The poorest person in the world by net worth is Jérôme Kerviel , the Paris banker, who is worth about -5 billion euros. You can add the entire net worth of all the population of a couple of African countries to get to total net worth of 0.
Edit: Rebuttal for their previous report: http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2014/04/04/stop-adding...
I was hoping he was actually billions in the hole, but no, he's out of prison and working and not responsible for repaying any amount of the debt.
FYI Kerviel's job termination was ruled abusive and the French government is now asking SocGen to pay back the 2.2bn tax break they got in 2008.
Because it gives weird outcomes like a when newly graduated lawyer with a $200K salary and a massive student debt is considered much poorer than someone in sub-Saharan Africa earning $2 a day but is debt free.
I'm a bit sceptical about the replies to my question so far, because where I live individual debts have to paid and massive debts will make your life miserable. So I definitely think they should be included into a meaningful indicator.
I have both a mortgage and student loans and in a global 'poverty' sense my debt level is massive (but probably quite normal from an upper middle class Westerner perspective). However my household income more than covers all the costs of servicing those loans as well as making sure my entire family is comfortably fed, housed, educated and healthy, and still leaves me with money left over every month to save for a rainy day. That is how wealth should be defined.
Basically, having a net worth of negative $400k is not necessarily a problem if your income is $200K. Being in debt is not in it self a problem, not being able to make your debt payments is what will make you miserable. A wealth indicator should try to capture that distinction.
Right, but when the indicators are used for ragebait headlines and editorials, for most people the reaction is outrage, and ends at that.
So a more sober, considered discussion about the issue of wealth and inequality - which is an important discussion we need to have - can't happen.
> where I live individual debts have to paid and massive debts will make your life miserable. So I definitely think they should be included into a meaningful indicator
There have been times over the past few years where my paper net worth was negative (due to running a startup that had no market value and having substantial personal debts), but still lived a materially comfortable western lifestyle - i.e., lived in a nice apartment in a nice area of a modern city, owned a nice-ish car, ate at nice restaurants, travelled frequently both domestically and abroad. Life wasn't exactly joyous, but it wasn't the debts that made life hard, it was the pressure of startup life.
Recently my partner and I have become home-owners and so we now live in a nice-ish house in a nice-ish area, but the mortgage combined with my legacy debts mean that my net worth is still not very much above zero.
The bank has been willing to lend to us because our combined present and future earning capacity makes us reasonably low-risk borrowers, so we get to live a lifestyle that could well put us in the top few percent in the world, even though we're not "rich" on paper. I could easily take out a couple of personal loans to spend on consumables, push our net worth below zero, but not have a materially less well-off existence.
This is the problem with these studies; it equates "richness" with present dollars of assets or debt, completely divorced from the realities of your current and future lifestyle and earning capacity.
I can give you a basic example of it: x + y = 5. Give me the correct value for each unknown. Only 2 values are correct.
That education -- a massive asset
That western passport -- a massive asset
Even a homeless bum sleeping rough on the streets of chicago has more wealth than a typical Indian farmer.
Who's the richest:
* person A who owns 2 cows and can make a confortable living for their family; yet, has a debt of 2 cows value to someone else;
* person B who lives a frugal life, has no possessions, gets only enough food to live day by day, but owns person A's debt.
Not exactly the most convincing proof of "the widening gap". I'm not saying that the inequality hasn't increased, just that you need a different metric for showing it.
"As a result, the report concluded, the number of billionaires owning as much wealth as half the world’s population fell from 43 in 2017 to 26 last year. In 2016 the number was 61."
the 43 in 2017 had a link to Jan 2018 article on same subject. Where do you get '8 richest people have the same wealth' from?
Another good point they make: VAT (sales tax in USA) is over 20% in a lot of countries. That's in addition to income tax, pension (SS) contributions etc etc. Basically, you pay at least 20% tax virtually on everything. The governments usually collect that at the customs point of entry, and then it is passed down to the ultimate buyers.
This is misleading. Firstly, in most countries with VAT, goods considered basic necessities, like food, tends to be zero rated or have lower VAT rates. Secondly, VAT is only paid on goods and often services you buy, not on e.g. mortgage payments or other debt, or rent (most places).
As an example, though at an income well above average, last time I checked VAT raised my effective tax rate by ~4 percentage points, despite the 20% UK headline VAT rate.
