Ninety. Nine. Percent.
I've had the opportunity to rub shoulders with a few billionaires over the past few weeks, and it's remarkable how differently they think about money than the people who don't have it. Sure, they may buy a nice car (or jet), but after a certain level the only thing you can do with that kind of money is plug it back into something meaningful.
Hats off to Zuck and the other people who try to turn their success into something even greater than, well, their success.
You are thinking about it the wrong way. You don't spend $45B on stuff for yourself. You spend $45B on changing the way governments and populations live work and how power is balanced.
When Bud Fox asked Gordon Gekko "How much is enough" Gekko knew immediately that Fox wasn't in the same league. Money isn't about stuff, it's about power and influence.
I think new rich crowd will almost completely replace old generation wealthy in next 50 years or so. People who are born in this decade will have very hard time understanding philosophies and life style choices of Gorden Gekko.
See: The Millionaire next door
World is a strange place. Very few millionaires win and lose spectacularly. Nearly all of rich people out there are silent and invisible.
Peter Thiel, the godfather of "today's centi-millionaires", has a butler.
— At least he had one in 2007:
just because via social media you see more of the "new rich", which have desire to make public statements and be as visible as possible, doesn't mean that's all there is.
$45B is even overkill for that. Each presidential candidate spent (or had spent on their behalf) roughly $1B in 2012. Zuckerberg therefore could have doubled a candidates spending for each presidential election for the rest of his life and still have half his fortune. $45B is that huge.
EDIT: The multiple downvotes seem to indicate I said something that is disagreeable. I'm not implying that buying elections would be a better use of Zuckerberg's money, just that he has so much money that elections are just more "stuff" he could buy without even thinking hard about it.
That is clearly not true. If that sort of ROI existed in anywhere near the general case, a lot more people and companies would spend a lot more money on it, and they don't. Perhaps there exists lobbying opportunities with these kinds of ROIs, but they are limited, and there definitely isn't a 5,000% floor on it.
I think the problem with the zerohedge article (and the report it summarises) is that, first, they seem to assume that all corporate welfare benefits the businesses doing the lobbying locally (not to businesses in general, which is probably more the case -- Ford lobbying against foreign competition will help Chevrolet equally, regardless of how much either firm spends on lobbying), and second, that corporate welfare only exists because of lobbying: Politicians still need to get elected, and creating industry, jobs and high-profile ribbon-cutting opportunities in their districts (regardless of whether businesses lobby them for it or not) is likely to remain a popular tactic in the absence of lobbying.
The best thing politicians can do for the common good, is to get the hell out of the way and let productive people be productive.
It's nice when vanity projects end up helping the masses (and we'll have to wait and see how successful it is at that). However, we shouldn't act like this very public display of wealth (again, before anything is even done) has motives that are so different from, say, giant statues of oneself or giant mausoleums.
What's the difference between it being all done in vanity and it being all done in goodwill? It's literally the same thing to the rest of the world, the only difference is some internal chemical state in his brain.
Instead, it has to be "charity" now. Very few rich people ever did charity well.
Usually a billionaire giving his fortune away does it out of vanity, out of guilt, for the tax breaks, out of conviction that their success in business makes them equally expert in solving the world’s problems or last but not least as “legacy” as explained by John Caudwell:
It's like hating Ford because they make cars, while ignoring all other automobile companies.
And they want to build cars for all poor people, but those cars can only travel to certain destinations on certain roads, but Ford making and providing these cars means other organisations who sell bicycles or mopeds or small cars (which provide a lot more freedom) are hampered.
I like the future Bill Gates and Elon Musk want to bring. I do not like the future the Koch Brother's envision.
I won't excuse the whole "killer instinct" thing they all have in common. It's just how humans sometimes work.
Don't get me wrong - Koch et al is a weird company but there's room for that, too. W.R.T energy I hope you're right but it moves slowly.
Even if you happen to be in majority with your progressive views, in this instance, there is no guarantee for that generally, especially if we consider the entire global populace.. is what I was trying to point out.
"Everyone ... wants to shape the world in their specific ideal."
Most people give up on this idea in their mid-20s though or never really believe that they can.
Yes, well that's 100% the distinction.
The OP seems to think that the obvious choice is for money to "go to something meaningful" without specifying what "meaningful" actually is. Within this context, that would seem to mean the "meaningful" thing is "greater -good" charity. My point is that more frequently, this type of money go toward direct influence of power like setting up Super PACs, hosting power networks like Sun Valley Conference, establishing think tanks, grants to universities for certain research etc...
