I wouldn't be surprised if private donations will eventually be responsible for the eradication of Malaria (1000 deaths daily, much more suffering and cost to society).
If you're in tech you're likely to be in a great position to create value beyond your company. For example, donating equity from your startup or a fraction of your income to the charities that can prove they are having the most cost effective impact on the world:
I tried looking for similar grants to religious services organizations from other religions, but my search came up empty. Very happy to stand corrected on this.
They've also given over $150 million to the Islamic Development Bank to support their vaccine efforts and smaller amounts to dozens of other Muslim-based groups for different initiatives. Likewise for Jewish organizations.
B&MG Foundation are incredibly results driven, all of their grants come with direction for measuring impact and reporting on it. They aren't giving to religious organizations to further religion, but because those organizations are best suited to reach the most people or best suited to responsibly steward enormous amounts of money and resources.
*He should improve contraception instead*
Given 1000 donors donating a million vs 1 donor with a billion (as somebody else points out below) you could imagine such biases being averaged out ...
For example political campaign donations are obviously zero-sum, as is lobbying for mutually exclusive well-intentioned causes.
For example suppose that we want to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if convincing people to use contraception is a more effective charitable intervention than whatever Gates is doing.
If the Catholic Church really hates contraception, they would oppose that. They might tell Catholic charities to refuse to work with Gates. They might spend a little money and a lot of cheap labor on convincing people to not use contraception. Generally they will spend resources on doing the opposite thing and Gates would have to spend more resources just to cancel out the Catholic influence.
Since we know beforehand that this is very likely to happen, we should include that in the cost part of our cost-benefit analysis. It's possible Gates did just that and concluded that working with Catholics instead of against them is better.
Buffett took tremendous flack and there was very public outcry before he started donating. His rationale was that I'll just stack it up, and his late ex-wife Susie would distribute it after he died. However, when Susie passed away unexpectedly, Warren decided to make the move.
Currently, our geo-economic systems are structured such that the world's underclasses rely on the emotions of the wealthiest 0.0001% of homo sapiens in America to continually fund triage operations to ameliorate problems that societies have developed institutionalized solutions to.
I think this argument misses, or even reinforces a core criticism about the concentration of wealth. The criticism is that so much and such disproportionate power should not be concentrated in the hands of one individual.
It's fundamentally undemocratic and a danger to society. In a democracy a broad-based group of citizens should be deciding where charitable resources are allocated. It's in aristocracies were a few wealthy control all the assets and make the decisions. Democracies were formed as a rejection of aristocracy, the U.S. in particular.
It's self-reinforcing: If the local 'aristocrat' funds a park, people are grateful because there were no other funds and now we have a park. But there are no other funds because we have a system that creates aristocrats and by concentrating wealth also creates the need for their charity, and instead of the citizens deciding democratically about their parks, the aristocrat decides.
Gates might be an enlightened despot but he's still a despot (in an exaggerated, metaphorical sense). We know what happens to nations and political systems that fall in love with enlightened despots.
> Somebody who donates a million (while a great contribution), will never have the impact that a billionaire can.
1,000 people who donate a million will have exactly the same impact as one who donates a billion and will be far more democratic. Far better: Each person makes an equal sacrifice (via a progressive taxation system) and we vote on how to spend the money.
Except if they don't. Or they do to a variety of causes, each with duplicate administrative overhead.
I'm not a fan of wealth concentration, but it does afford patronage opportunities that simply aren't taken on average in the alternative "more people with less money" world.
Except when the billionaire doesn't. Is there evidence that billionaires donate a greater proportion of their wealth or more effectively than millionaires? Is a market of 1 more efficient than a market of 1,000?
I'd bet that the law of large numbers applies here, and the 1,000 people are overall more consistent than 1 person, and less prone to extreme swings.
It sounds like the trickle-down economics version of philanthropy.
In an alternative universe we tax people more and ensure malaria eradication _whether or not Bill Gates personally decides to do so_.
There are obviously coordination problems (not saying that "government can solve everything!", there are difficulties there too). But having huge organizations ask for donations from people is a really ineffective way of solving most societal problems.
Government theoretically could solve everything but it requires good government to do so. The first step is what I stated above, respect for private property rights. If people cannot be assured their product of their work is theirs to use you cannot improve the society they live in. They must be able to trust their government.
Just because the Soviet Union fell over doesn't mean that capitalism has somehow been proven to be "the best solution".
>Just because the Soviet Union fell over doesn't mean that capitalism has somehow been proven to be "the best solution".
Name one country implemented socialism (and by that I mean the government owns the means of production) and didn't end up worse off than when it started. Even the Northern European welfare states are capitalist.
edit: My above interpretation isn't quite right. It should be "its state as of the latest known point in time the predicate was true."
He should improve contraception instead. Would be better for the Africans AND Europeans.
Yeah. Perhaps he should imitate this charitable foundation run by a billionaire tech guy that's doing exactly that: https://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Developmen...
Be happy he's trying to do something at all. That's more than what most wealthy families do.
