These days, it seems as if every newly minted billionaire follows a preordained set of rules; one major tenet of their philosophy is to start giving away some of their fortune. Author J.K. Rowling, for instance, crept down to millionaire status because she gave away so much money. Meanwhile, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have been setting the tone for what people can expect when it comes to philanthropy. With a focus on helping people in developing countries and beyond, these billionaires have been exceeding the highest expectations once held for them. In fact, Buffett plans to give away so much money that his own family doesn’t expect to see much of the spoils.
Now, with the power of the internet, it is possible for us to see just how much these billionaires are giving. We hear stories about large gifts to universities, as well as initiatives all across the planet. With “mega-donors” becoming more visible than ever before, though, some believe that the media’s constant hype is doing a disservice to those who need charitable funds. Some people have proposed that philanthropic programs should take the place of government subsidies, and this is where economists have been drawing the line.
Pointing out that the percentage of charitable giving of the GDP has remained the same for the past four decades, they also state that the so-called mega-donors only gave about $1.4 billion. While everyone agrees that philanthropists are helping to drive innovation, many are concerned that governments will begin to curtail their spending for those who need it most; experts in the field agree that this would be a mistake. In a world where many people are still struggling to make ends meet, this could cause serious problems.
With an increased focus on philanthropic causes, the hope is that governments will continue to provide the appropriate amount of assistance and work in tandem with charities in order to create a system that works for everyone. Although it is always good for billionaires and mega-donors to become involved with giving, people must recognize that there is a limit to which they can be expected to give. Just because people are giving, it doesn’t mean that governments should abandon the duty to care for their people.