Warren Buffett is my hero. Bill Gates too.

Yesterday, the legendary Warren Buffet announced he was giving most of his fortune away to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Doubling it from $30B-ish to $60B-ish. Yes, that B is for Billion.

I’m a big fan of this for several reasons.
1) Bill Gates is saving the world. Seriously. Whatever your feeling about Microsoft the company, it’s undeniable that the Foundation has done more good in the world than, well, than just about anything I can think of.
2) I’ve always been annoyed at celebrities and philanthropists starting their own charities all the time. We really don’t need the Fatboy Slim Illiteracy Foundation, there’s a hundred foundations out there already. I’m impressed that Buffett has so little ego, he realized his money would do more good combined with a pre-existing organization.
3) God bless these guys. Seriously.
4) They have the assets of a small country. They’re somewhere around #56, the size of Bangladesh. That’s just amazing. It’s also a dose of perspective to realize just how wealthy the USA really is. Almost three times as big as the next biggest economy (Japan). Take our two of our wealthiest citizens and their assets are larger than Vietnam, Costa Rica, Iceland and many others.
5) There’s an odd consequence of this trend (if it is a trend). Modern “Conservatives” are fond of the idea that public support for it’s poorer citizens isn’t needed, because private giving will make up the difference. And lo and behold, here are Gates and Buffet doing so much to help out. But the natural result of this trend is the very rich who have a heart will give away significant portions of their money. Who does that leave at the top of the heap? The jerks. The conservative viewpoint would naturally lead to a world where the worst people had the most. Interesting.

Update: Tapped brings up an interesting angle. As much money as this is, it’s not a lot compared to what the actual governments of the developed nations could do. Instead of Gates/Buffett picking up the slack, what if some of that money was devoted to influencing our government to appropriate some funds in the same ways? Could be exponentially more effective. That would be a special interest I could get behind.

Come to think of it, isn’t the route George Soros took, funding MoveOn.org and many other liberal democratic organizations?

2 thoughts on “Warren Buffett is my hero. Bill Gates too.”

  1. Thank goodness that private individuals can accumulate fortunes in our country. If the government through taxation were to take this money think of how it would be wasted. Private philanthropy used judiciously for “avant garde” purposes i.e. educational experiments. health initiaves,libraries (Carnegie) are a very efficient use of resources.
    On another topic have you thought of how pernicious the spell check progams are- they have undone seventy years of learning for me-I have now forgotten how to spell

  2. I have read some of your older blogs. So my response is somewhat tardy but that is what happens when you age. I am upset that two variables in pizza geography were overlooked – the square pizza. We can certainly decide BEFORE it is cut which is the inside portion and which the outside portion of the pizza and we have not considered thickness of the pizza. Business idea– make pizza pans with a big template on the cooking surface that says that this is the bottom of the pizza-that way for those people who might otherwise have a problem it would be easy to decide which side they should fiirst eat (see M Weinmeyr comment) but of course they cannot eat it too hot or else all the cheese etc will get on their clothes and not get into their mouth. I think that major universities should apply for grants to investigate this subject and that Larrt Summers should dedicate a sizrable area on the new Allston Harvard campus to theoretical and then applied research in this subject. Perhaps they might put up a building and have it sponsered by and named after Dominos- and they could give Dominos exclusive rights to all pizza pies whatever their geographical orientation-that are consumed at Harvard University. Boy would this scoop MIT. I think Muttrox should apply to run the institute and be free to hire all the experts he knows!

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