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Rich Kids Who Want to Give Away Their Money (townandcountrymag.com)
43 points by paulpauper 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 73 comments





I'll believe it when they give away enough that they have to get real jobs and work for a living. Maybe that's overly snarky, but to me something rings hollow about people sitting in a multi-million dollar loft in Manhattan pontificating about pronouns and privilege. Like, the privilege isn't all that bad, is it? I mean it's not like you're trying to give it up. You aren't renting a run-down office in Toledo so you can maximize the amount you're giving away. You aren't really looking to inconvenience yourself in any way, just trying to assuage some guilt.

I guess it's better than spending it all on cocaine and hookers. Would it be worse to invest the money in a way that employs people fairly even if makes a profit for yourself? I don't think so.


> I'll believe it when they give away enough that they have to get real jobs and work for a living

"In the meantime he works as a $115-an-hour SAT tutor for an agency."

> Maybe that's overly snarky, but to me something rings hollow about people sitting in a multi-million dollar loft in Manhattan

Do you also get snarky about Bill Gates giving away half his wealth to the Gates foundation? After all, he's still leaving billions aside for himself to live it up.

Call me weird, but I think it's commendable that people are trying to find a middle ground instead of giving away absolutely everything.

> Would it be worse to invest the money in a way that employs people fairly even if makes a profit for yourself? I don't think so

Almost everyone invests their money in productive businesses, simply by investing in the stock market. Heck, that's what most people do with their trust funds and riches. Choosing to give it away to charity definitely seems more noble.

Your overall tone appears to be very snarky and condescending towards people who haven't done anything to deserve it. It it motivated by envy? I can understand you not wanting to shower them with plaudits, but at least we could reserve judgement until they do something that's worthy of condescension.


> Do you also get snarky about Bill Gates giving away half his wealth to the Gates foundation? After all, he's still leaving billions aside for himself to live it up.

I don't and I thought someone might bring this up. Let me explain. To me, Bill Gates is intellectually honest and consistent. He isn't apologizing for being rich. He doesn't believe it's wrong that he got rich. From my outside perspective he seems like he's just someone who likes to solve problems. He solved some problems that made him a lot of money. Now he wants to use that money to solve other problems. Ok. Fine.

Contrast that to these kids. They are:

1. Saying that is bad and wrong that they have the money they have. They don't believe they should have it.

2. Continuing to hold on to the money they think it is wrong that they have.

To me, that is intellectually dishonest. If I honestly believe that something I'm doing is fundamentally wrong, then I should stop doing that thing. I understand they probably can't dissolve their trust funds on their own. They could however choose to get a job and live off that income while directing 100% of their trust income to charity, while not living in a multi-million dollar loft they didn't pay for.

Let me be clear, that's if they believe it's wrong. If they don't believe it's wrong, then they'd be acting consistently with their beliefs.

It's not that I disagree with what they're doing, I'm bothered by the inconsistency between their words and their actions.

> Almost everyone invests their money in productive businesses, simply by investing in the stock market. Heck, that's what most people do with their trust funds and riches. Choosing to give it away to charity definitely seems more noble.

Eh, maybe not necessarily. If their trust is invested in a high-frequency trading fund that makes money by front-running trades, is that really a productive activity? Would it be better to make money in some rent-seeking activity and give it away or, for example, invest it in a steel mill where you accept reduced profits in favor of paying high wages and benefits? To me the latter helps people more and also produces steel, which is useful. (This is just an example, I'm not interested in a debate about the economics of running a steel mill in the US.)


I agree with your point about the importance of intellectual honesty. I think you're misrepresenting their beliefs though. Here's their stated goals and beliefs:

"As part of a coordinated strategy to systematically redistribute wealth and repair the harm created by wealth extraction, RG asks our members to take bold action with the resources currently under our and our families’ control, moving toward greater alignment with humanity and the planet ... its primary goal is to “redistribute all or almost all inherited wealth and/or excess wealth to social justice movements.”

Their goal is perfectly aligned with someone choosing to give away the majority of their inherited wealth, while still keeping enough to live comfortably in a loft in Manhattan. I don't see any hypocrisy there.

There seems to be a common belief that being a do-gooder implies giving away all your wealth and living a spartan existence. I disagree with that. It is perfectly reasonable for someone to find a middle ground of comfort + philanthropy.


You can recognize the advantages of the system, and leverage them, while working to change the system. They could live like a monk and it would have far less an impact on the system as a whole then what they’re trying to do here.

