New York, NY, June 18, 2014 – Forbes Media announced today that on June 17, at the New York Public Library, the company hosted the third annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. With the goal of creating entrepreneurial solutions for education issues, particularly supporting America’s K-12 public schools and increasing access for girls in the developing world, the exclusive summit, supported by Royal Bank of Canada, Green Mountain GP Limited, and Alzheimer’s Association, brought together almost 200 of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and billionaires, including Warren Buffett, Chuck Feeney, Paul Tudor Jones, Michael Milken, Malala Yousafzai, Stephen Schwarzman, Laurene Powell Jobs, Arne Duncan, Peter G. Peterson, Leon Black, Jim Breyer, CEO and Co-founder of Teach for All Wendy Kopp, Governor Andrew Cuomo, J.B. Pritzker, Jeff Skoll, Sal Khan, Spanx Founder Sara Blakely, and Denis O’Brien.
“This was another outstanding Philanthropy Summit. From research on brain development to improving America’s public schools, the discussion around education was thoughtful and energizing,” said Mike Perlis, Forbes Media President and CEO. “We’re very pleased that we can leverage the power of the Forbes brand to convene some of today‘s most influential thought leaders and share their knowledge and ideas with the Forbes audience across all of our platforms.”
"Mr Forbes" is telling us the billionaires are fixing the world with charity and we should be so happy... They have so much money that they are giving some back to some of their chosen philanthropy to save the world — or part of it. And that we should not be cynical. Goody.
Now we have one simple thing to do is to analyse the roles of some billionaires in fucking up the world in the first place.
For example, some billionaires like Bill Gates give a lot of cash towards finding a cure to stop malaria. Good for him.
Some billionaires like the Koch brothers spend small fortunes to stop the science of global warming from spreading as if it was germs. Or consider Mr Murdoch, who will support Bush, Blair and Howard attacking Iraq, killing many people and resulting in a bad situation we have now— giving generously some of his time and advertorials to this ludicrous cause. Meanwhile, the Murdoch Institute in Melbourne is dedicated to saving lives... generously supported by his cash and his mum when she was alive.
In contrast, if my memory serves me right, when Kerry Packer gave a lot of cash to the RPA, he did not want his name on the new facility he financed.
For example, despite the Koch brothers having their name on a few facilities in Wichita, home of Koch Industries (a zoo exhibit, a YMCA, a basketball arena) in a city they’ve given millions to, there are sceptics about their "philanthropy" with intents beyond sheer altruism. Often philanthropy becomes a means to get exposure and your name in the paper for doing a good deed, which can help people think you're a good person while you're a rabid bastard or an ignoramus on other "issues".
Sponsors often get tax deductible benefits while their names are plastered on the press releases and some billboards... The Koch brothers are presently giving about $300 millions to support the republican party and skew the US media in its favour... This may not be considered charity, but political "donations" to a cause. Philanthropy it ain't.
Some billionaires use their fortune and charity as a foil to prevent "social" equity. Some billionaires make their fortune by employing people for slave wages (people who then need food stamps to survive) or by using sweat shops in third world countries, billionaires with their hands on their heart, firmly convinced that their actions are helping these poor bastards out of poverty — and with the ultimate excuse that if they did not do it, someone else would. Most billionaires use a skewed money market to increase their fortunes. And this is not going to improve in the favour of poor people with the secret world banking arrangement being set up.
Thus the world's billionaires are giving to charity and we are told we should be grateful for that. I am. It's a kind of voluntary tax-deductible taxation with an uplifting direction of the billionaires' choosing for the cash to flow to, but not always.
Mind you, many of the world billionaires use exquisite tax gymnastics and tax shelters as a means to increase their wealth, and their contribution to charity. Places like the Bahamas are not there to just look pretty like tarted up bitches with a beach in the sun. The billionaires, and their poor mates the multi-millionaires, channel a lot of cash out of taxable income via very astute "legal" schemes. For example, we all know Apple is paying little tax in the countries it operates in and is paying its sales staff peanuts as the staff is usually nerds and students enamoured with the product. We know it's a tough business world out there, thus one needs to maintain an image of clean underpants and make sure the staff is lean and hungry with an ideal in their pocket. One day you could be rich. Dream on baby...
"Catalytic philanthropy" as created by Bill Gates, makes usage of free market for some nifty social engineering via helping education, some medical research and other charitable enterprises — social enterprises that are often left rotting by governments because they don't collect enough taxes from the rich who cheat — or governments that are simply inept to understand their roles as providing a "level" playing field to minimise the free-enterprise exploitation of the poorest by the richest. Or is this exploitation a good thing?
