I wonder if all these very public proclamations are going to shift people's attitude towards taxes? Most people think of the government as wasteful, inefficient, incompetent, and corrupt to more or less degrees, and I know I'd prefer to see money allocated by smart people like Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg than by politicians who need to keep constituents happy and win votes.
I committed a while back to giving 10% of my income to charity henceforth, probably for my whole life. I know I've felt much better when I raised money for St. Jude's or Grand Ormond Street children's hospitals than when I wrote a check to the IRS to fund the latest special interest-fueled debacle.
There's a "the evil rich are against us" narrative in movies and stories a lot, but I wonder if the perception will start to change when all the good from these endeavors is realized. I think it's quite likely that smart people allocating resources intelligently will do 10x, 20x, 50x more good with the money than a politician possibly could.
These are areas which charities (and corporations, for that matter) have sometimes fallen short due to either lack of funding or the mission-critical nature of the moment. Either way, we must agree that it's tough to conclude that governments are completely incompetent and charities aren't, however apt the perception may be.
Hmmm. Not disagreeing that some things funded by government grants have been worthwhile, but almost every scientific discovery before the WW2 period was funded independently of the government -- including big ticket areas involving fundamental research like automobiles, railroads, and aviation.
However, quite true on the rest.
Of course, it should be mentioned that much of that pre-WW2 government research was a) actually sponsored by the military, or by government entities that had strong military roots, and b) was of questionable ethical quality by today's standards.
But I also don't like the idea of a permanent aristocratic class where generation after generation are born into opulence because your great grandfather created a great company.
The movement towards philanthropy is a great alternative as long there are clearly defined and applied metrics of success. Gates Foundation does a good job at this. If you claim you're going to change the world, but you can't prove it, you won't get funding again.
“The estate tax is a cash cow for the life insurance industry – and the industry’s lobbyists guard it zealously...[o]nly three industries – pharmaceuticals, electric utilities, and oil and gas – spent more over the same period.”
"Life insurance is the most basic tool for estate planning. Put simply, inheritance is subject to the
estate tax, while life insurance benefits are untaxed. This drives up the demand for life insurance,
thus driving up the price.
The disparate tax treatment distorts the market so much that a wealthy person could buy a policy
knowing he will pay more in premiums than the value of the benefit – and it would still make
For example, if someone bought a $20 million whole life policy at age 60, and
paid $25 million over the years in premiums, he would still be giving more to heirs (an untaxed
$20 million) than if he just bequeathed that $25 million to his children – because after the estate
tax, that could be worth less than $20 million."
--This discussion has been really informative. Thanks to all.
The original intent of my argument was that I don't like the idea of handing over half your estate to the government. I suppose the proponents of the high estate tax wanted avoidance of the tax via philanthropy as an intended side effect.
Thanks, I never looked at it that way.
Well, no: many governments are far more responsible than most individuals. That's not true in counties were everyone criticize the government as strongly as you do in the United States, but in countries where government positions are prestigious, the most talented people work there. As recently demonstrated, financial incentives are no where as efficient as job safety and support for creative tasks, this is why a system that promote civic dedication has tremendous impact.
It may just be an anecdote but it seems like a reasonable system to me.
EDIT: had the wrong dollar amount.
If you make a ridiculous amount of money, what's wrong with making sure that your family is financially secure for generations?
As long as things like that need to be done, someone needs to pay taxes. And Warren Buffett would be the first to tell you he and his fellow billionaires should be the one paying the taxes.
Libertarians like to think of private property as some kind of moral essential, and it might be, but that's not enough to make anarcho-capitalism work. While we can probably all agree to outlaw murder, we can't, in fact, all agree on enforcing the same property rights. Plus, there needs to be a way to authoritatively register and adjudicate property claims, not a dozen competing protection rackets, each with its own inconsistent rules.
 Even actual protection rackets try not to overlap in territory, for exactly this reason.
"I know I'd prefer to see money allocated by smart people like Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg than by politicians who need to keep constituents happy and win votes."
I feel like you are treating these conditions as being mutually exclusive, and they do not need to be. I want money allocated by intelligent people who need to keep constituents happy. And I want them to have smart constituents, so that they are actually held accountable making bad allocations. This is because I want a large number of problems to be taken care of expediently.
Rich != Smart.