And you will.
At the Cleveland church he went to, significant portions of his time spent there was to write checks to parishioners.
I'd say it takes roughly the same amount of effort to spend money as it does to make it. You still need an organization, you still need to make really hard decisions day in and day out. It seems that there's something fundamental about philanthropy that doesn't scale.
Personally, I think the work a person does to earn that kind of money, assuming of course it's from legitimate commercial activity, is plenty enough, one shouldn't feel morally compelled to donate it back. But like you said, what else are you going to do with it? Doesn't make a lot of sense anymore to leave billions to heirs.
> Playboy: What does the money actually mean to you?
> Jobs: I still don’t understand it. It’s a large responsibility to have more than you can spend in your lifetime—and I feel I have to spend it. If you die, you certainly don’t want to leave a large amount to your children. It will just ruin their lives. And if you die without kids, it will all go to the Government. Almost everyone would think that he could invest the money back into humanity in a much more astute way than the Government could. The challenges are to figure out how to live with it and to reinvest it back into the world, which means either giving it away or using it to express your concerns or values.
> Playboy: So what do you do?
> Jobs: That’s a part of my life that I like to keep private. When I have some time, I’m going to start a public foundation. I do some things privately now.
> Playboy: You could spend all of your time disbursing your money.
> Jobs: Oh, you have to. I’m convinced that to give away a dollar effectively is harder than to make a dollar.
Agreed. And not to get too political, but I'm thankful that individuals in the U.S. are exceptionally generous, and do think about these things. And that those who DO earn copious amounts of money have the choice of what to donate it to - rather than having 90% of it confiscated and doled out by someone else who didn't earn it.
You don't give people fish to eat, you teach them how to fish.
Teaching isn't presently scalable. You can look to the failures of our public school system for evidence. One might be tempted to look to other countries for systems that work better, but there has to be a political path forward for implementing those systems here.
One good teacher can only teach so many. That good teacher may not be good at teaching teachers. Teaching is not warfare, where good soldiers can teach other people to teach soldiers.
Teachers that are good at teaching teachers can only teach so many teachers. Any attempt to scale a working method will eventually run out of talent. And if you don't stop when you run out of talent, then the quality of your teaching will inevitably go down. Universities can only get so big.
Billionaires who want to put their wealth towards education are pretty limited in their options.
Yah, I don't necessarily disagree with their mindset. I've crossed a lot of spectrums, including chilling and rubbing shoulders with the rich to scraping by. I definitely do agree with a lot of the lofty 'moon shots' and some of these people have achieved remarkable things not just for themselves, but for society as well.
But, with Zuck, I just don't know. Gates got rich off operating systems and crushing opponents at all costs (a success story for capitalism). Zuck, from advertising and selling 'your' data. It's admirable that he's giving 99% away, but, I just don't get a warm fuzzy feeling about it.
Time will tell and I hope it turns out good.
IMO that's a really narrow-minded read of what Facebook is. >1B people log into products he founded every day. He lets advertisers target you using data you've provided, as you sit on the platform he helped build, but I'm not convinced that makes him an evil dude.
FB might not be some evil company, but they are definitely not nice guys.
Okay perhaps he was young and naive. But is Facebook naive now in Belgium where they want to track people outside of facebook "for their own safety"?
This is EVIL!!
So, yes, you can do a lot worse (to your society) with $$billions.
(Sorry for the rant. Please carry on.)
Leave it to your children so you can perpetuate hereditary wealth on a grand scale. Because your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandchildren should never have to work, right?
Having said that, the first thing I thought of was the tax implications. If the shares were to eventually be sold (but not donated), the State of California alone would earn roughly 6 billion dollars in tax revenue. And the Federal Government another 13 - 15 billion. Assuming a lot of variables that could push the value up or down, of course, and the fact that they would be unlikely to sell the majority of their shares any time soon. My understanding is that by donating the appreciated stock to a charity, under current laws, there is zero tax due. I wonder if there's a state financial forecaster or analyst in Sacramento having a bad day today.
There is a saying "you can name the price if I can name the terms". Zuckerberg saying this and when he actually does this are two different things. (Per my other comment). I am not saying that he won't (how would I know?) but this is a promise that is based on a future event that, given the age of both parents, could easily be 50 or 60 years in the future. And of course exactly nothing will happen if he changes his mind (he isn't going to issue a press release on that) and nobody has any access to his finances anyway. So he is free to say anything he wants for any reason and that of course could change. That said it's his money and he can do what he wants with it. And there is no reason to even announce this if not playing some PR angle.
