Yesterday was Giving Tuesday. I hope everyone participated. I backed my friends Bijan and Lauren’s Crowdrise campaign for Charity Water. They made it easy for me. Technology makes it easier to give back.
I spent most of yesterday raising money for CSNYC and CS4All. It started with my blog post and ended with a pitch for a big gift. There were a number of other meetings in between. I have never chaired a big philanthropic campaign before. It’s an interesting experience. It reminds me a bit of raising our first fund at USV. But we get more yeses. And these people aren’t getting a return. It’s very gratifying to have another person or organization support your philanthropic work.
As I was on the subway yesterday evening headed to an event in Harlem where a non-profit called Hot Bread Kitchen thanked the Gotham Gal for five years of service as Board Chair, I got a text from my daughter Emily. She said “did you see the news about Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan?” I had not seen the news, so she sent me the link. I texted Emily back “giving back is a wonderful thing and I’m so pleased to see news like that. It makes me so hopeful for the world we live in.”
I like the dual focus of the work Mark and Priscilla will support, advancing human potential and promoting equality. Most of what ails our world is a result of not doing those things.
Giving Tuesday has come and gone. But hopefully our charitable giving has not. Whether it is giving money or giving time or just caring about something or someone, giving back feels great and is great.
The Chan-Zuckerberg letter and charity pledge was a giant gesture.But giving back doesn’t have to be monetary only. One can give back their time, knowledge, services, expertise, etc. Lots of opportunities to give back in-kind. And giving back when recipients expect it the least is one of the best ways to do it.To serve or to give are the most noble things a human being can do.
In some ways, time given back is higher value than money.I remember reading Gates’ advice about philanthropy: focus on 1-3 areas, dive deep, and contribute time, money and expertise. Don’t succumb to the (kind and understandable) desire to spread your donations thin, or contribute to every good cause that comes across your transom.
Nicely said.Any platforms that make it easy for people to do just that? Or a gaggle of separate places to mentor or big sister/brother type of thing?
Hmm…that could be an interesting idea, potentially. I didn’t think of it as coming via a platform, but rather from the individual. That said, the Accelerator model is a platform where mentors donate their time and expertise.
Try Meetup.com there are many “Code for” brigades across the country that work on civic tech projects to benefit the community. I spent last night at Code for Boston working on an app that will help Cambridge residents reduce their energy usage and more easily navigate applying for existing incentive programs.Lots of people I know volunteer income tax assistance through VITA.
yes, and i hopefully communicated that in the closing paragraph of this post. i totally agree with you
You did. I was echoing it somewhat.
One can give back their time, knowledge, services, expertise, etc.Honestly though William a large percentage of people are living paycheck to paycheck. Another large percentage is just worrying about keeping their finances in order so they can pay their mortgage, save for retirement and pay for college. And focusing on anything but themselves is perhaps not a good idea and actually a bad idea. It’s fine if Fred’s kids want to work at the soup kitchen or help with charity because of the large safety net that they have. But quite frankly I’d rather have my kids work a job on the weekends and save money for the future or if they were to lose their jobs. Or if they get married their spouse gets ill, loses a job or their kids needs extraordinary medical care.This “help others” and community service thing drilled into kids today is totally out of hand. If I hadn’t busted my ass working when I was in college or high school I wouldn’t have the money to start my first business. If my Dad hadn’t busted his ass he wouldn’t have the money to pay for my college and he wouldn’t have left my mom enough money to live a nice life now (not a rich life but a nice place for an older person). Ditto for my uncle (at least one of them anyway).To serve or to give are the most noble things a human being can do.Noble does not put food or healthcare on the table. Do you see how shit expensive things are nowadays?
So, give if you can. It’s voluntary. No one is forcing you. That said, I think it’s always possible to give something even you’re barely making it yourself. It depends on your own largesse.My Dad was a doctor who routinely refused payments from many of his less well to do patients, throughout his 40 years of practice. It was his own way of giving back. And I think he did the right thing and taught me how to be generous professionally or financially.
Well I would argue that that is fine with one exception. It creates pressure and a negative on those who choose not to do anything. Even though you say “voluntary” you don’t mean “voluntary”.For example:That said, I think it’s always possible to give something even you’re barely making it yourself.Free country a potential negative to enforce behavior that you may desire on others especially since we are not talking about a crisis and especially since “possible to give something” doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans but just a feel good “I gave at the office” attitude.The public display of platitudes for those that do give would tend to create an anxiety in those that don’t give. It’s a form of public peer pressure.  If you Dad routinely refused payment from poor patients I am almost certain that that was in a vacuum and not something that was expected (or even common) or forced on him by others. My Dad did things like that often giving slack to tenants that could not pay or other considerations to people that he dealt with in business. I helped people out that worked for me. I help people out now if I can. However I didn’t do and don’t do it because I saw others doing it or because it was expected or because it was something that I had to do. Or to check off a box “I am a good person”. My point being there was no anxiety if I couldn’t and only a good feeling if I could. It is truly of free will. If someone told me to do it I would reject that outright as being controlling and parental.And if you look at some of the vitrole around the Koch brothers where people think that them giving 100’s of millions is “not enough” given how much they have then you realize that you will never be able to please others according to their standards. I have no doubt that many people feel bad when they can’t help or don’t choose to help in the way that they crowd decides they should do so. Like that water bucket challenge. Many people thought anyone not doing that was a true party pooper and anxiety was created in those choosing not to do so.
“these people aren’t getting a return” – wrong.they are getting a return. and they’re getting it in a currency worth far more than money.
Of course they are getting a return. If they wanted less of a ‘return’ they would donate anonymously. Though it’s harder to do that will billions I suppose.
i stand corrected. you are right
Spot on, mark is a rational guy. He knows the marginal return on holding this wealth to his quality of life (above 500 million) is essentially zero. More interestingly, what is the mindset of those who don’t understand this.
Right on! It’s called intrinsic happiness, and it has nothing to do with money, and a lot to do with altruistic giving.