I don't see how it is that being rich makes Gates, Buffet, Zuckerberg better at allocating resources. Sure, they have some business savvy, but there is a certain amount of luck involved as well (as with any statistical out-lier). This doesn't account for others who made their money through inheritance, and are dumb (really dumb).
The point is not that 'the evil rich are against us,' the point is that they benefit exponentially from government protections compared to a normal person and should provide funds accordingly. I don't see how any of these people would be able to hold onto (or even establish) their wealth without the protections (and utilities, and services) afforded by the government (and if they were, it would simply be some sort of Monarchy).
(ex. The rich don't just benefit from their own use of public roads, they benefit from their employees and customers use as well. How do the rich obtain intelligent, educated labor without required public education? How do they plan to hold onto wealth as they accumulate it without the enforcement of various property laws?)
Charity is good, don't give me wrong. But the rich are hardly victims of the government.
I think this argument is flawed for a couple of reasons. One: that someone offers me something that benefits me does not and should not legally compel me to compensate them in return. Take open source software as an example. It has enabled many companies to make money, but they cannot be compelled to compensate the author. And yet that seems to be the argument. The government does things that benefit people, so they should be compelled to pay the government in return. Well, sorry, I appreciate what you've done but I didn't ask you to do it or make you do it so I'll donate to you if I feel like it, not if you feel like it.
Two: all of the benefits you've listed are individual things which individually cost money. Yes, the rich benefit from their employees being able to drive to work. But they pay their employees and their employees in turn pay taxes and fees on gas and other driving related things to pay for the roads. They benefit from an educated workforce and a police force, but those things are paid for through property taxes and other things. The system is made up of a variety of specific things. To lump them all together and say "You couldn't have accumulated your wealth without the system, so you owe the system a whole bunch of your wealth" seems to me to be somewhat dishonest. Sure, they benefit from the system, but specific parts of the system have costs, and I don't think the government's inability to figure out what those costs are and how to collect them justifies just taking a whole bunch of money from the people who look like they benefit from it and can afford it.
This is much different than a legal contract, and makes very little sense in context of your analogy.
2. Why is point two confusing?
I benefit from public education by having been put through school.
An employer benefits from public education by having been put through public school, and also from having employees (like me) who have been put through school.
It is a problem if he pays proportional to the amount of money that he makes, rather than the amount of utility that he receives from the service. Therefore, his taxes and my taxes should not be the same, because he receives a greater total utility.
I think most people would agree with this, but let's remember that taxes are pretty much always based on percentages, which mean that they do scale. 30% of a billion isn't the same as 30% of 50k.
I think this seems to be too often forgotten in the "the wealthy don't pay more taxes than me!" argument.
I think it's a good goal, but a bad use of charitable funds due to the fact that politics has some unfortunately strong zero sum elements about it. I don't categorize any primarily political organizations as charity, even if I agree with their aims.
I won't diminish the impact of being associated to massively successful people, or simply having spectacularly talented people manage those funds, but please don't confuse the good feeling of being in control with actual marginal impact.
The charity costs include publicity and fundraising drives. To make apples-to-apples comparison you'd have to include the cost of the IRS infrastructure and the cost to society of the entire tax collection and avoidance machine.
Government handles essential concerns
That this is not self-evident is, well, self-evident. Much criticism of government spending is around governments focussing on whatever lobby yells loudest, while charities are market driven: i.e. they fill actual needs that someone sees in the community.
A lot of local leaders in Africa have criticized the B&M Gates Foundation for being too disruptive for the good of beneficiaries.
A lot of local leaders in Africa do considerably less well under a privately allocated distribution than they do from government aid.
Nope: what matters is marginal costs and raising rates isn't nearly as expensive and cash-burning as “awareness” campaign.
> whatever lobby yells loudest, while charities are market driven
That statement appears self-contradictory to me. Lobbies introduce market concerns to a generally one-man-one-vote representative democratic process.
My point about Africa is not about who should be labelled a leader or a government: it is that development doesn't need just money, it needs institutions, education, trust… Things that take time; things with massive externalities. Throwing billions like fastballs won't help anyone from benefitting from those. Do you think that William Kamkwamba (the heavily publicized boy who couldn't go to school, yet made a windmill himself) needs 10k$ or 100M$, or does he need roads, electricity, running water to his village? Of all the hundreds of charities that offered to help him, none suggested infrastructure. Local government are deeply corrupted, but all state-sponsored projects seem far more relevant for me, albeit less photogenic.