Malaria was effectively eradicated in all but the poorest areas in the 1950s and 60s through vector management: indoor residual spraying, building better houses, eradicating still water near population centers.
The same can be done in sub-Saharan Africa (the main place it remains). In fact, in the richer areas of these countries, Malaria has a very low prevalence.
It's a disease of poverty. Drugs help, but it's mostly about the vector.
Yes this is a tangent. But I think its an important point to make. On top of that, even if it were true that most of the 0.1% are very wasteful spenders, there are some who's donations are irreplaceable with government charity. Irradiating the worlds malaria is an example of this. Getting rid of the wealth in the 0.1% would be a huge loss for important donations.
Seems to have been a successful petit bourgeoisie, or upper middle class, family. In traditional understanding of class relationships in capitalist society, the middle class isn't mostly middle income but well above; the majority of society is the working class dependent on wage-labor. The upper (capitalist or haut borgeoisie) class is a very thin layer.
The modern American media generally uses a different model which where “class” would more accurately be called “income group”, rather than focussing on relation to the economic system; this gets confusing in conversation when people could be using either model. In that model, Gates family was clearly upper class.
It's not a mobility distinction,it's the classical distinction of classes in the capitalist economy (the bourgeoisie is a class in the preceding feudal economy, but there the whole bourgeoisie is the middle class, and the upper class is the nobility, not the haut bourgeoisie.)
I think "lower middle-class" is a reasonable apropos of this. That said, I don't think the Gateses would fit this definition either ...
The petit bourgeoisie is the middle class of the three. (The lower and upper middle class are both part of it.)
Bill Gates (the Microsoft one) parents appear to have derived wealth largely from his father's successful law practice, dependent on his own labor essentially alongside other rented labor, which would them petit borgeoisie, middle class. They were certainly at the quite high end of prosperity for that class, so upper middle class. (It's not impossible that they at some point crossed into the haut bourgeoisie, but the descriptions I've seen suggest mostly very successful petit borgeoisie.)
Bill Gates himself rapidly moved into the haut bourgeoisie with Microsoft's success.
Historically, the medieval French word bourgeois denoted the inhabitants of the bourgs (walled market-towns), the craftsmen, artisans, merchants, and others, who constituted "the bourgeoisie", they were the socio-economic class between the peasants and the landlords, between the workers and the owners of the means of production
I was incorrectly equating "upper class" with these "landlords", but I guess as of the French revolution, with the Aristocracy overthrown the semantics shifted and "haute bourgeois" became the term for the ruling class.
Contemporarily, the terms "bourgeoisie" and "bourgeois" (noun) identify the ruling class in capitalist societies, as a social stratum
I would contend that the modern phenomenon of "the 1%" more closely resembles the aristocracy of old than Haute Bourgeois but I would be at odds with accepted terminology.
So yeah Bill Gates is from a Bourgeois background (particular grade is unclear) but arguably now occupies a distant Aristocratic stratum beyond Haute Bourgeois.
Not really; I mean, both sides of the log ideological struggle over capitalism and left alternatives has centered around both sides understanding and basing action around pretty much precisely the divisions in class interest reflected by those categories; they're quite actionable.
> I mean, a lady owns a beauty shop, spends 10 hours a day ordering supplies, doing payroll, managing advertising, hiring and fireing, somehow she's not working class because other people are involved and paid by her?
Right. As a business owner, she has distinct differences of interest from those living by wage labor (including an interest in minimizing the cost of wage labor); as someone who most apply their own labor as well as capital, she has economic interests distinct from those of pure capitalists. Hence, she's in the middle class of capitalism.
> A guy like Bill Gate's Dad is categorized middle class because he works alone, sort of, despite essentially bossing around his clients with autocratic decisions made in the quiet of his office?
Sure (though the founder of successful law firm probably is a working employer, not working alone.) Again, a similar alignment of interest is at play. There is an important distinction orthogonal to class, aside from just the degree of success, though: the lawyer is also part of the intelligentsia as well as the petit borgeoisie, while the beauty store owner is not. The intelligentsia cuts across classes, and have distinct interests.
...You don't see the problem in relying on the charatibility of a tiny few to work towards the well-being of billions?
IMO, the balance point is setting things up so the default is wealth is not maintained across several generations (3+), even though it can be passed down 1 or 2 generations and can be maintained with care past that point.
PS: I say this with many wealthy friends and family. It's surprisingly destructive and I don't want to setup multi generational wealth for my great grand children.
If we don't tax people when they pass away, the money goes straight to their kids, and then a permanent upper class forms and we know what happened to France...
The US has been about meritocracy, and not an aristocracy. But people want to change that, to the detriment of the country, IMO.
But back to inheritance:
> not maintained across several generations (3+)
You're inventing problems. Inheritance decreases exponentially. Multi 3+ generational wealth is already divided by 64 times (assuming 2 children + spouses). It is not possible without the children putting in significant work themselves. You're inventing problems.
At least we have common ground. Being able to pass on our successes to our children is a large and important motivator in life - one that would be incredibly unwise to remove.