Great to see so much wealth being put to good use…to help others.
“It reminds me a bit of raising our first fund at USV. But we get more yeses.”If you’re better at this than VC, imagine what a career’s worth of development work for charitable causes would have been like. There’s still time to make a career change.
Although let’s face it, his success (status) as a VC probably allows him more effectiveness in charitable fundraising in a shorter amount of time than he would have accomplished in a lifetime focused on development work.
i am trying to do both at the same time. i think i can
More power to you!
This sounds great. My concern comes from the influence that comes with this big time philanthropy.Take a look at Bill Gates’ out sized influence on education. Many of us educators feel that his reforms have done far more harm than good.Time will tell.
How is Gates doing harm to education? (am just trying to better understand your point)
gates foundation has been a big supporter of common core: https://www.washingtonpost….if you don’t support common core, this would be seen as harmful to education.
I’m not a fan of common core, so I understand that criticism.But I think anyone saying education would be better off without Gates is prematurely judging.I have much more faith in the Gates foundation’s ability/willingness to monitor the data and stop supporting ideas that don’t work, focusing on ideas that do work, than I have in the existing education establishment to do the same thing.In part because of the old saying that people spend their own money more carefully than they spend other people’s.
Big influence on the use of VAM.Also, he was behind a lot of the push for small schools. While we did need some small schools this led to the wholesale destruction of the neighborhood school in NYC and a number of other problems.Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg
you have to break some things to fix a broken system Mike. small schools are better. much better. unless you are working with self starters who can navigate a big building on their own. which is the world you work in.
I can’t say small is universally better. We needed more small but we also need some big and some in between and personally, I think we do need strong neighborhood options.The key plus to small is everyone can know each other so it’s harder to fall through the cracks.Some of the bad include the limited programs (usually resulting in removing the arts), bloated overall bureaucracy (5 principals + 5 APs per building instead of 1 principal and a handful of APs overall, and supervision that doesn’t know content.Neither tje big nor small school models directly solve the problem of having 34 kids in a class and a total load of 170 kids and all of the other issues our kids have to deal with.
one person having a disproportionate influence over a core public policy issue could be regarded by any reasonable definition of ‘public’ as having a harming influence.wealth is not the currency of a true democracy.
Fair points, but there is also a downside to a group of people taking your money (through legislated mechanisms) to spend in ways that we prefer vs. how you would choose to spend it.Neither approach is perfect, both have flaws. But it’s important to keep in mind the full set of costs involved when choosing one approach vs. the other.
if the group didn’t exist the wealth creator would have a much harder time creating wealth.
Agreed. I’m just pointing out that there are no easy answers here. Any system you choose will have serious flaws and unintended consequences, in addition to its benefits.
you beat me to the punch. zuckerberg sounds a lot like gates and i really think a strong case can be made that the gates foundation will end up doing more harm than good (though they do some good). i think too many people blindly support charity without looking closely at it.but kudos to fred, gotham gal, and everyone else that gave back with sincere thought and the best of intentions.
many people blindly support Key point “blindly support” … such is the lemming way.
I agree. Since the new Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is an LLC and NOT a charitable trust like the Gates Foundation, who knows what Zuckerberg will spend that money on. I suspect that much of it will go to lobbying efforts. The SEC filing states the money will go to:”philanthropic, public advocacy, and other activities for the public good.”So, we can all trust that Zuck will make good decisions and lobby for the right things but I am never in favor of one individual having so much money and/or power. Who knows, maybe Zuck is just a future Sheldon Adelson or Koch Brothers.I’d rather see a greater diffusion of such wealth, then watch on the sidelines as the good billionaires battle the evil billionaires.
Not sure Sheldon and Koch brothers view themselves as philanthropists. More lobbyists than not.
Koch brothers have given hundreds millions to charities and various cancer research activities. They lobbying efforts also support their wacky libertarian and conservative views. It’s not just about what is best for Koch Industries.Same with Adelson. He spends $100M influencing an election to what…. help his casinos?
Perception trumps reality, no? Koch brothers admirable charitable contributions are far dwarfed by their zany libertarian and conservative views. And the brothers are strangely surprised by this perception.
their charitable work is only dwarfed by their politics if your politics are even more zany
.I am offended by the use of the word “zany” — seems like a micro-aggression. Maybe even actionable.I am going to retreat to my safe zone and contemplate this.When one controls the money, they also control their views.JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...
Agree. “Zany”, “weird”, “wacky” are words that are used when someone is frustrated and can’t control what someone else does because they either don’t give a shit (about what others think) or have some kind of power defact or dejure. So it’s a last ditch frustration and attempt at control. Same thing that happens with Trump. You know, call him “a clown” and the like. Focus on anything to rile up the lemmings.
These words are commonly called “adjectives”. There are many of them.
.Haha, good one, zany even?Adjective descriptors are used to color nouns like finger painting.JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...
.Sixty days from Iowa and still atop everything — the world may be well advised to start practicing saying “President Trump.”I am going to a seance with Karl Rove in two weeks and the advance materials say he will lay out Trump’s path to the White House.There is also a clear indication that HRC will likely be indicted. Chatter based on who has been brought into the FBI investigative team. Guys who worked on similar cases that were presented to grand juries.The Fat Lady is warming up.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
You know often a tactic in derailing a politician is bringing up some drawback with them at the last minute in order to knock them down.Can you imagine anything at all that could be uncovered about Trump that could top anything that he has said himself or has come from his own mouth? Anything at all? He has created, by his own words, a tremendous moat to that strategy. (I can think of only one thing and it would be something that ranks above murder in most people’s minds..)By the way as far as what I would call “mimicking the cripple” (been waiting for an opportunity to say this so thanks) it’s amazing how people feel free to load on Trump (even prior to his candidacy) about everything making fun of him constantly but the minute he makes fun of a protected species (handicapped people) he brings out all of the adults who call him out and think that he is way way out of line.