People who use their wealth to feel superior and annoy others, who are wealthy enough to set up tax-evasion scheme, who behave as if they can pay to be above the law are demonized.
My initial answer was about resentment, not tax rates. You strike me as a libertarian: Everyone is free of their opinion, so who are you criticizing them for being jealous? ;) No, seriously: some people, often not those who made their fortune by being nice to their clients, but their self-entitled heir, behave like pricks. I see it all the time when I go to fancy restaurants, and it actually bothers me.
From anecdotal declaration from wealthy individuals, I'm assuming the original entrepreneur would prefer that their children behave, because they know the importance of being nice, but until recently, social rules have prevent them from disenfranchising them. Before Warren Buffet set an acceptable voluntary roof for inheritance, forcing heirs to behave was a social conundrum, resolved by guilt.
What is discussed is what kind of property rules make society better, just like for copyright: absolutes don't work so well. Even if a man should be able to “do what he pleases” with his money, he can't buy nuclear warheads, or his last competitors. In some context, letting one person owns too much can be damaging; whether its his responsibility to do good, or society's role to enforce better ownership should depend on the cultural context and innovation. The economists who lead the study of how those interact won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008. Liberal property rights like what you advocate works best in extensive context like the original rural USA; within cities, evergetic rules seem preferable; when there are decisive, irreplaceable common goods like irrigation or seaport, more inclusive system, that let a community influence individual decisions are preferable.
You need to make sense of the context that gave you the values that you care about, otherwise you end up either defending inappropriate non-sense, and forcing it onto others (case in point: Acta) or, lost (like all my fellow countrymen who wonder why our national anthem is so hateful).
People demonize the wealthy because they see people acting selfishly and it creating, or at least ignoring, the basic injustices of the world. If I had fallen down, would you not ask me if I was okay? Would you not offer to help me up?
Transforming Facebook from a website to a profitable business is a great business accomplishment. Transforming the wealth acquired in such an endeavor into educations, scholarships, and other decency-of-life improvements is simply a great accomplishment.
The economic disasters that impoverish so many are not caused by the rich who've worked to create their wealth but by those who mismanage economies and abuse others to benefit themselves and their friends. These thieves are rich to be sure, but a distinction should be made between the two groups.
At some level this type of thinking lets government off the hook. Philanthropy by the ultra rich is not a solution to government waste and won't solve the fundamental problems in the US government.
Correct - I'm not a native Londoner and I've spent less than a year there across my life. I also organized two small charity events, and asked a friend of mine what the equivalent of St. Jude's is in London, and he said Great Ormond Street.
> You gave money to them but don't even remember their name properly?
Unnecessarily dickish comment. But yes, I swapped "Great" and "Grand" in my comment incorrectly, good catch there.
"I want to leave enough money to my children that they can do anything, but no so much that they will do nothing".
Whenever I wish I were super-wealthy, I try to remember that super wealth probably just creates all sorts of problems when raising children. If I ever do get super wealthy I'll plan to spend all but a few million dollars, secretly and out of sight of the children, before they reach the age of twelve, so that I don't have to worry about them growing up with the typical rich-kid problems.
It would be wonderful to see some of SV's glitterati create more for-profit investment networks (bigger than Kiva, smaller than VC (...YC?)) in other hungry markets.
Kudos to Mark for committing to this. If he applies his product-brilliance to how he goes about it I'm sure he will do wonderful things.
(Alexis this has your name written all over it BTW ;)
And I also will bet that privatized school systems will perform better than public school bureaucracies that receive hundred million dollar gifts.
The invisible hand is puckish like that.
You remember the Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and its impact on local business? There has been the same disaster, continuously for decades, thanks to oil extractions by “greedy” Shell. Somali pirates? They were fighting illegal radioactive dumps that contaminated their food, that were more “lean and efficient” to leave there rather then properly process. When locals are up in arms, the local economy rarely benefit.
According to friends who worked for the UN or US Aid, there is far worst to come, thanks to Chinese company.
Not that I'd go down as opposing, but it could also be a nice way to get this idea some attention/publicity.
(And make some money in 20 years :)
Though I don't know if is about angel investing, the one OP watched.
And, I know correlation != causation, but it's interesting nonetheless to note that this has happened under unprecedented investment by China in the continent, while investment rates actually shrank in the West (particularly in Europe, which probably is attributable to the financial crisis). This ascension is a marked improvement compared to, say, the efforts of Colonialism (the so-called "scramble for Africa"), Apartheid, and guilt-ridden charity.