"That’s according to a recent study by two Italian economists, Guglielmo Barone and Sauro Mocetti, who compared Florentine taxpayers way back in 1427 to those in 2011. Comparing the family wealth to those with the same surname today, they suggest the richest families in Florence 600 years ago remain the same now."
England has also had wealth maintained for 28 generations and other old money examples are not hard to find.
I recall that study. They were still a multiple orders of magnitudes less wealthy, and that ignores any wealth/money/work children added themselves since that time. If anything, this study proves my point.
>Europe has family's that have maintained wealth over the past 500+ years.
>England has also had wealth maintained for 28 generations and other old money examples are not hard to find.
That's an excellent example of survivorship bias. Again also not acknowledging any work the kids have put in to maintain that wealth.
For every example of a rich family whose money has been kept for 3+ generations, I could find you 100 examples that dont (not actually, I should probably be getting back to work).
This is a non-issue.
88% of the very wealthy ($30+ million) in the USA made their wealth themselves.
...the best source I could find.
The US has been stagnating with lower GDP growth rate over time which will likely change these numbers. Because the low % of inhered wealth is mostly due to large numbers of new wealthy not children of the wealthy losing their money. http://www.lagunabeachbikini.com/images/2014/economy/RGDPgro...
The bar to become a charity could be a lot higher but it's not exactly a rubber stamp.
Donations are really a 3 way tax break, I don't pay taxes on the gift, you don't pay taxes on the gift, and I don't pay income taxes on the money I use as a gift. (The arguable forth deduction is I don't need to realize capital gains before giving a gift.)
PS: The only way to actually lower taxes is to lower spending. Anything else is just shifting the burden to someone else.
That doesn't make sense given the sums we're talking about. If I give someone $100 million (non-charitable), I don't have to pay an extra tax on the giving, I only pay taxes on the income. You're referring to a very specific gift tax scenario.
The majority of the Gates Foundation giving is not within the US. The people on the end receiving should not pay taxes on that as it pertains to the US. Further, the Gates Foundation giving within the US will frequently end up taxed after the gift via income taxes on salaries (whether we're talking about scientists, secretaries or in the field workers receiving foundation dollars to operate as part of a charitable organization).
The scope to the triple tax premise is, in reality, dramatically more narrow.
Here is the actual form: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f709.pdf
19 If line 18 is less than line 17, enter balance due
If people with blue eyes suddenly did not have to pay taxes then that would be a massive subsidy. If you get a pay check and the taxes are already taken it it's just as much 'your money' as if you got the full paycheck then had to pay taxes after the fact. The point is more money goes out of your paycheck because the US government subsidizes other and often very rich people.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet pledged to give half of their net worth away during their life or death to charity. They're practicing what they preach.
Seems like renting isn't that frugal in the long-term though... it's unlikely cheaper long-term than owning a condo or small home, ie. you're either paying your own mortgage or someone else's mortgage + rental profits.
You can certainly profit by buying - I have profited substantially that way -, and buying serves as a hedge against outsize increases in rental costs, but there are also many situations where you can profit by renting.
Calling it out as a demonstration of frugality on the other hand is a bit odd.
Buffett's premise on not giving much of his wealth to his children, goes back perhaps 40 or 50 years now based on what he has said. According to Gates, an article that Buffett wrote for a business magazine, published ~25 some years ago now, informed and altered Bill's thinking on the detriment of giving such immense wealth to the next generation.
The Giving Pledge is primarily for other billionaires to pledge to give away at least 50%. The 50% level made it an easier bar to jump over, as of course not all of the billionaires want to match the 99% marker Gates & Buffett have set.
Others have a view of propagating their genes to the next generation and view inherited wealth as the way to do so (Yes, I realize my parent's view of good parenting indirectly coincides with this view).
Yet others believe in the strengthening of their community, and not just their own genetic offspring. e.g. I believe Carnegie established libraries, Universities etc. for the "people of Pittsburgh".
I mean, it's still an insanely huge amount of money he'd be giving to his children (Gates as well). 1% of his networth is $762 million - you're talking about an insane amount some people are going to get just by being born (even after taking into account inheritance taxes and splitting the money among siblings).
And we should also remember that charity is a form of conspicuous consumption for the ultrawealthy. Huge charitable donations are the modern day equivalent to monuments or statues. You're well passed the point where your money can increase your personal well being, so you might as well spend it on something that makes people pay attention to you, wins you accolades and gives you a legacy.
"Gates created the Giving Pledge in 2010 with billionaire investor Warren Buffett, and the pair have been joined by 168 others who’ve promised to give the majority of their wealth to charity."
"Capitalism at it's best" isn't people giving away money... it's people being competitively compensated for their contributions to society-- the ability to take risks and reap the rewards.
Of course then you can argue that tax is a way to enforce a minimal amount of philanthropy onto people, forcing them to contribute to the greater good whether they want to or not... but people who seem to be very vocally in favour of pure capitalism also seem to be very vocally against high taxes.
*it's people being competitively compensated for their contributions to society*
Capitalism isn't so much the emergent market behaviour as a system that provides a means to create and develop wealth (i.e. capital). The labour market is one aspect of this, but it's not exclusively tied to it.