Edit: And to my point I just got a WSJ Technology Alert email with the headline "FACEBOOK'S MARK ZUCKERBERG IS GIVING AWAY 99% OF HIS SHARES" and then further down in a paragraph "over the course of their lives".
Here is the world's smallest fiddle...
And either way, the charitable organizations deserve to be supported and will do good for society, and they get to pick how it is used. Which doesn't seem like a bad thing, when the Federal government can barely agree on any budget at all.
tl;dr Giving capital gains away is very tax advantageous!
Regardless, he's saving a fortune in tax by donating money to his own foundation. It could turn out to be awesome like the Gates Foundation, but it could also be a decades long experiment in tossing money down the drain as he works on pet projects. Hopefully the former!
If so, I'm disappointed that Mark didn't choose to be Zuckerberg-Chan.
Honestly, why are you disappointed?
It's otaku humor.
The hyphenating of both names is an interesting concept, but would in all practicality be a difficult thing to pass on after a few generations if it were the standard. Though maybe I'm not thinking thorough it properly.
Where isn't it possible?
> Surnames combined with a hyphen, such as Meier-Müller, are still allowed. Combined surnames are not official registered names, but may be used in everyday situations and recorded in your passport and identity card.
So, it's not "official" but you can use it everywhere including on your official documents.
By donating stock directly, he still gets to deduct the full value of the stock without paying any tax, and the charity (or more likely, private foundation) gets to keep the full value without paying any tax. And it could take as long as it wanted to liquidate the stock and get the best price.
Yes, and the foundation will likely not liquidate the stock, but use the proceeds of some kind of swap contract.
Basically, if the Zucks own the LLC, then until funds actually leave the LLC they really haven't made a donation at all.
As someone doing research at a top university, I am constantly annoyed by short term vision and optimizing for publication number at all costs. This system is broken.
Alfred Sanger got 2 Nobel Prizes, and he spent a lot of time without publishing before each. Clearly something impossible to do these days.
"Top" "Elite" universities are usually optimized for their metric – which is the Shanghai index, which is based on number of publications in english-language magazines.
In countries outside of the Anglosphere often research at universities can go a lot slower, as they have no chance in the Shanghai index anyway.
The Fraunhofer institute has, in cooperation with Sony, VW and Mercedes, worked on self driving cars since 2002. Sometimes you just have to throw a few million euro and a few decades onto a project to get some results.
Good intentions in philanthropy are a dime a dozen, actual results are less common.
I'm curious how they plan to liquidate that shares as it will have quite some effect on the dynamics of Fb and on this:
I will continue to serve as Facebook's CEO for many, many years to come
Also, you can get loans at very low rates by putting shares into collateral. This is how Larry Ellison funds much of his endeavors.
They'll donate 99% of their shares along their lifetimes. In the meantime, they'll get cash in several ways: dividends, salaries, bonuses, etc.
Empires grow and empires crumble.
Anyway though, it's still a lot. And I hope they follow what other billionaires have been doing; not just throwing it at charities, but putting it into research and even funding entirely new projects.
Funding startups and research labs that have no economic goal or an economic return to shareholders is something that is very needed. I see much of the funding coming from this.
Are you referring to The Giving Pledge ? Both Mark and Priscilla have signed it :
"We salute the Giving Pledge movement, and are proud to be part of its declaration that those who have been fortunate should give back at least half of their wealth during their lifetimes."
You might be interested in reading about Chuck Feeney (the founder of Duty Free Stores), who was the original guy advocating for such hands-on charitable work.
Four hundred. And fifty. Million.
I hope you understand that your personal experience is anecdotal evidence at best and perception bias for you didn't take into account the downside for the rest of the population.
What about this stubborn family member who refuses to have a facebook account because he believes in privacy as a fundamental freedom, how exactly facebook is bringing you closer to him/her?
Please define active user as it could mean anything, then again don't, as number of used (which is more appropriate than users for facebook) and advertising dollars are hardly valid metrics for bringing people together and positive life changing.
Turns out you are right actually, some are suffering through the experience and feel they are forced to use facebook, note that they are mostly in the same demographic group which happen to be the next generations of adults.