I think the wikileaks stuff on shell's behavior in Nigeria highlights this issue.
A lot of automobile technology is developed in race cars like Formula 1 many years before making it's way into mainstream cars.
I can't comment on the government subsidies though.
Elon Musk is doing great things. How many other potential Musks are there whose opportunities to do such things were cut short due to the very problems the Gates foundation addresses? Even just in his home country, South Africa, there have likely been a few.
Can we spare the moral condemnations? Today's advances in the cutting edge of sciences become the life-saving and enhancing cheap commodities of the future, and being skeptical that poverty can ever be truly defeated isn't exactly a radical position.
That said, I agree with you more than the original poster, and I think philanthropy is fantastic. But let's spare the moral condemnations and shaming of someone who has an alternative point of view.
I can't imagine how you could hold the original poster's view as stated unless you literally don't value human life very much, or you have done some convincing math about how much good Tesla Motors is likely to do the world. I condemn it without reservation.
You can still debate the merits civilly - and that makes it more likely to actually change someone's opinion than just expressing outrage.
> It seems like unbelievably wishful thinking to claim that high-tech startups are the most important thing everyone should be doing when the going rate for saving lives from tuberculosis or malaria is in the hundreds of dollars per
There's no conflict here. New technology saves lives, often by use in unexpected ways. Eradicating disease saves lives. They're both good.
> I can't imagine how you could hold the original poster's view as stated unless you literally don't value human life very much, or you have done some convincing math about how much good Tesla Motors is likely to do the world. I condemn it without reservation.
You don't see how electric cars could save lives? Coupled with better batteries and advanced nuclear power, it goes a long way towards obsoleting fossil fuels and driving down the costs of transportation. That's huge - lower pollution and lower costs on everything - medicine, food, housing - lower transport costs makes everything more affordable.
As for the condemnation? Why not just, y'know, state your point of view without the moral condemnation? I don't think it adds much to the discussion. By the way, I'm more in agreement with you than the OP, though I think it's a bit more nuanced than you make it out to be.
Well, mostly because my comments read more dramatically when I take the opportunity to cast a good antagonist for them.
Having electric cars that are more efficient and cleaner than existing cars would be great, and it would save a lot of energy and labor, but the amount of money and effort spent on attaining that goal is far greater than what (e.g.) Tesla is spending individually; it's the net total of many years of research and many years yet to come of implementation and manufacturing. (That is, it's not like Elon Musk is singlehandedly bringing us to an era of ubiquitous electric vehicles.) It strains my credibility to imagine that the same money and man-hours, if they were allocated with equal passion toward education, disease, or the elimination of poverty, would not turn a much greater ROI over a few decades than more efficient cars.
Our current situation is such that thanks to culture, incentives, and human nature, ninety-nine percent of educated, able people with the ability and drive to work very hard, decide to work at some personally profitable business or industry. I am not inclined to take the remaining one percent and criticize them for plucking what seems like extremely low-hanging fruit from the other tree.
The choir is my favorite place for preaching so I'm glad you agree!
Only in your own mind.
It's a wide array of advances by first world businesses in many industries that led to those medicines being as prevalent and as cheap as they are. It'll be yet more advances that lead to them being even cheaper and even more effective. A healthy balance is required - not just technological advancement, but not just saving every life at the cost of advancement either.
No amount of money thrown directly at the problem will ever put a halt to them, our only hope for salvation lies in continuing our pursuit of technology unhindered.
Edit: I'm not against people advancing the human race mind you (advancing the advanced). However, neither is Bill Gates merely handing out money. He's teaching men to fish, rather than simply giving them fillets.
It's ultimately a socially lauded thing to do that divorces the donor from any ultimate responsibility for the amount of "greater good" done with the funds. I think they do it out of fear that they were a lucky, one-hit wonder... and out of low self-esteem or fear of the angry mob.
YC is a great example of a way to use wealth to make a real difference. PG uses his acumen to help a lot more people level up. This multiplies wealth. Spending it on charities simply redistributes it.
It makes me very pessimistic to see that the world's wealthiest people feel the need simply to pledge the money away, and no need to risk total failure by going out on a limb to do something bigger than whatever got them there.
