiping the debt out en masse, no matter whose debt is getting wiped out. I don't know how they get the information about how much money the people in question have - are all debt buyers provided with that, or do they have to go looking for it?


I'd agree that it's using the tools of surveillance capitalism, and I wonder how and why.

But they're operating at a scale I can't operate at - I can't send $10 back to Flint and have it magically turn into $1000 of debt forgiveness for anyone by myself. And I don't see anyone else doing it.

And people have to choose between paying those bills and heating their houses. And it's November. And so I'm less interested in the ideological purity of the whole thing right now.

If I understand it right its the standard "info bundle" or whatever - credit scores, debt listing, bank data, deanonymized web and shopping logs, the whole shebang. I can't prove it, obviously, bit that's usually what's happening with data sales.

I get that you're more interested in the life saving aspect of it, thats why I say I'm torn. I'm glad people are being helped, but I'm not sure if I want to help nefarious businesses compiling data without consent... :/

(Just to clarify, I don't think - I hope at least - that RIP is doing anything unethical, but sadly buying that info gives pure profit to unethical companies... But they can't do anything without it... It's all screwed up...)

@aladar we definitely agree there. It's all fucked up and this is a tiny cork in a firehose and we need a structural solution to this. But I'm in favor of working on both.

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