*Capitalism is an economic system and an ideology based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit.*
The guy is a ruthless, greedy arsehole.
But let's suppose for a moment that he was one, and he hasn't changed, and he still is a terrible person underneath. Does that make the people who would have got malaria but didn't because of the Gates Foundation's efforts any sicker?
Or, contrariwise, consider some area where it turns out that the work of the Gates Foundation has done harm as well as good. Education seems like it might be an example. Let's suppose that in fact Gates is a total saint, motivated by nothing but pure benevolence. Does that make someone whose education was worsened by the foundation's activities any better educated?
I find I don't really care very much whether Gates is a good person, for any particular definition of "good". I care about the effects of what he does. Maybe he's giving his money away to make himself look good, or for a bet, or because he hopes it will placate an angry Microsoft-hating god, or something. Who cares? What matters is what actually happens as a result of his giving that money away.
On the whole, that's looking pretty good.
"The first question concerns accountability... The Foundation is the main player in several global health partnerships and one of the single largest donors to the WHO. This gives it considerable leverage in shaping health policy priorities and intellectual norms..."
"‘Depending on what side of bed Gates gets out of in the morning,’ he remarks, ‘it can shift the terrain of global health.’.."
"It’s not a democracy. It’s not even a constitutional monarchy. It’s about what Bill and Melinda want..."
"In 2008 the WHO’s head of malaria research, Aarata Kochi, accused a Gates Foundation ‘cartel’ of suppressing diversity of scientific opinion, claiming the organization was ‘accountable to no-one other than itself’."
"As Tido von Schoen Angerer, Executive Director of the Access Campaign at Médecins Sans Frontières, explains, ‘The Foundation wants the private sector to do more on global health, and sets up partnerships with the private sector involved in governance. As these institutions are clearly also trying to influence policymaking, there are huge conflicts of interests... the companies should not play a role in setting the rules of the game.’"
"The Foundation itself has employed numerous former Big Pharma figures, leading to accusations of industry bias..."
"Research by Devi Sridhar at Oxford University warns that philanthropic interventions are ‘radically skewing public health programmes towards issues of the greatest concern to wealthy donors’. ‘Issues,’ she writes, ‘which are not necessarily top priority for people in the recipient country.’"
More in the article...
During the panel, Bill Gates and Jim Yong Kim concurred on the need to leverage increased private sector financing in development through business-friendly policies. While the World Bank President hailed countries who made “unpopular” policy choices, critical to “let private sector investors feel comfortable,” Gates hammered away the need to “reform the system” and underlined development aid’s capacity to influence the process.
Both ignored their co-panellist and Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Raghuram Rajan, who called for development efforts to support the policies that developing countries want. Rajan also noted that global transparency on taxes and removal of barriers imposed by rich countries on exports from the developing countries would help build a more equitable world.
Do you know examples where the countries wanted something while Gates and Co wanted something else?
So let me ask again, do you known any specific examples?
Yes, when a billionaire gives away billions of dollars he's not accountable to anybody else. Why the heck would he be? If he were, then he wouldn't have donated it in the first place but would have just "invested it" in a company he created and controlled.
There's no way to spin this where donating to a charity is more evil than what all the other .1%s do, hoard it.
That said, without concrete examples of emergent issues, I err on the side of praising aid efforts rather than condemning them.
Unfortunately, I suspect the poster is dead serious. This is why I don't recommend trying to appease socialists. It is never enough and they'll never be happy until we're all 'equal'.
The first time I came across this phenomenon was while listening to Thomas Piketty on YouTube and he went on and on about how the philanthropic approach Gates and people like him (the wealthy) were taking to solve the world's problems was flawed. I couldn't believe it! Piketty disapproved of Gates' donations and his philanthropy on the basis that one cannot donate to a charity that one still controls. To him that was ridiculous despite the fact that Gates' foundation has done a remarkable job thus far; more than Piketty - with all his socialist nonsense - will ever do in a million lifetimes.
The irony is that, the first time I heard of Piketty was via Gates' reading list on his website.
The mistake that some wealthy people are making is that they assume that they can appease socialists. You can't. They'll always want more or everything if you let them!
You and I are paying more on a percentage basis to the government.
He is in fact giving immense sums of his money away. You should indeed think about it for a second. The Gates Foundation has expended tens of billions of dollars so far.
Fact quote from their site:
"Total grant payments since inception (through Q4 2016): $41 billion"
"Total 2016 Direct Grantee Support: $4.3 billion"
That is an extraordinary sum already. That money is gone, it is not under their control. They're spending $4.x billion per year at this point, that money is non-recoverable, it gets spent. Over time, the fortune is extinguished, as they're forced to give 5% per year. Get it?
I definitely don't mean to diminish the contribution of the Gates Foundation though. I often hear that they're one of the good ones.
Sometimes democracy is wrong. More social programs, less F35s.
As a percentage of income tax receipts, the number for military spending is closer to 25%. See, for example, https://www.nationalpriorities.org/interactive-data/taxday/
"Military budget of the United States. ... The budget funds 4 branches of the U.S. military: the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. In FY 2015, Pentagon and related spending totaled $598 billion, about 54% of the fiscal year 2015 U.S. discretionary budget."