For example the Ronald Mcdonald Houses could be considered a charitable enterprise that is fun while helping sick kiddies, but still lead many of them to the hamburgers, by association. Some bad mouth would say that the fast food industry and its relative the soda/cola industry are contributing to obesity and spiralling diabetes type two in kids as young as twelve. See the fat kid... And when we look at education, what subjects are studied?... Isn't there some religious charities that sponsor the "science" of creationism?
One should know from the onset that the real "non-profit" sector has long been moribund now and exists only at your local school fete, where sponsors are banned, are too stingy to give anonymously or don't know you exist. The "non-profit" sector now mostly provides "returns" for sponsors.
Under the weight of this generous philanthropy, the recipients often become more bells and whistles than hard and realistic thinkers. A lot of money could be wasted. I am a bit unfair here. In research there is always some crystal chandelier work that may or may not be wanted by the targeted people who now become mouth-piece for the associated donors.
Some charities spend a lot of cash printing glossy brochures to attract the richer donors with tinselly functions in which benefits are donated by other sponsors. It flows from one rich to another's pocket with a toll paid to save something. It does not mean that the solution to a particular problem will come from this charity, but the money will be counted and the donors will be advertised for their support and sponsorship. It can catch on and being a sponsor comes with glorious benefits that can be reinforced by advertising designed to lure more consumers to over-consume your products...
By contrast, the government has set ups designed to source real problems in a social context, but the nasty Abbott regime now cuts resources to the most desperate — say like cutting the legal aid to the Aborigines in prison who represents a large skewed proportion of the general prison population of Australia.
And "some" politicians use charity as a platform to aggrandise their career. More than banning "donations" from lobbyists which should be banned anyhow, I recommend that no politician should be involved in promoting charity.
Look, I know, what I am saying here could also appear wrong or cynical, but it's not. Politicians should only stick their neck out for public interest policies, including funding the CSIRO which the Abbott regime wants to decimate. Thus donations from politicians to charity should be "anonymous".
That the government of the day gives to some charitable organisation to help sort out some social problems is commendable but should not be used to promote a political viewpoint nor a politician's bicycle. For example we've got to remember the way John Howard only gave grants to "environmental" organisations that supported his ludicrous destructive policies.
This is why, in my view, we should be weary of the Pollie Pedal charity. Now tell me of at least one other politician who rides beside Tony Abbott in this charitable pedalling? None you can remember this minute without consulting Google... Abbott and his bicycle use the charity exposure in the media to promote Abbottself. As well, the media uses Abbott "charitable work" (for which Abbott sends the cost of appearance to the government, the cheapskate) to promote its self-righteous rabid ultra-right-wing media interests... Do you know which charity Pollie Pedal supports? Most of you won't know... but you would have heard of Tony Abbott's ability to wear bicycle clips and bright red underdacks on a beach. Do you know which sponsors are supporting Pollie Pedal? May be not... But is there conflicts of interest between sponsors and politicians? My word there is. For example pharmaceuticals often call the shots on the cost of medicare and the alliance with pollies on the charitable circuit is definitively a conflict of interests, even if there is no hanky-panky...
The Pommy Royal family uses charity as one of the pretexts to maintain its present existence. This is ludicrous. The Windsors can do as much good as they want, Royalty is still anachronistic in a modern society. It is a remnant of times past when traditions meant that peasants were peasants from the time they were born till the time they died — with a bit of fighting in idiotic wars — usually sparked by various conflicted royal houses and/or popes — in between.
The Abbott regime is trying to revive the concept of Royal Class as well as push for the destruction of social fairness under the pretence of "the end of the age of entitlement", while obviously "some" people, like his daughters, get entitlement-wise "lucky". Under these rapacious government policies, many people will end up in the gutter, while some will survive, by creating their own devious little schemes — akin to some billionaires' gymnastics, but on a miniature scale, bordering on racketeering.
There is a lot of "philanthropy" dedicated to cancer-cure research... Good. Many a lab rat will die from this philanthropy while on the other side, there will be some philanthropy designed to protect the rights of animals not to die in labs.
Overall, I am not disputing the role of philanthropy. I am disputing the clean image of using philanthropy to reduce governments' social responsibilities.
There are of course other issues. Imagine a private enterprise getting some philanthropic moneys to find a cure for a nasty disease. Should this cure be found, who gets the benefit and how is the cure marketed? Who gets the royalties from selling the cure? Or is the cure public domain since the sponsors got tax deductions? You fight this one out...
Disclaimer: Gus supports a few charities, but does not advertise which ones — except Amnesty International which deserves to be promoted.
And like god, Gus does not exist.