This tin foil hat edge case is a boat that has sailed a while ago, facebook is a major privacy problem and as we know privacy is the foundation for liberty and freedoms. But Facebook is also censorship and manufacturing public opinion.
Not only that, but contrary to your personal experience facebook usually makes people miserable and feel bad about themselves and other personal experience point to it being bad and getting worse at giving you the meaningful posts.
If you care about your loved ones and family you should help them get away from facebook, not trap them in by putting all you interactions with them there.
A.We can all confidently agree that a large number of users use fb.
B. Most of what you have linked is opinion pieces. The first one I clicked had private chat transcripts from Zuckerberg when he was a kid and fb was nothing like what it is today.
C. Some studies are referenced which show people are miserable using social networks. Similar results have been "derived" for almost anything: news, video games, television, cell phones etc. I recommend taking it with a pinch of salt.
D. You say that advertising dollars mean nothing. Exactly the opposite is true. Try getting coke, kraft, apple and other brands to associate themselves with something that makes miserable.
Firstly, the donation is stock not cash, so the value of this foundation will be directly linked to the value of Facebook shares.
Secondly, it has been stated that one of the things this foundation will do is "participate in policy debates". If the headline was "Mark Zuckerberg to put $45 billion is stock behind lobbying effort to establish Internet.org as a monopoly in developing countries", that wouldn't sound quite so positive, would it?
> Firstly, the donation is stock not cash, so the value of this foundation will be directly linked to the value of Facebook shares.
So? The vast majority of his wealth is in Facebook shares. That doesn't change the fact that he's giving away the vast majority of it. You think he should have sold it all now, destroyed its value, and donated a much smaller pot?
> it has been stated that one of the things this foundation will do is "participate in policy debates".
One of many things. Not to mention he has never attempted to make Internet.org anything close to a monopoly.
That your reaction to an incredibly charitable act is such pure cynicism is absolutely disgusting. There are plenty of billionaires who hoard their money or perpetuate hereditary fortunes, and those who don't should be commended.
Do you even know what Internet.org is? They're providing free access to a subset of the internet that Facebook controls, while forcing people to pay if they want to access the internet as a whole. The entire reason Internet.org exists is to create a Facebook monopoly on data access in developing countries.
Your entire comment is naive.
An initiative can be charitable while also benefiting the donor. The users of Internet.org get free access to Facebook as well as the other services being provided and that doesn't detract from the service or make the whole initiative evil.
I have yet to see research that providing a zero-rating service is harmful as you suggest.
"Internet.org provides access to a subset of the internet that Facebook chooses to pay for."
> Last time I glanced through the agreement, Facebook is just trying to avoid paying for HD photos and video downloads, which would increase the cost of Internet.org beyond feasibility.
This could be achieved by choking bandwidth, which would be easier to implement, simpler, and more transparent. Instead, you get stuff like:
Let's be absolutely clear here: Facebook wants to control what content gets into Free Basics and how it's presented, and is willing to make security impossible in order to do it. This enables both censorship and mass surveillance controlled by Facebook and whoever is willing to pay them.
> The users of Internet.org get free access to Facebook as well as the other services being provided and that doesn't detract from the service or make the whole initiative evil.
It's not the things users get access to that I'm worried about, it's the things they don't get access to, and who else gets access to those user's data.
In particular, regarding your statement "he has never attempted to make Internet.org anything close to a monopoly", it surely looks like that's the end game here - see https://www.techinasia.com/talk/facebooks-internetorg-evil/ (discussed on HN here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10568525)
Also the cause you listed is just one of many that he is gifting to so you're missing the forest for the trees. To help overcome this, list all of the good causes he mentioned (personalized learning, curing disease etc), then list the ones that you don't like. I bet the list of good causes will be far longer than the list of ones you don't like.
Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, said they were forming a new organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, to manage the money, through an unusual limited liability corporate structure. [...] By using a limited liability company instead of a nonprofit corporation or foundation, the Zuckerberg family will be able to go beyond making philanthropic grants. They will invest in companies, lobby for legislation and seek to influence public policy debates, which nonprofits are restricted from doing under tax laws. A spokeswoman for the family said that any profits from the investments would be plowed back into the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for future projects.
So what if the donation is stock?
Since when does
> We must participate in policy and advocacy to shape debates. Many institutions are unwilling to do this, but progress must be supported by movements to be sustainable.
mean "lobbying effort to establish Internet.org as a monopoly in developing countries"?