What if Bill Gates tried some long shot idea and it flopped? What if Zuckerberg or Case did? That would take real courage. This pledge nonsense reminds me of the self-satisfied smirks people emit when publicly putting money into the collection basket in a church. Why isn't one of these rich guys going to bat for Wikileaks? (Probably because it feels a lot better to be praised all the time for being such a great person by all the sycophants trying to get you to write a check!)
They are not just pledging money away. These are serious investments that are evaluated in the same way a VC/Angel pick a startup. A colleague of mine tried to apply/pitch to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the event (many people pitched) lasted six hours with two reviews and rigorous questioning. He was not successful, but he said it was a very thorough examination.^1
Bottom line: A portion of these pledges are more than putting money into collection baskets, it is putting it into the baskets of third world women who need an extra sewing machine to make ten more shirts so their kids can go to school and have food.
1 - I am sure not every donation is made this way
I just wonder if Gates might have the ability to do far more if he just invested in himself.
Personally, I'd like to see him start a company that would invent a mobile phone battery that lasts for a month and can power an RC aircraft to fly all the way around the world.
I also worry about the overall risklessness of what he's doing. He's pledged all of his money, so who can criticize it? For most people it's beyond reproach just because of the stated goals.
When Gates dropped out of Harvard he was doing something that a lot of people thought was stupid. That's how big ideas are. I'd like to see him doing something that might actually result in people mocking him for having lost his fortune on a bad idea.
When doing something not-risky is bad, the reason is usually that it isn't ambitious enough: that you've avoided doing something that could have been better because you were afraid of failing. But the total eradication of malaria is not an unambitious, can't-possibly-fail undertaking: it's a huge task, it's not obvious that it can be done, and it would bring enormous benefit to the world. If it's immune to criticism, then as you suggest it's because it looks like a noble and generous thing to do. In other words, the lack of criticism isn't an indicator of lack of ambition, of aiming too low.
Instead of, say, eradicating malaria? You're kidding, right?
I might accept "greater good". There's no way I'll accept "greater malaria eradication".
The Gates Foundation is working on malaria eradication because it's one of those things where you really do get great returns by just attacking the problem head on. Batteries have nothing to do with malaria.
The other thing about super-batteries is that there's no shortage of sensible profit-chasing money pouring into it. If Sony, Samsung, Ford, Toyota, General Electric and Rolls Royce are all already pouring billions of dollars into it, there's not much point in Bill Gates throwing a couple of billion onto the pile. But apart from the Gates Foundation hardly anyone with deep pockets is targeting malaria.
I just used batteries as an example. The money being poured into batteries is commensurate with the overall value to society of creating them. This is not a market failure. The reason money isn't flowing to malaria prevention is because the structural problems that lead to the disease prevent the resulting human capital from having much of any economic value.
Given the impact of mobile devices we've seen in Africa so far, this sort of innovation would have a huge impact.
That said, I don't agree that Bill Gates is necessarily the best person to go solve this problem, nor that this would be an obviously more optimal area for him to invest in than those he's chosen so far.
Wow, amazing. I'd hate to live in a world where you had a say.
Technology is going to advance just fine with or without Gates. We'll have eventually have batteries that last years or something that obsoletes them all together. Unless enough wealthy people get malaria it might never get cured without heroic efforts like what Gates is doing.
Amazing. Who cares about people dying, I want to be able to play Angry Birds non-stop when flying to Australia.
He is changing the way development works. He is better funded than almost anyone else with no obligation to any other stakeholders (namely governments and political entities that use aid as a political chip).
He gets the opportunity to, as a private individual, challenge the market failures of our time. Who else is going to fund research aimed at saving the world's poorest with little chance of ROI? He can basically act like China does with their foreign aid but without taking all their natural resources in exchange.
If you truly think there is some big idea he is cowering from, you may have the greatest imagination I know of.
It doesn't read like a quest to give his fortune away, it looks more like a quest to try and solve some of the most intractable problems of poverty that the world faces. His legacy is trying to make the world a better place for the people sitting at the very bottom who capitalism has forsaken.
But philanthropy is an old fashioned way to solve problems. I guess I have this hope that someone like Gates would see a solution that took a very unexpected path.
Eradicating malaria is not something that is going to solve it's self, so it's a much bigger challenge.
Capitalism may be good at what it does, but it isn't the answer to all problems.