Very low earners also tends to pay relatively little VAT, as a much larger proportion of their income tends to go to rent or things that are exempt. As a result most poor people pay those 20% (or whatever local rate) at only a small proportion of their overall income.
VAT is still a problematic tax, as it has a disproportionately negative effect for poor people once they do earn a bit extra and want to spend it on something not considered a basic necessity (and the categories that are exempt do tend to be quite narrow). It can certainly drive their effective tax rate up well above the headline income tax rate for their income level even with very small proportions of income spent on full rated things. It also causes a "bulge" effect, where low to middle earners sees the largest effect (as high earners tends to invest and save a large proportion of their income; and in the UK and many other places are also more likely to afford to take advantage of a lot of other tax breaks)
People with a house (of any kind) or property are typically not part of the poorest 50% of the people.
Aggregating wealth gets weird when you look at debt and measure net wealth.
Your average US citizen has more to their disposal(in terms of any metric you can possibly measure) than people in South Asia or Africa.
The statistic as presented could make one think that you could just rob these 26 people and solve world poverty with their money. That’s just not true. What makes the world go round is not the stored up wealth of the ultra rich, but the much much greater sum of total output produced by the economy every year.
If you're prepared to countenance a world where all people live a comfortable life, then you're implicitly countenancing a world where all people have equal worth - monetarily and otherwise.
A world where all people have equal worth is a world where nobody has anything, because there will always be someone who will trade their worth for present pleasures and then have less than everyone else.
It is possible to have a perfectly unequal world where everyone is comfortable, and one entity controls everything. Indeed, something approximating this is the idealised equilibrium that underpins what 'a good capitalist society' could look like, if faeries were real.
The idea in practice is that the people who make the best decisions get all the wealth, so resources are productively utilised, then anyone who wants something does enough wok to produce it (but working in their own area instead of building it themselves).
The problem in the modern era is stuff like the 2008 financial crisis, where the mechanisms to take money away from idiot capitalists (ie, bankruptcy of major corporations) have been short-circuited and disabled.
I don't fully understand "unfairly" in this context. According to the thefreedictionary this word means:
1. Contrary to justice or a sense of fairness
2. Contrary to laws or conventions, especially in commerce; unethical: unfair dealing.
3. Not kind or considerate: It was unfair of me to laugh when he felt so sad.
I am not sure I understand which of those description of unfairness applies to, say, Jeff Bezof (mentioned in the article). I have only limited knowledge about him, but I haven't heard that he had done anything that could be described as "unfair". One might even argue the opposite - he enabled many people to but cheaper goods in an easier way and he also enabled many people to sell goods efficiently and earn good money in this way.
Society has been structured so that increasingly few people accumulate most of the wealth. To many, it has reached a degree that is unethical, unjust, unkind, particularly because those who are not along the privileged are suffering as a result, therefore the scale of human suffering increases over time, while wealth concentration continues to increase. You may not agree that the degree of wealth disparity is worthy of such descriptions yet, but that is just a matter of where to draw the line, not whether it is an understandable thing to draw a line on. After all, if in say a few hundred years, unrealistically and strictly as a thought experiment, the current system has lead to a single individual accumulating as much wealth as every other individual in the world combined, and having done so in an above board way, while every other person in the world lives in abject poverty, would this be unfair to you? If so, then we only disagree about the degree of wealth inequity that informs our belief on the fairness of our economic and societal systems.
How likely do you think that is, and why do you think it's getting more and more likely? If anything, the wealth and power these days is way more dispersed than a couple hunderd years ago when a few royalty held most of wealth/power/property. Like there's untold numbers of billionaires in China/Africa/Saudi Arabia/UAE/Europe/USA etc, and there's more on their way. In addition, the "turnover" of wealth seems to be faster and faster, and self-made billionaires dominate most rich-people lists (which however ignore most Arab dictators). Sure, it's possible that technology fundamentally changes that dynamic (e.g. by making 100% surveillance and oppression possible) in the future but that's not where the world is at right now.
Or perhaps you don't consider the reality that some warehouse employees earn so little they have to be subsidised by foodstamps - i.e. from public taxes - to be unfair?
They probably would. However, I think they would be in the top 50% in wealth terms and not the the bottom 50%
The reckoning for our thoughtless exploitation of the planet will come, but Bezos and his peers have managed to extract enough wealth and power that they will be the very last to feel the effects of runaway climate change, massive droughts, famines and resulting unrest and war.
They do not care, because ordinary people are simply resources to be exploited, wholly beneath their contempt.