If having a child has made him rethink his views (which would be normal) then that's great. Too bad he didn't have a child before and started this initiative few years ago!
What part of "curing diseases" sounds greedy, egomaniac, or bad in any sense? I hope he joins Gates, Thiel, Parker, Diamandis, Page, Kurzweil, and many others on their quest to eradicate diseases from the face of earth. And I hope he funds Aubrey De Grey like Thiel is doing...
It's a hugely net positive thing he is doing no question.
People just don't talk about it anymore, so he's all good now.
But there's obviously something shady about his dealings: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2013/06/07/bill-gates-big-pharma-b...
Would the outcome be better or worse if we had, say, a 99% tax bracket at >$N million, and let the public decide the best way to deploy that funding via the ballot box? Would that process better align with the values of a democratic society? Or would we just get more corporate welfare, bombers and aircraft carriers?
I'm not ragging on philanthropy--it's awesome that some of these billionaires understand the meaning of "enough" and choose to give away their fortunes to worthy causes. But is it best for society to leave it to a few lucky 'elite' to judge what is and isn't a worthy cause?
The main reason for the failure of the donation to create positive change was that the community wasn't engaged at all in the reform process. The first time Newark students and parents heard about the donation and the accompanying "reforms" were when Zuckerberg announced them on Oprah.
I completely agree with your sentiment, and wish philanthropy wasn't seen as an unmitigated good thing.
We need the 99% tax because we had it before, and at that time, the public was more engaged. It will take time, but people can learn civic skills.
Or would we just get more corporate welfare, bombers and aircraft carriers?
Traditionally the state has been a form of wealth redistribution, because while it may not be a true democracy, citizens still vote, and could potentially vote to have the majority of the wealth redistributed equally amongst themselves.
But instead we have a power struggle between those with the means to sway others and the idealists. While I'm sure the idealists will probably never attain their utopia, if they don't continue to share their dream we'll end up living someone else's self-serving one.
Billionaires will spend their money in more efficient and productive ways than our government spends tax dollars. You may disagree with a rich individual's vision of the future, but he will be vastly more likely to effect his vision than our elected officials.
But they'll spend less of it on the public good.
The government may be less efficient (also, citation needed there, as I don't buy that at face value), but even if it is it has access to WAY more funds.
Sure, we have some nice billionaires like Zuckerberg and Gates who give their money away, but if you required all the billionaires to give up some money, you'd have a much larger pool to work with. So efficiency isn't the only part of this argument. There is also volume.
If we had that and still had charitable deductions, I suspect more public goods would be funded by charity rather than public decision-making then is now the case, since the marginal cost of charity giving would be much lower.
Even with a 99% tax on Zucker's fortune, it would still be diverting money from countries around the globe towards the US, in other words the already rich and destroying condition favorable to human life USA would get richer by making the poor poorer.
In a world with no countries, it would make sense. In the current world it would be another way for the USA to abuse and exploit the rest of the world.
> the answer to the variety of problems that plague Chicago's South Side, New Orleans, or any number of troubled communities?
No one (government, private sector, etc.) has the answer to those problems. Those are really really hard problems that require the cooperation of non-profits, local governments, religious institutions, families, etc. I don't think they're expecting to be a silver bullet.
I already voluntarily pay more taxes than I need to. It's pretty easy to (legally) pay much less tax if you are running your own business.
Also, I and quite a few other people I know don't use GiftAid when giving to charity or buying things from charities (GiftAid basically lets the charity claim back the income tax that I've paid on that money) for the reason that the government is better placed to know what projects need money than I am. They are more likely to spend the money on 'unfashionable' things that don't trigger the same emotional response in people but are actually more effective uses of money.
Basic income on the premise of infrastructure renovations is something I'm fully behind and I think many more citizens would be too, specifically those getting by on food stamps.
That's exactly why billionaires donate to their causes directly instead of letting the government allocate it; they don't trust the government with that extra money any more than you do.
This is a well received economic theory, not a way to save face on taxes by promising to give away money in the future so that I don't have to pay taxes now (Zuck).
1. He can afford really good advisers. Democratically elected can be good. But they might be good at campaigning and only get selected because of party status.
2. He can afford to monitor charities closely. And enforce legal action if they fuck around. When you invest several millions, you probably take care that they reach the destination. If you just pay little taxes that go everywhere and you also have day job, much slimmer chance.