If your between 18 and 35, not all the wealth that you're able to enjoy the privilege of is under your control. Yes, someone can totally host a meeting in a large loft, but it doesn't necessarily mean the loft belongs to them and not their parents. Hell, even if it is their loft, it's not likely that it's being paid for out of the wealth they control, instead the parents pay for it.

Also, holding on to a small fraction of wealth you got doesn't detract from the much larger fraction you've given away. Yeah, maybe they aren't suffering like average Joe is but when did it suddenly become mandatory for everyone to suffer? When did we start measuring how good our society is by how much everyone suffers? Going by the metric of making everyone live happy lives, they are doing pretty damn good.

Investing the money only gets you back in the same position you were in before. Maybe you don't have the cash, but you sure do have the power. That's what these kids are trying to give up when they give away this money. That's the whole point of this organization.


> Yeah, maybe they aren't suffering like average Joe is but when did it suddenly become mandatory for everyone to suffer?

Working to earn a living is suffering? Where did the GP say anything about suffering?


Maybe my choice of the word "suffering" was too strong, but an appropriate replacement escapes me right now. So I'll leave it as is.

Spending it on hookers would directly remunerate the "working class" though, no?

Your comment is a tad snarky and strays off topic within the snark... But for real, why not recognize sex work as a legitimate profession?

Because its financial viability as a mode of employment is largely rooted in social norms and social disapproval sufficiently blocking flood of competition. Outside of a few high priced call girls in an elite network, prostitution pays because we (collectively) look askance at it.

You just said sex work pays because 'we' look cynically/suspiciously at it. Really?

Sex work pays because people want a form of pleasure and are willing to pay for it. There is demand and some people are willing to provide supply.

So I'll ask again, since you didn't really answer the question, why not recognize it as a legitimate profession?


The other respondent summarized me correctly, but I'll also add, why do most aspiring "actors" or "models" have to moonlight as waiters if it's a simple matter of people paying for something pleasurable that people want? Because those jobs carry social prestige, and they're flooded with competition. Disgust, danger, and/or fear among the eligible applicant pool keeps enough competition out of prostitution to make it work.

Your comment "prostitution pays because we (collectively) look askance at it" Is directly equivalent to "sex work pays because 'we' look cynically/suspiciously at it"

I summarized you correctly - you may not like what you said but my summarization was correct word for word.

Comparing aspiring actors and models to sex work? This is a false equivalence.

And your last sentence "disgust, danger, and/or fear" not only makes broad assumptions, but also reinforces what I commented earlier about corporate & labor law.

And you still haven't really answered the question.


Yes, but the other commenter said explicitly what I was implying the consequence would be if sex work were socially normalized. People who sell their bodies as entertainment fall on a spectrum. You may not like it, but I've already answered your question.

What consequence? What spectrum?

I know words!

Sex work as a profession would have to be legitimized, the road to any "normalization" would be a longer one.

As you seem to jump from legitimizing and providing protections to "normalization" which I suspect has a bunch assumptions you've built into it... I'd like to know those assumptions.

So you still didn't answer my question.

P.S. Thank you for admitting that I did, in fact, summarize your statement correctly. :)


But if it was normalized then with an increase of supply there would be downward pressure on prices making it no longer an effective way to make a living.

Although normalizing it is very different from decriminalizing and regulating.


As the recent Epstein revelations are proving, there is so much coercion and trafficking in sex work that deeming it a legitimate industry is not plausible.

Isn't that an argument for recognizing sex work as a legitimate profession?

Exploitation can happen in any number of professions up and down the value chain. It's one reason why we have corporate & labor law and why we don't have young children working in mines any longer.


No? Your child labor example shows exactly why. At some point, the inherent tendency for a certain type of work to be exploitive means that the correct solution is to ban it entirely. We didn’t regulate child factory labor, we banned it. (Of course, we prosecute factory owners who use child labor, and not the children, but we could do that with sex work too.)

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J189v02n03_03

> We interviewed 854 people currently or recently in prostitution in 9 countries (Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United States, and Zambia), inquiring about current and lifetime history of sexual and physical violence. We found that prostitution was multitraumatic: 71% were physically assaulted in prostitution; 63% were raped; 89% of these respondents wanted to escape prostitution, but did not have other options for survival. A total of 75% had been homeless at some point in their lives; 68% met criteria for PTSD. Severity of PTSD symptoms was strongly associated with the number of different types of lifetime sexual and physical violence.

Decriminalization doesn’t fix these problems. https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/lids/2014/06/12/does-legalized-...