The question isn’t whether Trump can beat Hillary, the question is whether Trump can garner enough incremental party support once the field begins to narrow. That’s where IMO the wheels come off the bus for Trump, as the field shrinks. He’s far too polarizing for the party and could never be a viable candidate in the general election. If he’s the nominee, it would be the ultimate embarrassment for the GOP. The Fat Lady may be going through her scales, but she’ll never sing.
Psychologically you may not be correct.Here is why:1) Trump has and will continue to have tremendous media attention. No question that isn’t going anywhere. The media loves to talk about him. Better than any ad.2) Even people who despise Trump, given enough exposure, will become numb and less bothered by what he says. Form of brainwashing. Key point here.3) He could at any point start to talk turkey at which time the psychological impact will be highly positive as people will be looking for a way to rationalize the possibility of him running and learning to accept his possible Presidency. 4) People are focusing on what he says to much to begin with. So he’s a loose canon maybe that’s a good thing and not a bad thing.5) No question he would be good at “politics” it’s all about deal making. He is good at that. He is also good at motivating people and getting them to do things. That is good. He is no boring John Kasick or Jeb Bush. He is colorful and people listen to what he says. He bends the truth which has only helped him, not hurt him it seems.6) Per my other comment he is nearly bulletproof. No chance of anything coming out (short of “worse than murder”) of derailing him his own words have already given him ample armor.7) Almost nobody ever seems “Presidential” until they become President. I remember Jimmy Carter, Reagan, Obama for example. The halo begins after you take office.8) Bananarepublic street smart leaders (or Putin) or the Saudis or Netanyahu like a guy like this. They don’t want a John Kerry type or a John Kasick type. They want a guy who is real that they can wrestle with and that they respect even if he’s an asshole. (Why do you think Putin is running Russia it’s because of the Russian people want someone of that bolt of cloth). Saw this principle many times in life and as an example with a relative who married out of the religion in a family that couldn’t ever imagine that happening. The unthinkable was then embraced, welcomed, and eventually even thought to be a good thing.
Good points LE, but I respectfully disagree.No one admittedly is getting more free ink and PR than Trump, and that’s obv a good thing for him. He’s also clearly an enigma that the media nor the candidates he’s running against can figure out, in spite of the outlandish, inflammatory comments he continues to make. If John Gotti was the Teflon Don, then DT is the Teflon candidate….well, until he isn’t.He currently gets a free pass cause the field currently is so disjointed and chaotic, while the media fully basks in Donald being Donald. It sells papers, makes for good TV, etc. Once the field narrows, and more substantive conversations ensue, then the jig will be up. All the hyperbole, bombast, rhetoric will be looked upon for what it is, a farce. Everything can’t continually be about “we’re gonna do great, unbelievable things,” without substantive, actionable plans that, at least in theory, address real-world problems (and building a wall frankly doesn’t fit the bill).Great advertising and PR can’t save an inferior product. It’s no different in politics as it is w/ consumer products. You can perhaps buy an election locally, where there’s likely a higher correlation with driving awareness and winning, particular for an unknown, but I would like to believe that media spend in national elections is a bit less relevant, as the nominees generally have pretty high profiles (Obama notwithstanding).The Republican field will soon begin to contract and consolidate, and Rubio and Cruz will likely gain more share than Trump. The debates will be more fact focused and policy driven, and less about sound bites. A candidate can hide a bit when he’s getting only 5-10 minutes of air time in a crowded field, but less so when it’s him against one or two other opponents over the same period of time. He is not a good speaker. (Rubio, Cruz, Hillary, etc., will eat him up.) Further, it’s a fact that primary polls are less reliable than general election polls as voters are far more likely to vacillate leading up to primaries than they do w/ gen elections.Trump will not be the nominee.
.Not to agree or disagree with you but simply to observe that the pundits, the GOPe (GOP establishnent), the other candidates have all written The Donald off at least a hundred times.The conventional wisdom was Jeb and nobody else. Jeb had the name. Jeb had the money. Jeb was the next Bush in line. Jeb had the nomination and nominating process was simply a formality.All wrong.The Donald has a real chance to become President.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
“Unconventional, odd, unpopular”–all def of “zany”–hardly strikes me as a form of aggression, micro or otherwise. Honestly JLM, it’s safe to come out now.Let’s face it, money always buys a seat at the table, always has in philanthropy, biz, politics and life. Money breeds power, and unfortunately a fair amount of contempt, too.What’s that infamous line allegedly whispered by “Deep Throat” (and I don’t mean Marilyn Chambers, although it likely has resonance there, too)?”Follow the money”
.You are clearly not up to speed on “micro-aggressions” which are whatever the self-proclaimed and anointed victim says they are.Your lack of understanding constitutes yet another micro-aggression or MA.JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...
No, my lack of understanding can be attributed to everyday ignorance :)if my comment was perceived as an insult to the Koch Brothers, either intentional or unintentional, I’m sure they’ll get over it.
You’re so madcap.
Nobody wants to believe that. Also everyone assumes that every rich person publicly discloses what they give and who they help.News Flash: They don’t. One of the reasons is that if they did everyone and anyone would then come out and beg for money. (Which I am sure they do anyway.) But imagine if you are some orphanage that the Koch brother decided to replace the HVAC system in. Word gets out and you have 10,000 other orphanages that read about it in “Orphanage World” that then hound you as well.  I once had a bunch of Keurig cups that I didn’t need. I knew my niece used those so I told her I would ship them to her. It was actually easier to just order some new ones and drop ship them to her at college which is what I ended up doing. What happened? Next thing I know (this is a true story btw) my daughter calls me up upset because my niece posted on Facebook that I was the greatest uncle (seriously) because I had sent her the cups! Who would ever imagine that would happen, my daughter was jealous of my act of generosity?
whacky? that is productive.They have produced more weath in the last 5 minutes than you will in a lifetime or two or three.
.Take a look at the record of Koch charitable giving. Been to Lincoln Center recently?It dwarfs their political involvement.JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...