3. These individuals could fund projects that in the future give back to whole humanity. But such projects aren't always popular with the public in the start.
edit: "its his money" doesn't explain why he would be more able to judge how to donate money, or effect positive change than someone else. i understand he is allowed to spend it how ever he chooses. the point i'm trying to make is that someone is not inherently more likely to know the right thing to do than someone else just because they have more money.
Then again, the US is more likely to spend trillions on wars abroad without those really improving their own country, so on that note, it's probably better for a philanthropist to invest the money in a charity with a singular goal, such as education or research.
Each model has its strengths, weaknesses, and problems it is most suited to, just like public vs. private industry.
Their public pledge to donate 45 billion dollars
Secondly there appears to be a duality between how the company operates and what this post tries to rally for.
Finally, using the pretense of writing a letter to their newly born daughter rubs some the wrong way.
If Fb goes the Google way and its value continues to go up, the donation will be worth more. It's true that the donation is of unclear value. But calling it $45 billion is a way to communicate the scope of the pledge that they've committed to.
> Secondly there appears to be a duality between how the company operates and what this post tries to rally for.
It's important to distinguish between the behavior of a person and the behavior of Facebook, Inc. Every time the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation does something, we don't get dozens of people rising out of the woodwork harping on Microsoft's unethical business practices - but Bill Gates' mid-90s Microsoft was definitely on par with Facebook at its worst. It's okay to celebrate good things done, as long as we don't fully forget how we got there. We should continue to criticize Facebook as a company even as we recognize that the individual here is attempting something great.
> Finally, using the pretense of writing a letter to their newly born daughter rubs some the wrong way.
It's a pretty easy and effective rhetorical device. The letter is obviously targeted at the world, or he wouldn't have published it. But it's a good way to present some emotional framing - this is why he cares so much, why he's invested in a better world. Not all attempts to inspire pathos in the reader are rooted in evil, it's just a tool for effective writing.
2.Any substantiation for that?
3.Okay. Should've sent a friend request first.
Being critical of the claim to donate 45 billion dollars is pretty natural. First, they didn't say 45 billion, they said a percentage of their worth which right now is 45 billion dollars. You would have a very strong point if they had just delivered the check for 45 billion dollars and people were criticizing it.
But they didn't do that. They wrote a post on the internet saying they're going to give away their money sometime in their lifetime.
So, yeah, if he wants to open himself up to public scrutiny with a tastless "letter to my daughter that i'm actually making for the public because my daughter can't understand this for another 10 years", people are going to criticize.
But he has 45 billion freaking dollars, so I doubt he cares.
They talk about facebook, donations, improving the world, their beliefs, etc. but very little on how to be a better person or how to enjoy life. Maybe I'm projecting, but what would you want to find in your pillow after moving in for your first day of college?
I hope they wrote their daughter a real letter. One directed to her and not something that will be tweeted by hundreds of news organizations.
"Your mother and I don't yet have the words to describe the hope you give us for the future...
Our hopes for your generation focus on two ideas: advancing human potential and promoting equality...
We can do this work only because we have a strong global community behind us. Building Facebook has created resources to improve the world for the next generation. Every member of the Facebook community is playing a part in this work...
Love, Mom and Dad"
Philanthropy aside, doen's this "letter" read like a scene from the Silicon Valley TV show?
What's not a solved problem is our disappearing fisheries, rhinos going extinct all over the place, farmland desertification, tropical deforestation, ocean acidification... From my back of the envelope math, it seems that longer lives and a larger population will exacerbate our environmental and resource issues.
I'd like to see billionaires purchase large tracks of land simply for preservation. Cleaning up industrial waste from rivers. Foot the salaries of anti-poaching efforts. Get clean fusion energy production up and running. That sort of thing. Perhaps we should get our planet's shit together before tackling immortality?
It sounds like they are doing exactly what you request.
Humans need to eat less meat and fish. Much less. Like, in rich countries, at least 95% less.
That is a separate problem from ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is directly linked to pollution from fossil fuel usage.
Ocean acidification however, is caused by the fact that the oceans absorb the excess of CO2 present in the atmosphere; and livestock are responsible for more CO2 production than all of transportation.
There's a common misconception that all CO2 is bad. CO2 is a natural part of the bio cycles found on Earth, what's bad about using fossil fuels is the rapid expansion of CO2 (and other gases) in the environment where life lives, which causes instability and damage as the Earth adapts.
We need intergovernmental coordination and limits on market forces much more than we need an energy MacGuffin.