So he did something once and deserves to be paid until he steps down as if he is creating a company everyday? That doesn't seem right to me.
Which is to say, you can then proceed to define unfair and need in any manner as you see fit to push an agenda.
It's really quite simple, they're saying wealth - with absolutely no concern for how it was earned - must be taken from those who earned it and given to those who have not. Because one person has a need, it provides a claim against someone else's labor, earnings, wealth, life, time, etc.
All forms of statist, gun-point wealth redistribution must derive from this philosophy, without exception and specifically without regard for any concern for an objective justice based on rule of law and property rights. Justice and the rule of law must be thrown out to fulfill true wealth redistribution, there's no other way to steal an honest person's assets and justify it.
Hence e.g. Proudhon's "property is theft". What is "objective justice based on rule of law and property rights" to you, some see as a perverse use of violence to restrict the liberty of others
Incidentally it is quite fascinating that you tie opposition to property rights as "statist, gun-point wealth redistribution" when the opposition to property rights originally came with the firmest opposition to the state. Proudhon was the founder of anarchism. Most others who argued against property rights argued against it from the point of view that property rights only exist through violence, and that the state is the ultimate guarantor of enforcement of what they see as coercion.
Whatever point of view one has on how justified property rights are, presenting it as "objective" is ludicrous.
In one way or another, societies will have to tackle this problem or there will be some major social disruptions such as widespread civil unrest, radicalization, mass migration, revolutions, and civil war. All of these possibilities may seem like on-issues to you in your country now, but we already see their beginnings and the trend towards increasing the gap continues.
To make this clear, I'm not talking about politics. If the trend is not stopped, there will be problems regardless of what political opinions you have.
"You have 1,000 times more wealth than a poor person so you can't say it's bad that someone else has 1,000,000,000 times more."
You know what, I absolutely can.
It's about the allocation of resources, efficiency of the marketplace, assymetry of wealth and political power and how it affects the democratic project we've all been engaged in globally for a few hundred years.
Economic systems are human-invented games; the rules can be rewritten. Things as basic as property and trade are human constructed concept with fine human-constructed nuances (people aren't property for instance) The laws are a chosen set of axioms that can be voluntarily changed.
The question is if this is the outcome we'd like to see from an optimal set of rules. Can't we design something better that doesn't lead to mass extinction, climate change, mass poverty, and a system that crashes the global economy every 10 years?
These are open challenges to improve things, that is, if we choose to take those challenges on.
Getting back to your points:
We already (can) produce way more food than we consume. The main problem is distributing it and the lack of economic incentives to make this distribution global and fair.
We have the tech and resources to provide everyone adequate non-slum housing. It's again a problem of global and fair distribution. More than that, more people need to accept that we need more high density urban environments. This point will come back later :)
From an energy point of view, we're kind of at the "food" point. The real challenge is converting energy production to renewables. Which brings us to...
> not wrecking the planet
We absolutely have all the tech and know-how to not wreck the planet. But it's a tragedy of the commons.
Not wrecking the planet is the final end game, the ultimate cooperative move. Heck, it's the final anti-zero sum game move.
Other examples include VC or hedge funds. While they don’t own the money themselves (they merely aggregate and invest it on the behalf of others), the reason this happens is because it’s much more profitable and efficient to invest one large pot of cash vs many small pots of cash.
PS: If someone wants to bring up that index funds are better, it’s still the same principle at work. The expense ratio of a S&P 500 index fund are much smaller than what most individuals could manage themselves.
I think many would dispute this point, at least in a general sense; although personally I might agree that current governments seem a bit paralysed in the face of some of global society's larger problems.
It does seem like we are living in an almost Victorian era age of high profile philanthropy/industrial barons.
Examples of this range from vacation spots to high-end restaurants. Making things /more/ exclusive and accessible to an ever smaller number of people seems to be the trend for most nice things in life.
disease is good, because it easier to fight with disease when you are ill
That is one staggering statistic.
If I were one of those 26 people, I'd consider myself a superhero. Wake up every morning knowing that I am capable of saving and improving lives of an entire (small) country!
Mmmm, some. Of the 26 I found, 7 inherited.
A healthy capitalist economy must be created in those places. It's giving the man a fish vs teaching the man how to fish.