Exactly. Zuck is just getting ahead of any wealth blowback by buying a bulletproof vest in advance. This is truly the (mythical) mafia way. Buy Christmas Turkeys and help people in the community so they view you in a positive manner and cut you a break and look the other way. If I knew more about history or even Shakespeare I could probably find better examples dating back centuries or even the stone age.Politics? Of course Zuckerberg gets a seat at the table in Whitehouse dinners (or has).
Dwarfs in terms of what… dollars or impact? I’ll bet that the number of people affected by their political involvement could fill up more than a few Lincoln Centers…
You are actually worrying about this?Nothing is perfect. Nothing is predictable in the future.Crazy successful people making public pledges to focus wealth on change is goodness.I just say–good stuff–and move on. And trust that others will follow.
You are actually worrying about this?Why use the word “worry”? He is not “worrying” he’s simply making a comment and being skeptical and asking questions. Nothing wrong with that. You don’t learn if you don’t question things.Crazy successful people making public pledges to focus wealth on change is goodness.”Goodness” is the things they actually do, not the things that they say they will do. Which is both my point and Jess’s point.
Actually no.Making this announcement and allocating funds is an action in itself.
Yes, and I think Steve Jobs did exactly the opposite if I remember correctly. Famously didn’t give anything to charity. (or infamously depending on your perspective)
He gave aonther type of charity. Steve Jobs was one of about ten in the past 50 years people around the world mourned at his death.
^10 Arnold. i am so with you on this
I do worry about this. It’s a structural issue and I play the long game.
I look at life as a zillion small steps. There is nothing more.I’ll take these steps and worry about the inevitable as it happens.We stumble forward and need to embrace the good stuff at the moment.I play the long game but celebrate each and every play.
Well, it takes all types i suppose. Those planning the road to hell and those paving the road to hell. Good intentions all around.
i of course understand your point of view Jess.I just can’t see this instance and this one:http://arnoldwaldstein.shar…as anything but goodness.This shit accelerates change.This is not blood money and whatever the alternative motives if any who cares.More good than not. More positive example than not.I’m all about being practical and this is good stuff any way I look at it.
“I play the long game but celebrate each and every play.”Love this line..
“I just say–good stuff–and move on.”With great power comes great scrutiny. That’s our obligation.
“…to focus wealth on change…”the nature of the change does need to be scrutinised on a case by case basis. the act of giving does not entitle the giver to a free pass to re engineer society in their own image.
.An LLC to hold assets means exactly what?If you study your Delaware law and see the unfettered ability to create wholly owned LLC babies at the flick of a pen, one understands why these potentially flow through conduits are an attractive way to limit liability, compartmentalize risk, and organize one’s affairs.They are completely reversible.JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...
That was my initial thought as well. The internet.org project was initially described as a plan to bring internet access to undeveloped countries. Sounded great until they announced that this “internet” would actually be a separate platform controlled by Facebook — a move to violate net neutrality, disguised as charitable giving.I’m suspect of whether this new initiative isn’t something similar.
GReat point. I forgot about internet.org.
A lot of yes to this. People don’t get rich in a vacuum, yet once they’re wealthy they get to use that wealth to exercise enormous influence strictly according to their own preferences.That’s not to take away from anyone’s philanthropic activities. More a comment on the system.
And do politicians behave any differently?
Obviously Zuck should have donated it to the IRS where it can do the most good.
Gee, for someone who rejects the notion of zero-sum-game, you seem to be limited to binary options.
I don’t think all wealthy people use money to exercise influence. Some do, most don’t.
Good point Mike but I wouldn’t count the influence before it’s hatched. (And agree with you on Gates as well..)They said:We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. So what they are essentially saying is that they will leave 1% of their fortune to their heirs. We are not talking about Sumner Redstone here (92 years old). We are talking about Zuckerberg (31 years) and Chan (30 years). Further to my point anything and everything can change over the course of 50 or 60 years or even 10. Nobody is going to do any follow up on this, obviously, and a “vow” is not a legal contract or implementation plan.  They can change their mind and there will be no press release on that event.This has gotten so much media play it’s ridiculous. And if it wasn’t for PR purposes then why the need to mention it juxtaposed against the birth of their daughter? It’s just to fend off blowback toward the 1% of the 1%. (PR could be for the public, the government, employees, vendors and so on..)That said I am not raining on the parade of his giving so much as getting a kick out of how much the media seems to be drooling over this. Zuck did give 100 million to Newark (results were not great is what I read) and he will give money obviously but this was clearly done for impact and PR. Saying for example 2% per year wouldn’t have much impact or get the PR play.
Yeah, the math on this is a bit absurd. What will 99% if his facebook shares be worth in 100 years. I am also assuming the Zuck will be some transhuman cyborg by then.
500 million (inflation adjusted) is a pretty pretty good inheritance
If the media blows this completely out of proportion for a few days/weeks/months…but the world gets a massive amount of investment to the tune of $45B+ into philanthropic work, I’m fine with that.
i was in a pitch yesterday. the potential donor said “does this work you do touch unions?, i don’t like unions” i said “yes, we are doing professional development for 5,000 unionized teachers” and then i went on to say that if you want to reach the 1.1mm students in the NYC school system, you have to work with the unions. I think we will close this one Mike. even big time philanthropy can be encouraged to see the world differently if you take the time to have the conversation
I hope you’re right.We need more people like you making sure we actually have the conversation.
it’s an absurd concentration of wealth. he should be ashamed to have amassed it in the first place.
One should never be ashamed for amassing obscene wealth, one should only be ashamed when that wealth is not put to good use. Moreover, our capitalist system created and ascribed Zuck’s wealth, not he himself. Hard to be critical of this initiative and his willingness to give back. Philanthropy is a worthy endeavor.
“obscene wealth” is my issue here. it creates obscene influence, and no one individual has the right to such influence.
Capitalism vs. socialism, no? A non level playing field is sad only to the extent the one’s at the top of the pyramid don’t feel a need to raise up the bottom.
i see blockchain technologies as the beginning of the foundation of the Fifth Estate, and the first four may eventually fall away as a consequence. a future that fuses capitalism and socialism together at the atomic level is more than likely.