> Countries with legalized prostitution are associated with higher human trafficking inflows than countries where prostitution is prohibited. The scale effect of legalizing prostitution, i.e. expansion of the market, outweighs the substitution effect, where legal sex workers are favored over illegal workers. On average, countries with legalized prostitution report a greater incidence of human trafficking inflows.

That’s why I bring up Epstein. Consider Stallman’s defense of Minsky: “she probably presented as willing.” What does the regulatory regime look like? Does requiring a license guarantee that women are willing, and not merely presenting as willing? Do inspectors come around and check that pimps aren’t physically abusing women or plying them with drugs? Legal prostitution gives cover to illegal prostitution. And it creates demand that can be satisfied by either legal or illegal prostitution, but where customers have no way to discern the difference.


It's not that some work has some "inherent tendency" to be exploitive. It's just that some lines of work are extremely vulnerable to exploitive forms masquerading as non-exploitive, to the point where the whole "market" unravels and only the exploitive form dominates. Child labor also falls into this, basically. But prostitution is even more obvious.

And no, people haven't really shown how to fix the issue. Maybe it could be done via strict regulation combined with a high price floor, to purposefully turn it into a manageable, "niche" industry where qualitative factors are prized and discourage opportunistic entry. But while that might be okay even to many self-identified 'sex workers', let's not pretend that plenty of people wouldn't be disappointed by such an approach.


>A 2012 study published in World Development, “Does Legalized Prostitution Increase Human Trafficking?”

Ah yeah, that study which considers Ukrainian girls voluntarily coming to Germany for a job in sex industry as "trafficked".

These "studies" are unsound and plainly wrong. The very definition of trafficking they use is so ambiguous and varies from "a sex slave being transported in a container" to "a girl who legally(sic) emigrates to a rich country to legally(sic) work in sex industry". The latter is not a bad thing.

> We found that prostitution was multitraumatic: 71% were physically assaulted in prostitution; 63% were raped

Yeah, before it was legalized. I see no evidence that after legalization in Germany 63% of workers were raped. This is such a blatant manipulation. A very good overall review of such manipulations could be find here [2]

> What does the regulatory regime look like? Does requiring a license guarantee that women are willing, and not merely presenting as willing?

Lets start with a fact that a girl who want to work in a sex industry don't need to deal with delinquents, if prostitution is legalized. That reduces abuse terrifically.

Lets continue with the fact that legal market draws demand from the black market, making trafficking and related risks less attractive from a financial point of view.

The vast majority of prostitutes came voluntarily to biz, the percent of slaves is tiny, so removing the need to deal with delinquents and giving the opportunity to have a legal job would reduce abuse significantly.

[1] https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jennyheineman/sex-traff...

[2] https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewconten...


This is right about the time where someone comes along and talks about how decriminalization and regulation will fix it.

True. And drug dealers gotta eat too.

If they're giving away money effectively because they're guilty that seems fine.

While they could give away more if they sold that loft, the important thing is that they are giving away most of the trust. There needs to be a story they tell themselves where giving makes sense for them. If keeping the loft is part of that story, then it seems better to focus persuasion efforts on the people who aren't giving at all.


>> Would it be worse to invest the money in a way that employs people fairly even if makes a profit for yourself?

TBH, I'd prefer it if they just spent the money on drugs and hookers rather than creating more useless jobs... We have too many of those already.

Drugs are good. They're rat poison for the greedy. We should legalize drugs and make them stronger.


I want to downvote this so much but I don't have enough karma. So I'll just say that's not how drugs work. There are plenty of greedy people who's lives didn't get ruined by drugs. Furthermore, this is just an awful attitude to have towards people who struggle. They don't use drugs out of greed, they use them because they can't cope any other way.

They are greedy for emotions which makes them greedy in general.

They're not necessarily evil, but on average, such people take much more than they give and that's the problem.


I also have a very hard time identifying with people so wealthy they don't need to work, talking about change in posh cafes and loft apartments. It seems like much talk, little action.

What have they done? What effects have their donations had? That's what I'd love to know.


I feel like Bill Gates's idea of giving away all your money so children won't die is the only rational and sane thing to do.

I cannot imagine having billions of dollars and being like, "Nah, forget the children. I need three more yachts." I genuinely don't get it.


Bill Gates come from multi-generational wealth and his kids are not any different. They will inherit $10 million each as well as expensive education etc etc.

Yeah. I'm not asking rich people to go into poverty to save the world, just to share some of the excess.

going from billions to 10 million is a big downgrade though

Inheriting the Gates name is probably worth a lot more than $10mm.

