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Generosity

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by daniel, May 22, 2012.

  1. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    When I worked at the homeless shelter, I saw a homeless guy give all the money he had in the world to another homeless guy. $5. Buffett and the Gates's have given away more money, and they are to be applauded for the example they set for other rich folks, but I measure generosity by the percentage of your wealth you give, and neither he nor they have ever come anywhere near the generosity of this homeless guy.

    Just saying...
     
  2. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I see your point, but to be fair, homeless or not, it's much easier to regain $5 than it is billions.
     
  3. JRod0802

    JRod0802 Member

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    I disagree. If you gave the homeless guy $50 billion, I doubt he'd be able to give it away as well as Bill gives it away. Bill is more generous because he donates his time to figure out who to give the money to, and is more effective at doing so. Would the homeless guy really work hard all day for years and years to give away money if he had it? Probably not. At best, he'd give it to Bill Gates, and ask him to deal with it.

    Note: I'm assuming that the homeless guy would be less effective at giving away money than Bill Gates. I have nothing against the homeless. I would probably also be less effective than Bill.
     
  4. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

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    I don't see much point in comparing the generosity of these individual people. There are a million factors that contribute to each individual's decision to give.

    I think the important thing to note here is momentous shift that has happened in our culture. For all of human history, riches were something to be hoarded. Whether a king or a Rockefeller, your primary goal was to build wealth and pass it down through the generations of your family. Not that there weren't generous kings or Rockefellers, but their generosity was usually inconsequential to their overal wealth, and was almost always of a local focus (libraries/museums and other monuments to themselves that would benefit their immediate friends/decedents).

    In our own lifetimes we have seen this idea turned on its head. The technophilanthropists of the modern era have breathed new life into the culture of the ultra-rich. Today, if you are fortunate enough to become that rich, you find a project to tackle. A big project, something that others may have deemed impossible or impractical. Whether it be making life multiplanetary, eradicating malaria, or a war on child hunger. A billionaire without a foundation is an old-school billionaire (and quite-frankly, a jerk).

    What an amazing force for good these men (and women) have become. With their resources (money, intelligence, networks) I doubt any problem plaguing humanity is safe. Buffet and Gates get a lot of the credit for effecting this change.

    In full disclosure, I'm not smart enough to come up with this view on my own. Suggested reading: Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
     
  5. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I think that's a bit unfair too. You can't call someone who doesn't freely give up what they worked to acquire a jerk. No where is it written that those with money should be forced to give it out. On top of that, we can't say that the philanthropists are completely selfless either. They likely get some sort of satisfaction from what they do (I mean, once you've bought and done everything, what else is there to do?) -- and if they take on something that changes the world and succeeds, they're also immortalized.
     
  6. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    PLus you have to consider the possibility that he was homeless because he kept giving everything away....
     
  7. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    You're quite right. He couldn't. And if he was rich he wouldn't spend the time that the Gates's or Buffet do figuring out where to give it most effectively. But he did give away all the money he had, which is not insignificant, and I bet if someone gave him $50B he'd give away a bigger chunk of it to other homeless folks than most philanthropists do.

    Well, it has been written. But we're free to agree or disagree. :biggrin:

    Actually, this guy was homeless because he was alcoholic, and so could not hold down a job, and like most of the homeless population, had no family to fall back on.
     
  8. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

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    Oh yeah, I don't disagree with you. I was commenting on how I think today's culture would view such a billionaire. I totally support the notion that nobody has to give up their hard earned money, even if they have more than they could ever need themselves. But I believe just as strongly that such a billionaire would be labeled a "jerk" by our society. Take Steve Jobs (who famously refused to take this very pledge) for instance.

    In Job's defense, I think that his being labeled a "jerk" is a bit unfair, I think he was charitable, just didn't believe in doing it publicly.
     
  9. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    heh, I think Jobs was indeed a jerk, but hey, it's his money. Agreed on how Society would perceive such a person... I still maintain it isn't right. Work to get your own, don't expect the next man to do for you. I should clarify that I 100% support the philanthropists and love what they're doing -- the private sector will be what moves us forward quicker than any governments could. I just don't like the notion that people might sneer at them for not sharing what's rightfully theirs.
     
  10. Citizen-T

    Citizen-T Active Member

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    AnOutsider, seems like we are in agreement.
     
  11. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    Being alcoholic is usually not a natural disaster (as far as I know), so this does not say anything about the cause.
     
  12. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Yes it is!! Its called the US Tax Code!
     
  13. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Well-played sir. Well-played.
     
  14. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    You had said that maybe he was homeless because he kept giving everything away. I pointed out that he was homeless because he was alcoholic. Not a natural disaster. I regard it as a mental illness in the addiction category. I was an alcoholic from my mid-teens to my mid-20's, so I know how hard it can be to quit. And even harder without supportive non-drinking friends and family.
     

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