Yes, we're spending that much on the military. Yes, its pathetic. Yes, its why its best to avoid (not evade, which is illegal) paying income tax whenever possible. I prefer my welfare programs not enable the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians in a foreign country, but that's just me.
"U.S. discretionary spending" is simply spending which is authorized annually instead of authorized by laws spanning multiple years. It doesn't seem to be a highly meaningful categorization if you are arguing about where your dollars are going -- the dollars don't care what year they were authorized to be spent.
Separating out payroll vs income taxes -- in other words recognizing the different tax rates for "earned" vs. "unearned" income -- is not entirely irrelevant, because dollar for dollar your capital gains taxes will be spent more on defense than welfare, but it's still no where near 50% of your capital gains taxes being spent on defense.
"A key federal budget trick is using words to confuse citizens, such as labeling U.S. military spending as “defense” though much is for “offense” and sliding costs for wounded soldiers under “veterans affairs” and nuclear bombs under “energy,” as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains..."
Also, from :
"The most recent figures related to President Trump’s proposed increases in Pentagon spending, along with cuts at the State Department, show the general national security budget of the United States rising once again, with the 2018 proposal in the ballpark of $1.1 trillion."
Finally, see , where the budget breakdown is:
The Pentagon budget - $575 billion
The war budget - $64.6 billion
Nuclear warheads - $20 billion
‘Other Defense’ - $8 billion
Homeland security - $50 billion
Military aid - $7 billion
Intelligence - $70 billion
Supporting veterans - $186 billion
Military retirement - $80 billion
Defense share of interest on the debt - $100 billion
 - http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article33833.htm
 - http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2017/06/02/1015056-the-milita...
 - https://warisboring.com/the-trillion-dollar-military-budget/
So that's not entirely how income vs payroll taxes work.
If you get a paycheck, out comes taxes for social security and Medicare. There is an annual limit on how much of your income is taxed for social security, whereas there is no limit for Medicare, and there's a bump in the Medicare rate after a very high dollar amount (near $250k/year if I recall). For our argument, none of the above is refundable (if you pay too much social security tax because of multiple W2 employers, the extra tax gets applied to your federal income liability).
For income tax, lots of people pay through their paycheck, although if you're below a certain yearly income threshold, federal income tax is not withheld (you even get a refundable tax credit for working if you're poor enough). Also, as you mentioned, capital gains taxes also are federal income tax revenue. So, income tax is not unearned income alone.
In Europe you still get more social programs, less f35... (not everywhere though).
Health Care 1,121.2
General Government 52.5
Other Spending 79.2
Total Spending 3,951.3
Defense as % of total: 21.3% (851.8/3999.5)
Defense as % of total minus social programs: 57.3% (851.8 / (3999.5-1011.6-1107.4-393.2) )
Note, the programs listed under Pensions, Health Care, and Welfare account for 62.8% of the budget. While you are correct in your statement, I don't like your conclusion. We should spend the 2.5 trillion on social programs more effectively not try and 3.3 trillion the same way.
"The U.S. outpaces all other nations in military expenditures. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total.
U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined."
We spend too much on military spending, full stop.
EDIT: Sidenote: Social security and Medicare very efficient as-is. They simply need more resources.
I'm only one person, and my one vote carries little weight.
> Lower taxes on the wealthy doesn't keep the government from spending on defense, it just runs up a deficit that is then used as an excuse to cut non-defense spending (research, infrastructure, food for the impoverished, etc.).
I'm not against higher taxes, but I'm also not against the wealthy avoiding taxes in the case of Gates and Buffett (and for other reasons, Elon Musk, using his wealth to drive progress forward) when their wealth are going to social causes. If you can't adjust how the federal gov budgets, starve the beast until competent representatives are in office while doing good for those in need.
The more I read about this, the more I come around to the idea that charitable tax deductions should be ended entirely (actually I think all tax deductions should be phased out, but that's a bigger topic). It's effectively just another regressive tax.
- Edit- Nevermind, found it on here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascade_Investment
Maybe we will get lucky and find an amazing immuno-oncology drug that takes out half of them in the next 20 years, but I wouldn't bet on it.
I don't know if you can do that with $20B but I feel these days that its more likely to occur rather than the opposite (which is to discover some underlying uncertainty principle that would prevent directing cellular action in a predefined way.)
The NIH budget is ~$30B/year and we don't know the basic mechanism of action for many of the drugs we currently rely on to treat disease. It turns out biochemistry is pretty complicated.
Mostly because cancer tends to be associated with dysfunction and it isn't necessarily the case that dysfunction can be externally corrected.
We know that every cancer is the result of a genetic change in the cell DNA which disables apoptosis (cell death).
We know that we have a system in our bodies that is tasked with destroying cells with damaged DNA. (our immune system)
We know that when the immune system attacks cancer cells, it reliably removes the cancer from our systems.
