Thursday, January 02, 2014

Bill Gates Wanted His Money And He Said No

Bill probably isn't used to being told no:
Bill Gates is the richest person in the world — but one retired New York hedge-fund mogul thought the software pioneer’s Giving Pledge was “practically worthless"....

Wilson found especially problematic the pledge’s loophole that allowed signers to gift their wealth to a family-controlled foundation.

“And these foundations become, more often than not, bureaucracy-ridden sluggards,” Wilson wrote to Gates in a June 2010 e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by the website BuzzFeed.

“I’m going to stay far away from your effort,” Wilson told Gates in the same e-mail...

 Wilson, by signing the pledge, could inspire younger people to increase their giving, Gates wrote.

Wilson, in a second e-mail to Gates, was a bit more testy.

“You, being a liberal, think you can change people more than I think,” he wrote.
Wilson had his own views on how and when to engage in philanthropy.  Read more here.


Anonymous said...

If I had a massive pile of money I could throw away, I might consider challenging Gates to a contest.

He would invest in domestic, anti-poverty philanthropy to the tune of 5 million dollars. That money and its effects would then be carefully monitored to say how many people were fed/housed/received medical care, etc. Any taxes collected or employee donations to charity would also be counted. All this over 5-10 years.

For my part, I would take that same amount of money and capitalize small start-up companies. My money would also be carefully monitored to see the long-term effects: how many employed, housed, fed, taxes collected, etc.

In the end, which program will have helped more people? I'd bet it's the latter, especially when the money spent on business growth, hopefully, creates ongoing enterprises which continue to employ people, provide health insurance, and pay taxes. At the end of 10 years, the money spent on venture capitalism would still be hard at work.

That's not to say that philanthropy is useless; I merely assert that anti-poverty charity is often useless at actually improving poverty and that the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Homeless shelters, food banks, medical research charities, etc. all have important roles to play. If I had piles of cash to spend, those are the things I'd spend money on--as well as funding small business start-ups.

--Auntie Ann

allen (in Michigan) said...

I'd put together a private voucher program with the aim of bankrupting an urban school district.

Charters are setting the stage for the realization that the school district's a stupid waste of money while simultaneously making the education of kids more complex and less efficient then it ought to be but that realization's not going to hit for some time. Torpedoing an urban school district with private vouchers that substantially undercut the funding levels the district currently expends would go a long way towards highlighting the wastefulness of districts. If the thundering stampede of parents to charters here in Detroit is any clue alternatives to the district system have other attractions as well.