And if they're smart, they can make that 10m make them even more money. I just cant imagine ever needing that much money unless I did my dream of travelling and staying somewhere new all the time.

not so much in terms of lifestyle, would be my guess

Meh, we already have a lot of people. Making more people is a solved problem; feeding, clothing, and educating them is not.

I'll start paying attention when wealthy people start preserving entire ecosystems (like Ted Turner, Doug Tompkins, etc).

* https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/south-americ...

* https://www.tedturner.com/turner-ranches/turner-ranches-faq/


Making people not die early is a bit less of a solved problem, though...

I feel like a better suggestion is to put your money to good use, you can be the one to invest/donate/spend that money where it can do good.

Something funny but working could be picking random small towns with debts and loan problems and just zero out all of the debt.


I feel like billionaires and private capital in general should not have that much power over the world because it's undemocratic.

Bill Gates is going the right thing and I would hopefully do the same thing as him in his shoes, but do we need more Koch brothers spending money where they think it will do good?


I believe this is missing the point. Both the way you can accumulate money and the stuff you can buy are determinant in saying whether billionaires are moral or not.

What I see here is an economy of scale and I am much more worried about the erosion of a middle class than with the presence of billionaires.

If I properly remember the reasoning about the effectiveness of the Gini coefficient what you desperately should try to defend is the possibility of upward mobility.

What cannot be denied is that the international market and freedom of services allowed an unprecedented economic boom, for this to stable across time you need to allow people to become rich (especially if money is counted as "projected prices of stuff that might never get sold" as for amazon).

You also need a strong social net so that weaker social classes are protected, but we should move away from the mentality that wealth is theft.


> need more Koch brothers spending money where they think it will do good?

Yes?


> but do we need more Koch brothers spending money where they think it will do good?

Would you rather prefer a Stalin guy in charge of funds and money? You are talking about extremes here, as if private money are inherently bad, while governments are inherently good and democratic.

Even in our "liberal democracies" governments spend on bailouts, subsidies for big biz, countless wars, foreign bloody dictatorships. This is better than Koch brothers? Democratic, hah?

The good thing about private money is the diversity, there are different rich people, on the scale from Hitler to Jesus, with different ideals and views, spending on different things. With governments it's way more centralized, and if your government is fucked, it's abysmally fucked due to the concentration of power.


The argument that any kind of wealth distribution is akin to Soviet-style communism is the extreme idea. It's been practiced peacefully throughout Europe. Authoritarianism is a different political dimension.

That is not wealth distribution, that is a social state that prioritize the minimal needs of its people. Rich people poses no problems with that. (many people who do are rich and they use their money as a tool to get more money, but being rich itself is not a problem)

> The argument that any kind of wealth distribution is akin to Soviet-style communism

There is no such argument in my comment. The comment explicitly states that saying that any private money are evil is akin to saying that any gov is evil because Stalin.

> It's been practiced peacefully throughout Europe.

Wealth redistribution is very modest here. Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Finland are one of the most liberal countries in the world (way more liberal than US), and the redistribution here is mostly from middle class to the poor, rather than from rich to the poor, with the huge emphasis on voluntarism (Sweden and Finland don't even have minimum wage).


Do you really genuinely care about the children ? I don't.

Thanks, Melania.

I genuinely don't get how one would blame others for something they don't even do themselves.

At first I think "oh yeah, really noble...give away your birthright money you didn't earn".

But really if it's that instead of becoming a social media influencer, starting a ridiculous furniture or clothing line...I think I'm in favor of this.


The only way you’d be willing to get rid of all your money is if you’d never experienced being poor.

This is really great. It would be even better if the money was distributed earlier to the workers that made their parents and grandparents excessively wealthy

I have plenty of solid ideas if anyone wishes to direct their excess resources my way. :)

“Zacchaeus, come down from that tree immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

"I wish it wasn’t something that I had to do voluntarily."

I think this is the crux of a major philosophical difference. Someone made a bunch of money, and decided to put trust in you to do what you thought best with it (give it away, invest it, whatever). The sentiment expressed by this individual in the article is a delegation of that trust - they would rather have someone else (presumably, the government) decide for them the best way to use that money.

At the same time, it's not like anyone in this article is really giving it all away. Last week, Catholics celebrated the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. He would be a useful role model for anyone who feels like they have too much privilege of how to actually give away all that you have (and still not have birthday vacations and lunch at Le Pain Quotidien).


I'm not holding my breath. I would rather they spend it excessively, living a life of complete hedonism. This is perhaps the most efficient way of distributing their wealth throughout society.

These are trust fund kids.