The man also knows how to farm. What looks like forest, or jungle, to you, is actually the man's farm--has been, for generations. But that was last year: men came with guns, fenced off the forest, logged it, and now it's all a palm oil plantation, stretching toward the horizon in all directions. The man and his family were offered "jobs", earning a pittance, barely enough for survival, buying rice imported from halfway across the world. Because some other man wanted to be wealthy.
The man can't manage his resources, because there is no legal framework for him to do it. The people who claimed to create a free-market, "teaching the man how to fish", etc, actually created the present situation, so may be looked at today with some suspicion.
And no, there is no such thing as a "healthy capitalist economy", capitalism is by definition based on exploitation of the less fortunate. Saying such things is obviously heresy to the Silicon Valley set and capitalists in general, but it's the uncomfortable truth.
You might say that it's immoral to pay $1 an hour to people Africa to produce Nike shoes for the US market, except it isn't. It's simply the market rate. Could they afford to pay more? Yes. But it's in no means exploitation. That $1 an hour they make boosts the local economy, driving the quality of life up. Make it $10/h, and nobody would work for local companies there anymore.
And do you have any metric that proves that peoples' standing in life decreases the birth rate?
For example, there hasn't been a noticable decrease in Nigeria.
Only if you believe in the fantasy of an equal exchange between people with vastly different economic positions. This is such a fantasy that hardly a country in the world does not confer additional legal protections to the worker to try to at least to some extent level the playing-field.
Historically, it took people dying to secure even basic protections, Like example stopping employers from locking people in, like what caused 146 deaths at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. It took nearly a century, and dozens of people killed in demonstrations and strikes to get reasonably widespread application of the 8 hour working day. When people worldwide march on May 1st, they do so in part in memory of the Haymarket Massacre  and the AFL's subsequent move to resume the fight for the 8 hour day.
Nothing in the history of the labor movement suggests there is anything like an equal exchange for most people. Some of us are privileged enough to be in positions where we have something resembling an equal exchange that is truly voluntary in am meaningful way, but for most their economic position is weak enough that the employer always has more power.
Is so, does the discrepancy described in this article fit within this theoretical framework?
Sometimes I think these global comparisons are like comparing different planets. Who really cares? It's our immediate surroundings that matter.
This means that inequality is important for social stability - does social stability matter?
There are possibly other reasons as well - you could argue rich people invest differently, which has implications for the global allocation of resources. 
How the rich on earth behaves does affect poor people: It affects what resources are available to others, and it affects prices, job opportunities, investment in the immediate surroundings of poor people, and can do so both positively and negatively.
Your analogy is flawed, unless you think things like progressive taxation, social support / transfer payments, and closing rich’s tax havens and loopholed are equivalent to a galaxy far far away.
The fate of PDVSA shows the ultimate result.
What the ultra-rich actually consume is a tiny fraction of their net worth.
There are people who are really good at starting and growing businesses, investing, taking risks, and thus accumulating wealth. Then there are people, some of who are really bad at that but mostly some of who aren't just that much interested and driven by that. Then there are people who are really good at effectively getting rid of any wealth they manage to obtain. Let's call this being good at money.
There is nothing wrong with that. Programmers are like that. There are some who are really, really good at it. Then many who are pretty decent, then a lot who are mediocre but still not negative, and then there are programmers whose output is outright negative.
Education helps a little: it can help with the constant factor but those who are good they really are good regardless or despite the education. So similarly to as you can't expect to train the whole humankind to become decent programmers I'm pessimistic about being able to educate the whole humankind out of poverty.
If we redistributed the world's wealth equally to all people on the planet the distribution would revert back to what the shape it has now in a matter of years or decades. Surely, there would be previously poor people with a knack for money who would be wealthy and there would be previously wealthy people who could not recreate the wealth they obtained by luck or by inheritance. But we would eventually recreate the situation where few people hold most of the assets. The peak of the distribution would just amplify over time as having wealth makes it easier to make more wealth, so the rich get richer and the poor get only fractional improvements.
There is a problem if the poor people can't make a living even if they are willing to put in the effort on their part. The systemic inefficiencies to lock a person's position in permanent poverty, the high fixed costs of living that prevent accumulating savings, lack of food, roof or medical support rendering people incapable to restart or begin a financially sustainable life, or money being able to buy justice or privileges that trump other people's rights. These are the problems and not the fact that one person has a billion times more assets than some other person.
