Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, offers physicians from wealthy countries the opportunity to utilize their medical expertise in poor areas. To do so, however, many physicians must forgo large salary earnings–sums that would likely save more lives if they were donated rather than sacrificed….
The starting yearly salary for a physician employed by MSF is currently under $20,000. By contrast, the mean 2009 salary for a general practitioner in the U.S. is $168,550. Clearly, there are more efficient uses of many doctors’ time and skills than to join MSF, even (or especially) if their main motivation is to save lives and treat the sick. Indeed, many U.S. physicians could easily donate enough to more than cover the salary of another doctor employed by MSF and pay for his/her medical supplies.
A similar issue arises in other professions.
The dilemma was posed by Prof. Christopher Olivola, Carnegie Mellon University
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