What we don't know is how to reliably program, and deprogram, our immune systems on demand. If we knew both exactly how the immune system programming system worked, and could build tools to enable us to use that knowledge to actually program or deprogram our immune cells ...
Then we would be able to cure all cancers and autoimmune disorders.
Gates is focusing on things like Measles. We already know to cure it. The only thing left is rolling it out. Gates can easily calculate that $x hires so many nurses, and buys so many vaccine doses. Thus eliminating measles is something that we can do with money. Unfortunately there are a lot of vaccine deniers claiming measles is not harmful and pushing to skip the vaccine which makes elimination less likely. You can help here without spending any many: talk about it with your social circle and importantly remind them that youtube, movies, and blogs are NOT a valid places to do research.
So if anyone would know the answer to your questions, it would probably be Bill Gates.
Also my upvote doesn't seem to work. First I had impression myself, then asked fellow HNer to see if I'm wrong and my downvote for his comments didn't go through.
Thanks for upvote though.
Great progress right now:
The total money spent on cancer is bigger than 20B though.
Hopefully other billionaires can take inspiration from him and recognize that helping the species is a more fulfilling game than "How many 0s in my net worth."
There have been some good words from the foundation regarding the (health, primarily I believe) programs in Tanzania. I wonder if this is towards scaling those projects.
Anyone have the scoop?
Keeping a bit of wiggle room.
Also, maybe they can’t utilize all that cash at once. Therefore it would be best to be illiquid until you need the liquidity.
Nobody wants that much cash in one lump sum, they want an anual income. If you give me my anual income (including benifits and supplies) and I can quit my current job to do charity work. If instead you were to give me a billion dollars, I can still quit my job to do charity work, but this time I'll be doing it from a very nice yacht or something else.
Money to charity is the same way: you are much better off funding a smaller amount over the years (as opposed to some other job they could do instead) than giving them money, either they waste the money - even prudant investing of money is a waste since it takes away time that could be used on the thing you want the charity to do.
It takes time to get intelligence, adding more cycles doesn't help. For all the same reason throwing more money at programming problems doesn't make them go away.
The problem might be solved - what should a charity dedicated to smallpoxs do with their 50 billion?
A good charity today might not be good tomorrow. Today they pay their officers a reasonable sum and the rest goes to scientists who get a reasonable sum. Next year they fire all scientists but one (the officers brother-in-law), and give everyone a massive raise. Science still gets done - just enough to stay legal.
So in general I think your fears may be well founded, but I don't believe so in the case of Bill Gates donations.
If he donated his entire stake at once, and everyone started selling, that wouldn't be good for the share price.
If you're actually donating the stock (or the full proceeds from the sale), I'm not sure what the tax implications are anyway. You get a write off for the value of the donation, which will by necessity exceed the value being taxed. I think you actually come out ahead. But I'm no tax expert.
In this case every indication is that Bill is using the mechanisms as intended,and then some. Money goes from him to the foundation. The foundation spends it. Once the money is in the foundation it can't go back to him, legally or ethically. They are doing good work, unquestionably charitable.
I get the skepticism, given how anything involving tax often works. But, not everything is a scam.
If Gates was interested in personally owning all of that wealth, the only logical approach would have been to never give it away in the first place.
The point of the foundation is that it's the ideal vehicle to give the wealth away to causes that Bill and Melinda decide they want to have an impact on. It's ideal because in exchange for giving the wealth away, the taxes are avoided. It's that simple. The people that routinely claim in threads like this, that it's just a scheme for dodging taxes, those people apparently do not understand much about foundation regulations or taxes.
Malaria, low literacy rates, etc., are the byproducts of failed political systems and corruption.
Musk's impact on electric vehicle technology will drain a great deal of despotism from the middle east as dependence on oil wanes, far more effectively than any philanthropic contribution he might have made would have.
There are a number of technologies that can drastically change the dynamic between the elites (officials) and everyone else worldwide. Our most gifted thinkers and entrepreneurs should be inventing the next printing press or cotton gin, not attending charity functions.
Saying that the Gates Foundation does not reinvest into new ideas that maximize impact does a great disservice to what is one of most effective and effectiveness-oriented philanthropic organizations on the planet.
You act like "fixing" the political institutions in a foreign country is some trivial thing, as if people haven't been trying and failing to make interventions like that for a hundred years.
I think the hypothesis of: make healthcare, credit, etc widely available, and the political landscape will change much more probable than the counter hypothesis: fix the political landscape through some intervention and healthcare, credit, etc will follow.
I would argue that in terms of doing good, investing money in concrete and well founded technology causes a larger impact. We can already eradicate diseases, we can already end world hunger. We can make so many miracles come true, what good is it to create further miracles if only the very few ever get to have them?
You cannot expect an entrepreneur who made billions in one industry to be a genius in some other industry. (Musk is an exception)
You cannot just transfer your passion from one thing to another to invent the next big thing.
What accounts for this monstrous difference? He has cashed some out over the years, but not ~$80 billion worth.