There are solutions we've tried and mostly failed. We can try to transfer wealth back from the rich to subsidise the poor. But poverty is often also about the mindset, and it is well known you can't refill a well merely by carrying water into it. The water just flows back to where it came from. We can try to make living not so dependent on one's income and assets but that means disrupting the natural markets for both jobs and goods, which not only accumulates inefficiencies due the diminished effect of businesses' healthy deaths but generates a reflecting black market that has no regulation. We can try to create more jobs as historically work has been a good medium to redistribute wealth but it seems that jobs are becoming less like that. There are very high-paying jobs for a small group of people and very poorly paid work or no work for lots of people.
Trying to fix the inequality of wealth distribution in order to combat poverty is, in my opinion, fixing the symptom and not the cause.
Are you saying that poor people are poor because of their own ignorance or poor behaviours? And therefore if you give them money they'll just piss it away?
Living in poverty is likely to develop a mindset, in order to survive, that won't scale pulling you back out of poverty. That is, where you never start making smart financial decisions or plan ahead because, you know, the life is a mess enough because of various factors due to having little or no money or peers telling you to act otherwise.
There have been a number of discussions and even anecdotal comments on HN to probe into this. For example, feeling lucky at Google gave me this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16461773
> Nope but because they're subjected to an environment that only operates in terms of poverty.
So let's say you have now identified a root cause, and assuming we're looking for a solution - how do we fix this without a redistribution of wealth?
This focus on rich people is a distraction from eliminating poverty. It's a stupid and simplistic solution just to take money from rich people. I wish Oxfam would stop stoking these silly socialist fires.
The focus rather should be on health/nutrition outcomes, education outcomes, physical safety, quality of housing.
And this question is... is it getting better?
Factfulness says yes. Slowly, but surely, yes.
> My only metric is is it getting better on average for me and other people
This might be true for you, but may not be for all. Research suggests that on the whole people value relative wealth more than absolute wealth  making inequality an important predictor for social stability, a prerequisite for a capitalist system based on property rights.
> I hope capatilism lasts another couple of hundred years and everyone gets to level 3 or 4
As other comments have pointed out, it looks as though an economic system predicated on permanent growth - or even a particular rate of growth - might have some limits. It seems like it's not sustainable with our current level of technology.
It's the 21st century. It started in the 17th century. It's not dying tomorrow.
I fully support the notion that one day capitalism will eat itself like Marx claimed. I think it actually will. I think that's a very sensible conclusion to come to. Just like I believe my car won't run forever and will eventually break down and be beyond repair or no longer viable. I'm just happy to drive it until the actual point at which it becomes not viable anymore and not proclaim the sky is falling and my car is doomed because I hear one small noise coming from the engine.
That's easy for me to say. It isn't my kid starving in the street.
That's like getting mad at the microwave that it won't heat the food up in 3 seconds and instead the timer says 3 minutes but that's no good because your kid is "hungry now."
If it takes 3 minutes, it takes 3 damn minutes.
Why are you getting so worked up over someone using a means that they have years worth of experience with showing it works in giving them the funds to save more people?
Hence I liken that particular notion to a toddler who is upset and is unable to understand that his food is coming he just needs to wait as there is a process that takes time and there isn't any other way to get his hot food than through the process.
I'm getting worked up over the error in cognition that we can have it all now, now, now, now. My point to those would be revolutionaries who want to rip it out and replace it is - it's coming, just wait.
I personally donate monthly to charity water as I think it's a super practical problem that is at absolute bedrock for society and it just requires capital, labor and time to be thrown at it. I do my part to promote it here and there. I am amazed by the progress of access to clean water and I am stoked that the trajectory looks like in the next few decades everyone on Earth will have clean water. It just doesn't make sense to get upset and think things are broken when we have never used a process that has worked so well. Yes, progress is slow, but damnit it's working and I prefer to focus on what we have achieved and not that we personally don't have 12 Ferraris and a mansion and a few individuals do.
> like a whiny entitled asshole
I won't say what I think about calling someone entitled assholes for wanting less death and suffering.
My claim is that you cannot compute a priori whether it is fair or not because it's not possible to consider both the present reality and the alternatives and fast-forward time in your mind and know exactly how all the possible worlds play out. You can't actually even get close. Humanity runs on one algorithm and that's guess and check. For stuff this complicated as to which way of organizing things actually results in less death and suffering this is necessarily so. Else we would just have sat down, worked it out and followed that course of action.
The river of history runs the experiment for us and it's the only way to honestly compute results.
As for this argument being an obsession, I think you miss the point: It's a PR campaign. They've used it year after year, because it works. It gives them press attention. It results in increases in donations. It helps them achieve their goals.
