Monday, June 26, 2006

The World's Richest Men Present Us With A Conundrum

I am sure you heard the news either yesterday evening or early this AM that Warren Buffet is giving a huge chunk of change to the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation. Here's the conundrum. Is it me, or does anyone else find it a bit odd that the world's second richest man is giving his cash to the world's richest man?

8 comments:

Ken Grandlund said...

I don't know- Buffet's comments make some sense...he want to be philanthropic, but isn't really cut out to do the handiwork. Therefore, he'll simply help fund an already established foundation he agrees with.

Despite the immeasurable wealth of these two men, that they are seeking to do good with the money, rather than pass it along to worthless heirs, is to me a good thing.

I say kudos to both Gates and Buffet. Now let's hope they follow through with their stated intentions.

pissed off patricia said...

I agree with Ken. At least the money is going somewhere where it can be used in a good way rather than some kids taking it and living large (think Paris Hilton)

Also I believe he trusts the Gates to do the right thing with the $$, I would.

enigma4ever said...

I too thought it was one of the oddest things I had heard- but it also shows an allinace to do the Right thing...and now if we could just give them a tour of the Katrina Zone- there is REAL work needed here...and now on our own shores- that is my only beef with the Gates Foundation....

Kvatch said...

Buffet's comments make some sense...he want to be philanthropic, but isn't really cut out to do the handiwork.

Nor does he have the time. The man is his...what...late seventies, right?

Anonymous said...


Behind every great fortune there's a crime

So it's okay to screw everyone as long as you give away your ill-gotten gains in the end?

Wouldn't it be better not to have exploited the many sources of the fortune, letting those poor(er) bastards make charitable contributions as they will, or provide their goods and services at fairer prices?

How much money must one accumulate before a guilty conscience makes its appearance? The fact is, if you're such a f**king greedy pig that you even have $1 billion, you're pathetic. And if you're praising these a**holes for giving away a portion of their fortune, you're part of the problem.

frstlymil said...

I listen to my father rant like Anonymous about this constantly. Some of it is professional jealousy - some is anger at the monopoly, etc.... Actually, any negatives one might think about someone building a software monopoly - is fine and dandy - he's doing good works with the money NOW, and it couldn't come at a better time and we say thank you. Are the folks at Haliburton giving money to charity? Is Paris Hilton? The Donald? They could, and they don't. Gates gave over 32 billion dollars to magnet school math and science programs in NY - something "No Child Left a Dime" can begin (nor tries) to approach. He has campaigned and monetarily contributed nationwide over better use of resources and education funding here in the U.S. - yes, for the reason that there are fewer and fewer employable people from our own country who excel in math and sciences that can compete with people better educated outside the U.S. Does this effect his own company? Sure, if there isn't anyone to hire from the U.S. he has to go elsewhere. He's actually doing something active about that. Is it self serving? To a point, yes. Is it also seeing a problem and contributing to providing a solution that serves everyone? Absolutely.

isabelita said...

Gates wants to eliminate diseases, which is fine. However, his foundation has not been focusing on giving all those souls he's saving food, water, a place to live, work, any kind of infrastructure. Family planning education and women's health choices will get shorter shrift since Buffett is now giving less moeny to his wife's foundation, which supported Planned Parenthood, women's healthcare, legal and safe abortions if necessary. Things that address global overpopulation, which people are not facing up to.
It was only this morning in the Seattle P-I, one of our morning papers, that the Gates Foundation people even started talking about how they had not addressed the infrastructure needs. They claim they will start to do so, but I am going to wait to see what the reports are from the areas they're supposedly serving.
Gatese and his wife are Catholics. I admit that I question the nobility of their saving all the pagan babies. Thus far they've been "saving" them into poverty.
As I said, I am waiting to see what happens with all this puported nobility.

Anonymous said...


At last, a conversation about money

Isabelita is rightly cynical, let's see what the Gates Foundation does before we heap praise on them. Foundations are required to spend a certain percentage of their endowment to remain foundations for tax purposes. But that doesn't prevent them from spending more, slowly or quickly putting themselves out of business. The new largess from Buffett, they could spend it all at once if they choose, if they thought it would cure a 'problem,' (the poor are always with us). But will they? Or is Bill moving to the Gates Foundation because that's where the money is?

Frstlymil's father is on point. Without working hard at investing, $1b will return $50m/yr invested in T-bills. Ted Turner said that is fairly easy to spend $1m/yr, and you could spend $2m/yr if you really worked at it. So what does one do with the other $48m/year?

''Money is like muck, not good except it be spread.'' - Francis Bacon.

Efficiency would seem to require that muck not be gathered into a pile. It's 'spread.' Leave it that way.