So you don't think cheap and effective clean energy technologies are very useful to encourage moving away from oil and coal?
But the deciding factor is can we make everyone stop using the cheap fossil fuels that are basically free money lying in the ground. Oil price will follow demand. It might get cheaper if western countries cut consumption, but someone will still buy the rest with the lower price. And there is nothing in the horizon that would displace oil and coal at their minimum profitable production prices for developing countries (where most people live) in the requisite timeframe. If we leave it to markets, this is the case by overwhelming odds, Zuckerberg or no Zuckerberg.
Think what needs to happen on the world stage in order to enact a global ban (1) on oil pumping and coal mining within 20 years. That's the job. Interests of nations addicted to the oil income, interests of nations whose agriculture is entirely dependent on cheap imported oil, etc. Easy UN consensus?
And this is just the energy sector, there's more to climate change drivers. So fixing this is necessary but not sufficient. The same political measures that are needed to coordinate the energy sector will also work for the other sectors. But energy tech won't.
(1) A very high tax really, that 99% prevents use in fuel applications. Ban is a simpler word.
edit: added bit about fossil prices reacting to demand in west
You could aim for that, or you could aim for a steady stream of improvements leading to larger change once momentum is built. Or in other words, revolution vs. evolution. If you want to pursue revolution, go for it, I'll continue to pursue evolution.
I do favour ramping down incrementally, and we should get started ASAP.
Remember that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. If you truly want your revolution, then lead the way by action. I'll continue supporting change in my own way.
In other words you get billion dollars but realize it is all for naught as you will be worm food in 100 years.
So some go full Kurzweill, some find/found religion, some do a bit of everything.
This problem is not unique to billionaires but they can attempt to roll a bigger rock up the mountain.
I think you have an OK point and the more intelligent rich people like Elon Musk are the ones furthering your agenda. Bill and Zuck were always too conventional to think big like this. Their conventionality was part of their success--they are both too uncreative to come up with something new but instead they know how to steal the ideas of others and make a more competitive business out of them.
Can't we just say, "Dude we are happy for you, and thanks for the money."
And what happened to the rule about not saying stuff you wouldn't say to a person's face. Would you be calling Mark a narcissist to his face? Keep it civil people.
I definitely would. I'd call him a cunt too. He is one, and in my country you call a cat a cat. None of that tippy toeing around you english people do, Zuck is a horrible person as the last ten years has shown everyone, Facebook is a despicable company with despicable ethics.
This letter is vomit inducing, and the comment section is rich people stroking each other for "helping the world" after being major actors in destroying it, fuck them all too.
He will rival Bill Gates in the magnitude of philanthropic contributions.
And in other news Facebook Notes is challenging Medium as the default one-column publishing tool.
Note as well, that of all the immaterial goods that have the potential to create immense value to people and humanity, education and health are the ones strongly highlighted. Global equality is there, but to a critic this too will be seen as another factor in building and supporting an ever-growing, and long-living, consumerist middle class.
There is very little said about freedom, democracy, privacy, justice or self-determination. Even if this reading is unfair, cynical or simply too demanding of what this text and announcement is. Not to mention detracting from what is otherwise a highly admirable act.
1. It's a drop in the bucket compared to what governments spend on a regular basis trying to solve these problems. (Bill Gates has said as much.)
2. Private charity by the billionaire class is not a scalable solution. Historically most social advancement has happened through popular organization and government programs, not charity.
Silicon Valley itself is a product of government spending. The Internet and thus Facebook wouldn't exist without billions of taxpayer investment in early stage high risk research and procurement via DARPA and other government agencies. That continues today (just a couple examples: Siri and autonomous vehicles).
If we are serious about accomplishing social change and "long term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years," the answers lie in greater government investment in these areas. Just like Silicon Valley. And that means all Silicon Valley companies should be paying back to the government just as they would an early stage investor. Not as a "noble choice" but as an obligation. (Currently they get the core tech pretty much for free.) That would drum up an order of magnitude more funding for much-needed social projects.
I'd like to hear more Silicon Valley CEOs talk about that.
But on the other hand.. nobody really knows?
Off-topic: can Facebook please go ahead and literally kill the blogging industry by giving the ability for everyone to use these updated Notes section? As is, the majority of the referrer on the Internet is Facebook. They might as well get the blogs out of the way.
We will give 99% of our Facebook shares -- currently about $45 billion -- during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others."