You’re on fire today.
yes he should be ashamed for creating so much wealth for so many people that brings so much enjoyment to so many people. In 10 years. From his dorm room.SHAME ON HIM! SHAME! Why didn’t he go dig water holes in Egypt for 10 years!?!?!
And that little exchange right there is American politics in a nutshell 🙂
what he should have done was cap his personal wealth at a much earlier stage and initiated the redirection of the accumulating excess to endeavours what would by now be showing results. instead he’s locked away his wealth and denied society access to it for far too long, as has Buffet, Gates, et al. That is grossly inefficient and irresponsible.
Do you really think it’s sitting in a bin like Scrooge McDuck? LOL
not quite.where’s the limit of your personal wealth ambition? you must have a number, one beyond which you see no further definable benefit to yourself or your kin.
There is no limit. It’s not limited to what myself or my kin can benefit from. If I am creating wealth, I want to keep doing so as much as possible. Part of that process is having the means to do so. I’m glad Zuckerberg and Gates didn’t walk away as soon as they were “set for life”. Same with Ford, Elon Musk and George Washington.Wealth being controlled by people who respect it and know how to use it to create more wealth benefits us all.
Whoa. What? That’s some serious elitism right there, bro.
I stand by my statement. Some people are just FAR better at creating wealth than others. This is as obvious as saying that some people are far better at basketball or singing than others. Indisputable.I don’t want to restrict anyone from doing what they are great at. I want to enable others who wish to do so to do more. This is at the root of liberty…something I hold very dear.
Your version of liberty is directly proportionate to one’s personal wealth, according to your statement.
No it’s not. It’s directly proportionate to one’s ability to create, keep and spend one’s personal wealth as one sees fit.
Because one obtained one’s wealth in a vacuum, from nothing. A miracle!
Not from nothing; from mutually consensual activities and work, at least by the default assumptions. When those assumptions are violated we generally call the result “extortion”, “theft”, or similar.Whether or not those are justified assumptions is a different question, and it’s quite possible there’s room for disagreement there.
No, they did so through voluntary cooperation with others who were doing the same, and who should also be afforded the same liberties.
“Some people are just FAR better at creating wealth than others.”Agree – to a degree. There is a life lottery that exists in this world…and it’s as simple as where you are born. There are insanely smart, motivated entrepreneurs everywhere… but opportunity to build large businesses is most certainly not an equal playing field.
do the “all” have a say in this process, or is their role simply to accept the “benefits” they are presented with?
The “all” don’t have a say. That’s the point. The individual has a say. The individual has a choice of whether to accept the benefit or not. Individuals acting in their own self interest create markets, opportunities and create more wealth for more people. As Fred said in the last line of his post-what he is doing feels good to him. He is acting in his own self interest-but what he is doing is potentially benefitting a lot of people if they choose to take advantage of it. By them learning to code, they might benefit a lot more people. But, they shouldn’t be compelled by the “all”. They are compelled by what motivates them.
i see that we are heading in the direction of the social and economic ‘dictatorship’ of consensus as blockchain technologies take hold and re engineer our world. the centralised traditional institutions that have hitherto formed around wealth ‘creation’ do not allow the “all” to participate. they are largely excluded. statistics show that conclusively.my primary concern is that those with extreme wealth should not due to that single metric be the ones in society who get to dictate the direction of policy.
The block chain will enable more people to have opportunity. More opportunity means more chances to grow wealth by building value. Block chain has nothing to say about redistribution of wealth to make things “equal”. There are going to be a lot of people that make a lot of money building value on the block chain. Nothing wrong with that. It’s Coase Theorem on steroids.
Some people argue that the best (perhaps the only) way to reduce the political power of the wealthy is to restrict the role that the political process plays in our lives. If more decisions are left to the individual rather than being dictated by official policies, then this reduces the incentive for the wealthy to try to buy influence (and indeed reduces their very ability to do so.)The more power a political official has, the more well-placed people will find ways to tap into that power. (Whether you’re talking about well-funded donors, or simply the officials’ friends / influencers. Either way the influence is disproportionate and undesirable)
Everyone is just as entitled to participate as you from wherever you are, me from my office, or Zuck from his dorm room.Zuck’s idea ended up creating a lot of wealth for a lot of people… if memory serves, the guy who did artwork in their office became a millionaire from the stock.Get in the game… create what you want to exist! That’s the message I want to spread— enough with the messages of injustice and redistribution by force.
Isn’t this what the financial industry is supposed to be for? That is, helping people with more money than they know what to do with figure out what to do with all that cash? Given the job they’ve been doing of it lately, mind…As for putting a number to personal wealth ambitions, why would there be an arbitrary cutoff? Being cash flow negative isn’t exactly a great feeling regardless of how long you can burn it for, and never mind the restlessness from having to abstain from something you’ve demonstrated that you’re good at, that people already value.
what exact top wealth number is not an “absurd”? At what point should you be ashamed? Please, give us a number.
i wonder what the total human ‘created’ wealth of the planet divided by its total human population would come to?
With birth/death,changes in market value, it changes every day. I still want to know what an “absurd” number is. I want to know when people should be ashamed. What’s the number?
i’ll give you is a vision of how future society will arbitrate personal wealth excesses, the blockchain wealth consensus algorithm. this generation of the absurdly wealthy could be the last we see.
There is no such thing as absurd wealth. That’s a normative economic concept.
all i know is Fred is absurdly wealthy and should be ashamed 🙂
Love the action hate the phrase.”Give back” seems to imply something was taken in the first place, when the truth is it was created.A symptom of the zero-sum thinking that plagues society.
I never thought about it like that. “Giving back” subtly implies that we are receiving value from the act…that it gratifies the giver in some way, even if by settling a social debt. Nothing wrong with that, but just plain “giving” is a lot more powerful in some ways.
Actually it should be called “settling up.” No one gets rich in a vacuum. Wealth is not created. Resources are finite.