At the peak of the dotcom bubble, his holdings in Microsoft were worth between $85 and $95 billion (with a very limited diversification at that point). He briefly hit or nearly eclipsed $100 billion when Microsoft hit its highest point back then (in December 1999). The difference you're looking for, is represented in his program of routinely - and persistently - liquidating Microsoft shares over the last 20 years and diversifying into other investments.
The reason for the dramatic diversification out of Microsoft, should of course be obvious though: eliminate a single point of failure, particularly important given what he is attempting to achieve with his wealth (it's all going to the public good (his opinion of what that is of course)).
If great efforts are made to eradicate diseases in an area that has historically been subjected to various diseases such that the local population has adopted the reproduction strategy of having large amounts of offspring to counter premature deaths, but upon eradication/reduction of said diseases there is significant delay in the abatement of the overproduction strategy if it abates at all http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-worlds-most-important-graph/
if this population surge then expands beyond it's historical borders and causes mass societal disruption on a neighboring continent whose civilization has historically contributed great innovation and wealth to the world at large, and subsequently, said wealth and innovation contribution declines because of said societal disruption, do those who sought to eradicate the various diseases harbor some responsibility for the diminished prospects of the world at large?
Granted these are delicate questions but I believe their being asked has not just validity, but importance.
Certainly, simply ignoring pain, disease, and suffering is almost universally unpalatable.
But modifying one aspect of a complex system for what appears to be perfectly benevolent reasons, it is not at all surprising to find there could be downstream negative effects, negative enough to far outweigh whatever beneficent contribution you thought you were initially making. How do you make value judgments in such cases?
Gates himself has said it is far better to help people where they are regarding the recent unauthorized population influx events in Europe.
So I don't believe he is entirely blind to these potential downstream catastrophic effects.
And you are also making the assumption that only Europe can contribute to innovation, and Africans can only be a burden on their neighbors and will never become contributors.
I would agree that if the solving of a crisis like Malaria results in population growth, we need to plan on success and also focus on supporting infrastructure for those people.
But I think you are saying something much more horrific. Maybe work with your therapist on empathy.
We need someone as smart as you to focus on making the world a better place for everyone, not using your intellect to make scientific justifications for genocide.
I'm surprised if the post read as "more children dying is the obvious optimal path," that wasn't my intent.
I'm meaning to draw attention to the fact that if we are going to have outside interventions into societies that have drastic effects on those societies, then the outside interventions should include plans for all foreseeable(and vigilance in watching for unforeseeable) drastic effects they incur, be they in population structure, political structure, etc.
In this case birth control education seems a prudent corollary plan to disease eradication. But it's more of a thorny problem than just saying here read this book, take this class, take this pill, if these reproduction strategies are expressions of deeply ingrained genetic tendencies.
Certainly birth rate in the western world has declined, but there are lots of differences in the western world and Africa. Not least of which westerners never had outside interventions into their culture and environment of this nature.
I think for the most part, the nature of the issue just makes it inherently open to objections of "bedside manner" when discussed in "polite society."
What do you think I could have done better in terms of phrasing or what have you?
It's not a perfect example but it's an easy way to show that you are thinking about other people and what they might be thinking. You can combine this with an invitation for people to voice their opinions. People like knowing that their opinion is valuable especially when your assertions put the reader at odds with their own opinions.
Just a few things I've found help internet discussions. People read things with different voices and diffferent inflections so it's important to be explicit when possible, especially on a subject that is truly difficult to discuss in polite company.
You had thoughtful comments about women in tech, crypto currency, and some others I liked as well.
We share a lot of the same opinions, I just want to make sure we are not proving the ammo for the next Dr.Gobells.
In both cases I don't think the "civilized" neighbor continent is enjoying the benefits of its poorer neighbor. There is an equal argument to be said that by eradicating these diseases that the poorer neighbor is able to pull itself out of that poverty.
Regardless, history is filled with population surges and mass societal disruption -- I am sure we can resolve it over time.
Does an African neighbor qualify? European only? etc
In response to the specific fear you mention, while this may be possible, I would consider it more important to successfully eliminate Malaria than to not do so for fear of the negative repercussions you raise. I think it is both more uncertain and more unlikely for those negative consequences to materialize in such a way that leaves humanity and leaders unable to respond adequately.
(edited for typos)
It is certainly good to consider this perspective, thanks for the insight and link.
To me it seems that potential negative consequences of continued rapid population growth in Africa aren't so nebulous and beyond the horizon, we are already seeing them materialize, certainly there are other problems that need to solved as well, like certain elements of society attempting to browbeat others into thinking these societal disruptions are normal or acceptable or shouldn't be guarded against, but the population growth outside Europe is one of the prime movers of the negative effects we have already observed.
If things continue as they are the only uncertainty is the degree to which European civilization and thus European civilization's contribution to the world is negatively effected.
I harbor no affinity for Malaria or human suffering in general, but by ham handedly addressing this patch of suffering are we pulling open a larger patch somewhere else?
So what's the best way to address the suffering caused by malaria with a little more finesse and awareness?
Is there even a direct provable causal link between mosquito nets and population growth?
As mentioned, we are discussing an immensely complex system with all the surprises and non-linearity that entails.
what, if any, are other causes of African population growth?