If it's their goals you find "obsessive", then so be it. But this focus on the richest is pragmatic: It's something cheap they know they can milk year after year. I doubt most people at Oxfam goes around thinking all that much about the 26 richest people in the world - more likely they're busy actually trying to run their programs and keep them funded.
I don't care about the charity itself and I see your point about it's effectiveness as a PR campaign, sure, and I'm not anti-people donating to charity.
This is a wider narrative that is very prevalent in the West and it's independent of a single PR campaign, and I'm sure even you will acknowledge that.
My claim is that the relentless focus on relative wealth is completely upside down. And I think that's unhealthy. "Look at how much you personally don't have" doesn't serve you emotionally as well as "look at how far we have all come and the trajectory we are all on" does.
It's a matter of personal pragmatism for me. Why should the focus be on the gap?
I know, I know it's just a PR campaign and my yapping about larger narratives in the media won't have any effect on decisions made at Oxfam, yes, yes of course I'm not so deluded into thinking that they will.
But people will read our lovely discussion and some will side with me, some will side with you and it's via this process we tussle for which experiment the river of history should carry out in order to compute the result.
The absurd accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few individuals is just a symptom of the disease human society is to the environment.
To have any hope of even slightly halting this trend, we have to completely restructure society and put an end to fossil fuel extraction, and to our entire culture of consumerism. Capitalism does not have a solution to this problem, there is no gentle gradual market-based solution. We need a hard stop and at the very least massive carbon taxes on industry.
Human short-sightedness never ceases to amaze. It's an evolutionary problem I believe as we're to smart in a micro-sense, but as a whole we fail to take the holistic approach.
A bit like driving at 100MPH -- the human brain is not evolved for that scenario and perspective gets skewed.
Similarly, we can adapt to realize and adequately visualize our impact on the environment, and collectively act to lessen our impact, but most people consider it irrelevant or even downright unpleasant to even think about, so they don't.
We can train and mould our brains, true, but at what scale does this actually have a noticeable impact and and how to achieve this at scale?
It's either through some form of enlightenment or through a totalitarian regime.
The former at scale can, again IMHO, only happen through reaching a point of resonable equality, so at this point the latter with China spearheading the way seems most plausible, which is terrifying.
It would be nice if this weren't the case, but it might be.
I'm ok with that. And human society being a disease on the environment will be cleansed and fought off by the auto-immune response of a warmed planet.
There isn't a problem.
I don't buy into your defeatism. We can save ourselves, but it requires us to take the threat seriously and requires us to act, rather than just twiddling our thumbs and perpetuating the status quo.
Edit: I am ok with all humanity dying out. I don't think that is either here nor there. I have the same self-preservation tendencies as you and the others and in public and private I actually try to do my bit as I'm philosophically a defeatist/nihilist because that's ultimately where extreme macro timescale conclusions lead me, but in the micro timescale we live on I don't in practice actually act or live like a defeatist. I'm just ultimately not precious about the human race any more than I am about anything else. I love us, and want us to have a good a run as we can and one day we will run out of steam or do the cosmic equivalent of jumping off a wharf, hitting the rocks, snapping our neck and be snuffed out accidentally. You, nor anyone else can or will stop that.
We in the West love to complain about our 'problems' but a lot of us honestly don't have a clue what's happening elsewhere on the planet. And, of course, I am not talking just about the helping aspect of it, but also the opportunity to be exposed to some of the planets hidden beauty, places that only a handful of people will ever get to see.
Maybe it's because I am so free-spirited, and don't really value my own life as above anyone else's. Although 7.5B people sounds a lot, this Earth is nothing more than a planetarium. The grip that the Human Ego has on materialistic identity so absolutely bizarre.
I'm not saying every giga-rich person is like this, certainly, some are contributing to philanthropy and other projects, and perhaps I am myself mixing together two issues here, but this kind of philosophy interests me a lot.
Travelling to remote places and doing things that feel impactful is generally an inefficient way to do good. I’m not criticising it per se. For edge-case problems, it’s the only solution. But if you want to enact change at scale, you’ll be doing it from the same places other human institutions enacting change at scale are.
So you spend $4500 on travel tickets to help a family gather wood? Labor, they have plenty. Now if you brought a water pump or a solar panel is different. A lot of "charities" in USA do that. Gather millions a year, pay themselves a nice salary and go distribute flyers once a month.