Ridiculous. Say there are 200 stones sitting over there. You decide to take it easy and sleep outside on the ground. I decide to learn stone-cutting and architecture, and then build a nice strong home. Have I not created wealth? Cmon.
These scenarios are never useful, because I could make one that disproves yours and on and on. Let’s say I’ve been smart about conserving my energy, and when I wake up I’m so full of strength that I slit your throat, destroy your home and build a community center. Have I created wealth then?There is one planet and a limited number of resources available from it. Energy is never created out of nothing. To say that one makes wealth out of thin air is what’s ridiculous.The idea of “growing the pie” is the biggest lie going.
That’s a dark, sick view of the world. No wonder liberalism is so obsessed with violently controlling others and their wealth. I take it you don’t believe in solar power? Lol
Solar power isn’t a thing to “believe” in. You conservatives think everything’s a religion (as long as we’re characterizing). It exists and it’s good. Still takes resources to build solar panels and storage cells, doesn’t it?We can do this all day. It’s SO easy for me.
Why is it good? Maybe because it creates energy from something outside of the Earth’s resources? Is the invention of solar power not the creation of wealth?What if I invent an engine that gets 1000 mpg? I’m getting you far more out of the same resource. No wealth created?
It is good because it pollutes the environment less and helps individuals get off the “grid.”By the way, the sun is not infinite.Your 1000 mpg engine would be great, but it still doesn’t *create* wealth. It simply consumes less of it. (Not to mention the wealth that will be lost by the oil companies.)I can think of only one thing that we do not know from where it comes when it’s created nor where it goes when it’s destroyed: the soul.
Seems to me like you two are arguing over the definition of wealth.I tend to side with Andy here on the “wealth is not, in fact, a conserved quantity” (unlike, say, energy in physics), and can therefore be created, destroyed, or both (the latter as in your example of destroying someone’s house to build a community center): “potential wealth” isn’t the same as wealth.
First: thank you for engaging in the debate with a good argument 🙂 I have to maintain, though, that wealth is derived from resources.I didn’t actually destroy the house, did I? I recycled it into a community center. And by doing anything with the stones, I have deprived someone else from using those stones to do something they think is more valuable with them.
How do you reconcile the explosion of wealth recently (historically speaking) with your “fixed-pie” vision of the world?
Here’s another, over a longer time-frame:
Which explosion of wealth? Where?
In the graph. Income per capita.
If we just printed enough money and handed it out to everyone who needed it, would the pie get bigger?
No, and agreed, wealth isn’t money. But it is a useful shorthand for wealth in the form of things we want, or need, or would be willing to sacrifice for: food, shelter, wisdom, purpose, et cetera. Mostly it’s a useful shorthand to the extent that people don’t just print money.
No, that would just lead to greater inflation. The graphs above & below are adjusted for inflation, so that the actual $ in circulation is taken out of the equation.
For some reason I’m not seeing the link to the graphs you provided :(Why is there inflation then? Is it because printed money only represents resources which have been exchanged at one time or another? (As @Telverayn:disqus points out.)
Hmm, troubling. If anyone else is NOT able to see the images I uploaded, please upvote Kirsten’s comment. I’ll try to find a link…
OK, here is a link to a page (scroll down a little) that includes some similar graphs http://ourworldindata.org/d…To answer your inflation question, money should be thought of as something that makes trading easier. That’s its main purpose. It’s value is only in the goods it can purchase. (Otherwise it’s only pieces of paper, which is what some countries find out when they try to get cute and print lots and lots of it.) If my private island economy consists of 50 coconuts and $50, then pretty soon the trading price per coconut will settle on $1 per coconut. The WEALTH is in the 50 coconuts, not in the 50 pieces of paper representing my currency. If I double my currency by printing 50 more pieces of paper, so there is $100 in circulation, then the price will quickly settle on 50 cents per coconut. (This = inflation) No new wealth is being created. But if I find a new coconut tree, or learn to fish, or start weaving necklaces that people want, then THIS creates wealth. the money part is irrelevant, it just makes it easier to trade.The way to create wealth is by making something people want. Turning something that people want a little into something that people want a lot is how to create lots of wealth. Repeating this lots of times in lots of different ways leads to wealth for everyone.
In my case, it shows up in your profile, but not in-thread here (I haven’t refreshed the page); similar issues with images others post. Likely a bandwidth-saving compromise on Disqus’ end.
the chart would look exactly the same adjusted for inflation. The amount of wealth created over the past 2 centuries is staggering and accelerating. It’s an amazing time to be alive.
Well, going by what you said, yes, you did “destroy” the house. And I’d say that yes, you destroyed wealth when you did that, and yes, you also created wealth when you built the community center (out of the remains of the house, apparently).But to take the point you were getting at, yes, the resources used to create wealth can be depleted. Might take some doing, but we’ve got a lot of people these days to do the doing.On the other hand, the universe is a big place still, and “finite” isn’t the same as “requiring immediate attention towards conservation” (not all resources deplete equally quickly).
who/what created the resources?
music? literature? Art? ……
ah these are expressions of the soul, no? nonetheless, there is, no doubt, a limit to how much of these can be created by any individual, even working at it full-time.
I have spent significant time in two of the most natural resource-rich countries in the world–Brazil and DRCongo–and can attest that a lack of resources is not what is holding these countries back.Unless you expand the definition of “resources” to include human institutions.
What, in your view, is holding them back?
Human institutions: access to education, rule of law / justice (including property rights & ability to self-direct) are the big ones. You could also add a whole list of human infrastructures that make entrepreneurship easier, but these will spring up over time if you can fix the first two (especially the second).I suppose “holding them back” isn’t really the right language. Better said they are “missing the things which could enable them to propel themselves forward”
My next question would have to be, why is there no access to education, no rule of law? Why are there no human infrastructures? Why haven’t the country’s resources been directed towards those things?I’m not quite sure the point that’s being made? Do you feel that Brazil and DRCongo’s conditions prove that wealth is created from nothing?