What should be the Hippocratic Oath for philanthropy?
"First do no harm" is taken, "Secondarily no harm"?
How many steps toward the horizon should we take to determine if harm is occurring?
For example, consider the hypothetical scenario where a cure for Malaria is spontaneously discovered and rolled out in Africa. Suppose, then, that in the few years following the end of Malaria, African population economists argue that an explosion is in play, to the point where the country cannot hope to continue to support itself into the future. In this scenario, I find it hard to imagine that even the most austere and strictly enforced population control program could not match the rate at which the population would increase due to the elimination of Malaria. Moreover, I would not expect that even in the hypothesized scenario, such austere measures would need to be enforced, although I will leave that to the economists and public health experts to figure out. I would suspect that most people would prefer a reality in which Malaria does not exist, but every family in Africa is only legally permitted to have one child, than a reality in which no restrictions on family size are imposed, but Malaria remains a top killer.
The point I am making here is that this is very much a real-time system, in the sense that action can be taken as soon as it is suspected that negative effects may be growing. If such negative consequences are to arise, we are not committed to a downward spiral without intervention. Furthermore, I would consider it unlikely that the rate at which the population would grow as a result of eliminating one of the leading causes of death is so great such that no intervention by the African people can keep the "net good" of the scenario positive.
(Let us suspend, for the sake of argument, the thorny path of quantification of good - suppose we use QALYs, with some simplified metric for human quality of life that is defined in such a way that makes comparisons meaningful)
So if European society suffers mass upheaval and disruption in coming years owing to causes we can plainly see at present, how many more of these monumental, universally beneficial innovations and achievements will die in the crib?
That's the premise of population forecasters at the UN.
I genuinely don't understand the premise of your questions. Why would people start leaving Africa, and why would it be a problem if they did?
Why would people start leaving Africa, and why would it be a problem if they did?
Are you completely unaware of events that have been transpiring in Europe the past couple years?
Edit: I phrased this a little wrong, the source of the current refugee crisis is mostly not Africa, but my point is that the societal disruption you're referring to is not caused by voluntary immigration.
As respectfully as possible, this is completely wrong.
I phrased this a little wrong, the source of the current refugee crisis is mostly not Africa, but my point is that the societal disruption you're referring to is not caused by voluntary immigration.
Not even the majority of unauthorized border crossers into Europe are from Syria. Once again with all due respect, these are very definitely voluntary actions on the part of the border crossers.
Check out this article from 2 years ago, even then it wasn't primarily Syrians.
The migrants come from a vast swath of Africa and the Middle East, spanning not only war-torn Syria (in the first four months of 2015, Syrians accounted for just 30 percent of those crossing the sea) but also Nigeria and the Gambia and Eritrea and Somalia and Mali.
The migrants who embark upon this journey are typically represented as terrorized and impoverished—as people driven (to quote Amnesty International) “to risk their lives in treacherous sea crossings in a desperate attempt to reach safety in Europe.” The demographic and economic facts complicate that story. When populations flee war or famine, they generally flee together: the elderly and the infants, women as well as men. The current migrants, however, are overwhelmingly working-age males. All of them have paid a substantial price to make the trip: it can cost upwards of $2,000 to board a smuggler’s boat, to say nothing of hundreds or even thousands of dollars to travel from home to the embarkation point in the first place. Very few of the migrants from Libya are actually Libyan nationals.
I'll fall back to my other question then, why would people leave? I was looking at this image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_migrant_crisis#/media...
It seems like most migrants at the moment are not from Africa. If their motivations are mostly economic, we would expect the numbers to rise in proportion with the population, right? And they would be tempered by economies improving as their citizens get healthier and more productive and they stop having to fight and treat malaria. After some time, people will adapt to having healthier children and the rate of population increase will get lower.
I'm just not seeing this imminent crisis of exploding numbers of African migrants, and I don't see how the issues of integrating people could possible outweigh the benefits of people not dying.
I also have some issues with what qualifies as "mass societal disruption", but I guess that's mostly a semantics argument.
The data on that map is from 2015.
If you want to read about migrant/illegal border crossers from Africa in recent years, italy has been bearing the brunt of it.
Here's a recent video from a spanish beach that looks like some kind of absurdist theater.
How about pre-meditated and coordinated sex attacks with 1000+ perpetrators?
This was hardly an isolated incident, just one of the more shocking in scale and brazen in execution.
Societal disruption needn't be limited to large scale events like the above, just the steady flow of increased crime disrupts and degrades society.
This leads to surreal situations like in Germany, where asylum seekers went for holidays in the countries they had "fled" from in the first place. Everything on welfare payment, and the legal explanation was some convoluted "they have a human right to go back to their own country" kind of argument.
That was probably true in the past, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore:
"The UN has said that seven in 10 people crossing the Mediterranean from Libya are economic migrants and the rest are 'people in need of protection' like refugees and asylum-seekers."
It seems that clear-cut numbers that do not fit the "women & children escaping war-torn Syria" narrative have a tendency to get down-voted...
This is what happens when you either have no empathy in your worldview or an extreme racial bias.