"Mr. Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook in his Harvard University dorm before dropping out of college and working on the business full time in California, is one of the world's youngest billionaires, worth an estimated $6.9 billion, according to Forbes. Yet since his wealth is from his ownership stake a company that has yet to list on the stock market, much of that wealth is theoretical at this point."
But wouldn't it be amusing if Facebook were to go the way of preceding social networks, and leave the "world's youngest billionaire" looking a little silly for pledging a fortune that never materialized?
But I wonder why more ridiculously wealthy entrepreneurs don't, ya know, preneur? Especially in the nonprofit "make a difference space".
A billion dollars to charity is cool. You know what's really cool? A billion dollars towards a celebrity billionaire-spearheaded do-good project. (Or 1 million dollars each towards 1000 projects, etc.)
Maybe I'm missing something, and I'm certainly no billionaire, so I probably am. But if I were a billionaire, I'd be more interested in angel investing (in promising, impactful projects) and my bringing my own ideas to life.
But I digress. Bravo to the billionaires. Really, this is awesome.
"The pledge does not involve pooling money or supporting a particular set of causes or organizations. The pledge asks only that the individual give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes or charitable organizations either before or after their death."
Interesting way to do this. I still don't really understand the need for a pledge of this magnitude, but at least they aren't pooling the money or soliciting for specific causes.
That being said, I still think Zuck is far too young to make such a strong commitment.
Do you really think so? Mark is a few years older than me, and I've already arrived at the decision that I'd do much the same as him if I ever had the same cash. He's bright, quite savvy regarding the public, and he's got a great inner stamina. I doubt he worries if he's capable of making money — maybe he'll never equal Facebook's success, in fact probably he won't, but I doubt if he started all over again today he'd fail to make himself a comfortable, cozy living.
It's not like he's being asked to live an ascetic lifestyle, though all stories I've read say that he's fairly minimal. He's just being asked to give away most of his money to help other people. In his case, "most of his wealth" still leaves him more than I've got at present.
I'd pledge if I had any hugely significant sum like the others in the pledge, but alas.
Lives in the developing world can be saved for less than $1000/life (that is, something like $20 per disability-adjusted-life-year). You personally could save dozens--perhaps hundred--of human lives, which I consider to be hugely significant.
So, yes, starting small means a lot, and it doesn't need to be a huge amount at all.
Look, I'm not advocating against giving, but I don't think jumping into pledges is the smartest way to begin.
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.
Playboy: Could that be an excuse to put off doing something?
Jobs: No. There are some simple reasons for that. One is that in order to learn how to do something well, you have to fail sometimes. In order to fail, there has to be a measurement system. And that's the problem with most philanthropy--there's no measurement system. You give somebody some money to do something and most of the time you can really never measure whether you failed or succeeded in your judgment of that person or his ideas or their implementation. So if you can't succeed or fail, it's really hard to get better. Also, most of the time, the people who come to you with ideas don't provide the best ideas. You go seek the best ideas out, and that takes a lot of time.
Playboy: If you plan to use your visibility to create a model for people, why is this one of the areas you choose not to discuss?
Jobs: Because I haven't done anything much yet. In that area, actions should speak the loudest.
These guys all have around the same net worth as Zuck, but much more liquidity. Sergey "don't be evil" Brin's absence from the list is a particularly curious... Anyone know what his philanthropic track record is like? Is it mostly through Google.org?
Facebook valued at 12 billion gallons of milk in private exchanges
That's a story about the eight philanthropies Thiel is funding, which are much more oriented along the lines of "give a man the plans for a new fishing machine" than traditional philanthropy.
Another billionaire signs up for Gate's depopulation agenda.
Carnegie's philosophy on wealth (mentioned in the article) is not a terrible philosophy to live your life by both in the realm of philanthropy and in most other aspects of life.
Why climb Mount Everest just to come back down?
Your point still stands though.
Though I loathe the way he's built Facebook, I trust someone like Zuck with several billion more than I trust someone without the ability to earn it. Who is going to be managing this money, and where is it going? Is this just a pledge, with no strings attached?
The article isn't very forthcoming, and neither is the website: givingpledge.org
I don't understand what's happened with Gates, and though I admire his sentiment, I think putting pressure on young entrepreneurs, who already have thousands of voices in their heads, is a wrong move.
Call me callous, but this whole thing seems insane. Mark can do more good with his money by building new technologies than this fund could do manage multiple billions of dollars. It's rare that money on that scale is managed well.