That’s a great question. My personal opinion is that there is confusion about where wealth comes from (since economics is unfortunately counter-intuitive) which leads to poor collective decision-making.For example, in both of these countries (but especially in DRCongo) there is a sense that jobs are created by the government, and therefore politicians support bloated government-run enterprises that employ ~10 times as many people as needed to do those jobs (not an exaggeration). Society loses because those other 9 people could be spending their time doing jobs that create wealth instead of collecting empty paychecks.But (and this is the key point) typical people aren’t demanding that their politicians create a stronger justice system and stronger property rights. Instead they are telling their politicians to focus on creating more government-sponsored jobs. …The point of this example was to say that, if you focus on natural resources, you would expect these countries to be among the richest in the world. But they are not. What’s missing is the right human institutions. The good news is that those institutions can be created. And if the local people can somehow adopt the right attitudes and elect the right politicians for a sustained time period, they will create the missing institutions, and wealth will be created. The pie will expand.
Smallpox vaccine– no wealth created there? Eliminate all the resources required to treat the disease and save millions of lives with one shot. “The sun is not infinite”…. So now we’ve gone from “The Earth’s resources are limited” to “The solar system’s resources are limited”…. because of the ideas from the mind of man. Amazing!The guilt must be incredible when you think of yourself as only capable of destruction and consumption. The self-loathing when a zero-summer looks in their closet and sees a full wardrobe that could be at that moment warming the bodies of hundreds of people she’s never interacted with. The zest for violent redistribution so overwhelming that your first example is this: “Let’s say I’ve been smart about conserving my energy, and when I wake up I’m so full of strength that I slit your throat, destroy your home and build a community center.”And you wonder why we value the 2nd amendment.
To deny that there is a finite amount of resources is simply faith based economics. Creating something out of nothing is called working a miracle.Wealth is derived from resources. And resources are finite. Period.Your psychological assessment of me is apparently a demonstration of your psychic abilities? More faith based debating? You have no idea what I’m feeling unless I tell you.Geez, Andy. Not EVERYTHING is about the 2nd amendment.Your straw men are cute and all, but I’m not buying. I’m debating honestly and you’re getting into silly characterizations of my psyche because your rhetoric is too weak.
The resources of the Universe are finite…. I may be able to agree with you there. I really don’t know.What I do know is that creating new methods for utilizing those resources in a more efficient manner so that more of the resource goes to human fulfillment rather than decay or unwanted heat dispersion is CREATING WEALTH.Your first example was one of killing me in order to take that which I created— I think that merits some evaluation.
My apologies. I know you would have preferred I shot you with my concealed weapon.I can’t do this all day. I have to go create wealth for my boss ;-)But you know I can counter this. If I had an infinite resource of time, I could counter your arguments all day.
Au contraire. A 1000 mpg engine would create a lot of wealth, and a lot of opportunity.
It wouldn’t take away profits from the oil companies?
Oil companies would still make a profit. I don’t know how much, but you can’t use static accounting to think about future profits based on innovation. Plenty of other industries would benefit from the producer surplus that a 1000mpg engine would generate. Not a zero sum game or fixed pie.
“Oil companies would still make a profit.” A smaller profit on that particular business. Or would it somehow be making the same profit by charging more for a resource no one needs anymore?Y’all’s devotion to miracle-based economics is admirable, but it cracks me up. You cannot make something from nothing.
Yes you can. Adele does it every time she steps on stage. That you can’t see it is shocking.
ha ha! well played 🙂 “Thank you, Adele.”
you created a home to live in.if you then build ten thousand homes and encourage banks to lend mortgages to people who can’t possibly afford to make the repayments and the financial system then collapses you created debt and instability and not wealth.
So now your stone house casts its huge shadow over the warm spot where we used to nap. Great.
the word give is a loving word, not a hating word
give is fantastic. Zuckerberg is “giving”. I disagree with the “back” part of the phrase. It, to me, implies that something was taken in the first place.
Good point, it’s not a Rebate
I understand (and mostly agree with) your point of view. But I don’t think that’s the intent behind the phrase, generally.Here the “back” I think refers to society at large (not to individuals claiming something was taken from them) and is a gesture of gratitude (not something that is owed).Similar to the way a successful entrepreneur might make a meaningful gift to their parents or university as an expression of appreciation for the supporting role they played in the journey. (Not out of a sense of obligation or duty to repay any debt)
I can buy into that Rob. I just don’t like the societal shift to “zero sum” where the phrase is “giving back” rather than simply “giving” or “charity”. I am an anti-PC crusader though, and tend to look into language shifts more than most.
During the last five years or so, I’ve moved from saying “giving back” to simply “giving”. Many people don’t feel they’ve gotten their fair due, and wait for the day to give back. That day often never comes, so people remain in “waiting to receive” mode for far too long if not forever. Instead, if we all took on an attitude of simply “giving”, the returns to all of us – including monetary in some instances – might be incredibly high. I tested it in 2014… every Monday was a day where I focused on giving, sometimes irrationally so. It was a great year… This post reminds me I need to get back on that program.
Interesting. Every Monday you gave something away?
Yeah..but I hear the following year was Take-back Tuesdays.
Similar to a comment I made. I like this idea a lot. Simply, giving. I’d like to think that I could be a more giving person without needing to focus on a particular day. But l understand that assigning a particular day is like a discipline, or exercise that strengthens a muscle so that we use it more regularly and effortlessly.
One of the greatest assets that we can use for the good of others is our power and influence.That’s what I think you are really giving.
From an African perspective, this reeks of naivety. That said, if MZ can help with the distribution of wealth in the developing world then he may just surprise everyone. So long as he doesn’t become a diplomatic-immunity-bearing-brand-new-car-driving-NGO muppet, then all the best to him and his young family.
Like the tag: hacking philanthropy.Another “industry” ripe for disruption and network effects.