Stuff like this always makes me laugh, mostly out of the insanity of it. Most of these types have never had to file bankruptcy, or worry about paying the month past due bill(s), or how they're going to eat or feed their children. They have no idea what people need. When they want to play philanthropist to 'save the world' I just can't help but laugh.

You want to make a real difference? Find some people, give them a monthly stipend, tell them it'll last x years and they should use it to improve their situation.

Say you have 1 million dollars you want to do something with:

- Find 15 people

- Give each one $500 a month for a decade as a stipend/annuity.

- Take the other 100k and give four $5,000 scholarships a year for 5 years.

You'll radically change 20~ lives profoundly. For me $500 a month would be another week and change of take home pay every month, over the course of a decade it would be 35-45% of a house here around Indy.

Hell, I only need 700k to retire with a 3% safe withdrawal rate if I do not have kids (34 and not married so doubt that's happening). You could take that 1 million and give 10 people 100k and say "congrats, I just put you a decade closer to retirement!" and the impact it would have would be drastic for those individuals, and if you're worried about them blowing it on stupid stuff, just spread it out, 1k a month for 8 years and change.

Have a financial planner create a document that gives them suggestions on how to invest it into retirement vehicles or educational programs, or just point them at the /r/personalfinance sidebar and ask them to write you an update each month on what's going on in their life. Feel good for the better part of a decade.

---

I don't have a college degree, EVERYONE wants a college degree. I had a multi-millionaire, that at the time was running not one but TWO companies tell me he was sorry that I was running into a wall for not having a degree and that he was sorry it has become a "de facto union card". I begged, and begged, and even suggested things I could do for either company or some other endeavor of his and "I'm real busy right now" was all I got.

Last summer this individual that flew me clear across the country and put me up in a hotel for 2 days, to talk to me face to face for less than 1 hour - while they worked on their laptop the entire time. I spent all of my Sunday, Monday and Tuesday finally getting home at 8pm, having arrived at the airport here 8am Sunday, so they could talk to me for maybe 40 minutes face to face... the money they wasted on that was about 2 weeks of my take home pay.

I imagine they didn't think anything of it. "Hey I'm busy, I'd like to meet this person, I'll have them journey across the country so we can have a meeting since they aren't local" probably didn't think anything of it. but to me I thought they were finally going to give me a 'trial' job and wanted to do it face to face. Nope. Just wanted to meet me. I was devastated. For a week or so leading up to getting there I was like "This is it, this is it!!!" and then just "hi, nice to finally meet you"...

People with this sort of wealth, simply have no concept of reality for 'normal' people.


It seems pretty clear that the trip was an interview and you didn't pass?

I also disagree that being rich doesn't mean you're oblivious to how the world works for most people. It doesn't take a genius to realize a lot of people struggle to put food on the table.


>It seems pretty clear that the trip was an interview and you didn't pass?

I don't know how interviews work in California but here in the midwest someone that's been playing email tag for you with a year doesn't fly you out, put you up for two nights, and talk to you about random stuff between meetings with their feet up on the table with no mention of either company they run.

>It doesn't take a genius to realize a lot of people struggle to put food on the table

There's a world of difference of going "I know some people can't afford food" and understanding what it is like to actually be in that position. Unless you've been there, you can't claim that.


At last, an article that fully explores the aspirations of trust fund kids! I had no idea they are so virtuous!

They can give away their money, as long as they don’t force others to do the same, which is typical of socialists.

I am excited for the era of millineal politicians. I think we'll possibly get more non-greedy than greedy ones.

Will we? Boomers were the generation of love and social change, but they integrated into the system just like everyone else.

True. From “Love and peace” in the 60s to “Greed is good” in the 80s.

Me too. I'm looking forward to complete equality, when we are all equally rich...or poor, same thing when everyone is equal.

No idea why you are getting downvoted. There will always be some number of "greedy" people in any group. But what they are greedy about does change from generation to generation, and that definitely makes things interesting.

Optimism doesn't make for sexy comments I guess. All I said was I was excited that it seemed possible lol

Haha. If you think human nature will suddenly flip with the Millennial generation, I think you’ll be disappointed.

Grab a good history book and you’ll realized nothing has changed for thousands of years. Most humans look out for themselves first. You’re lucky if you can find one that will think of other 50% of the time.


That's great. Rich people often give their money away, I'm sure it helps them feel good about themselves.

If these kids are so inclined, more power to them. I hope they pick great causes.


It actually feels good giving away money. Try giving away $100, it doesn't need to be a million.

>Try giving away $100

That's a day's take home for some of us.


If they were serious about 'giving away their power too,' they would let someone else sit in a coffee shop while taking notes on a laptop.



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