Hey Fred.Thanks for making a donation to our campaign and also for spreading the word in your post today.The philanthropy that you and Joanne do is truly inspiring. It’s not just the amount and the individual causes but the approach and resulting impact is awesome.Btw I don’t understand the haters when it comes to Mark and Priscilla’s new foundation. Its amazing in size and spirit.
yeah, well you can get into the psyche by reading these comments. as much as i don’t get it either, i do appreciate the ability to at least understand where people are coming from, and maybe try to convince them to see things a bit differently.
The specific problem that many people have is that they are not willing to open their minds and understand why people think and say what they do. It becomes an automatic and instantaneous “that’s absurd you moron”.One of the things I like about AVC is that I get to read what others say that is so different than the way that I think. Which of course is based upon my unique life experiences and who raised me.
Btw I don’t understand the haters when it comes to Mark and Priscilla’s new foundation.Haters? Cynicism and skepticism is not hate. It’s merely questioning motives and potential actions and there is nothing wrong with that and in fact that is healthy in any community. Nobody should feel restricted in opening their mouth and saying something for fear of community blowback of “raining on a good parade”. That just gets you to a point of more conformity.
I don’t have any problem with people speaking up.I just said I didn’t get it.-bijan
Two most overused words of the decade Haters and Trools.
In the top 10 is “cybersquatter”.Cybersquatter definition: “Somebody who owns a domain that someone else want to buy that they won’t sell for a price that the buyer thinks is fair”. Similar to using “bitch” in describing a woman that won’t date a guy that asks her out who thinks she should.Similar in both cases:”You are not using it””You aren’t dating anyone else
I honestly don’t think there’s a lot of ‘hating’ going on here. There is a lot of thoughtful criticism in what we all consider to be a safe place to share challenging thoughts and ideas.
I should clarify.I don’t see a lot of hating in the AVC community and this thread.I see it on Twitter after the announcement was made.Apologies for the confusion.-bijan
OK, roger and thanks for that.Twitter: a great place to learn about viewpoints you didn’t know existed 😉
Manoj Bhargava is another great example of a CEO who rationally understands giving is a smarter option.
Most people don’t understand giving 99% of their wealth away. I don’t. And committing all that time (the rest of their lives) to the service of others is just as generous (if not way, way more than 45b to him). I believe in his vision. Technology will create the transparency required for the equality gains we desperately need. So proud to be a computer scientist.dukegeek.com
Agreed. We need more of the gates and zuckerbergs to work on projects where financial gain is not the primary motive.I happen to believe enabling travel opportunities is a big part of increasing the community of those who believe that. A trip to Africa led to the creation of the Gates Foundation. http://www.horizonapp.co/bl…
In the end, it’s not about the mega gift, it’s about widespread engagement … caring enough to contribute what you can, and work together for the good.
Last year I helped build a small casita for an old man that lives near my parents house in the Dominican Republic. https://www.generosity.com/… I ended up raising half the funds and over a course of the month that took to build it I managed to put aside a bit of cash and paid for the rest.Please take a moment to read Pablo’s story.I am trying to do the same for another old dear man of the community.https://life.indiegogo.com/…If you guys here at AVC feel like helping a bit, I would really appreciate any help.
Cool work you are doing.Have you seen New Story (newstorycharity.org) & Giveback Homes (givebackhomes.com)?
had not, will take a look.
I am glad that people with money have the freedom to do what they want with it. If they choose to give, they should give to causes they believe in. Doesn’t and shouldn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. Everyone wants to control how other people use their assets. I am glad Fred is giving his time, and treasure to an organization he believes in. I happen to agree with what he is doing (and wrote a check no thanks to the Mets).There are lots of incredible things people can do with their wealth, and their time. Who am I to judge. I don’t agree with all of them, that’s for certain. I will donate money and time to things that are against what they are doing-but neither of us are bad people because of it-unless it’s something that is truly hateful like the KKK or something like that.
.It’s the product of capitalism — the ability to direct the impact of one’s self-created wealth.It is also why making money should be applauded.You can do good works with it.JLM http://www.themusingsofthebigredca...
I don’t understand the attacks on people that are successful. The 1% or whatever. When I meet someone that is successful I try to learn why they were successful. What risks did they take? How did they view the world, and how has that changed? Spend some time with people from the Horatio Alger society. Really amazing people.
No question. Making people who did well suspect is total BS. Follow their path and see where it takes you. Lots of fears about people left behind and it often plays out the wrong way. It’s also part of our history that we go through periods of this.But the core problem remains that for the last 30 years moving ahead in American life is no longer simply entering the economic stream. It now entails more risk than most want to accept
all depends on how you look at, quantify, assume, and set yourself up to deal with the risk. In some ways it’s easier today and many ways tougher. I think back when we started the paths were already cleared so it was easier to see.
A lot of different threads in the comments. Lets not overlook a finite resource we are all constrained by, time. Fred said, “I spent most of yesterday raising money…” Cultivating relationships, asking, thanking, and engaging donors takes time!Sitting on the nonprofit management side, I spend a lot of time asking myself what is the best use of each director’s time? And what will constitute success? Fred’s post confirms my conclusion that meeting fundraising goals is half the equation and still buzzing about it in the morning is the other half.
If you serve on a lot of charity boards, get them to adopt this: http://www.streamlinksoftwa… Totally makes communication, coordination, and action a heckuva lot easier.
“Technology makes it easier to give back.”If a shameless plug is allowed: I’ve been trying to make it even easier by building an app that kind of combines an online flea market, and donating to charity. The idea is that you can give an item away, and the person who wants it has to pay by donating a certain amount to a charity of your choosing. If you want to learn more, check https://forwardapphq.com/We've just launched it in Denmark, and I hope it picks up. It’s only a spare time project, but I absolutely love the idea 🙂
it’s allowed. happens all the time. plug away.
We’ve been working on a similar model in the travel space. Donation based Couchsurfing… replacing/supplementing house gifts with donations back to the charities that made those stays possible (and we take a small service fee from those transactions). Think peace corps volunteers, fraternities, college alumni networks, religious orgs, etc.It’s what we call #travelbygiving: http://www.horizonapp.co/bl…
“Blinkered”, now there’s a word I don’t use every day.