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How important is philanthropy?

09:26 UK time, Friday, 16 July 2010

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has said he will commit the majority of his estimated $13.5bn (£8.8bn) fortune to philanthropy after his death. Are we too dependent on philanthropists?

Mr Allen follows fellow co-founder Bill Gates in pledging billions of dollars to projects designed to help others.

In the UK, the government hopes charitable giving will help plug a funding gap of up to 30%, but it has emerged that some of the country's leading philanthropists have warned that such an ambition is overly optimistic.

Do you welcome the support of philanthropists or is it something we should be concerned about? Are we becoming over reliant on philanthropists?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    If we are just building monuments to someones ego then no we should not support philanthropy.

    How is this money going to be spent?

    Are we going to have some charitable 'foundation' with highly payed executives handing out baubles to the public?

    Are we going to get another un-elected, undemocratic non-government-agency (NGO) that is going to blight our lives. (I'm speaking here about greenpeace and WWFN who were responsible for a lot of the junk-science alarmism over global warming).

    I'm sorry if people think that by leaving a legacy they are doing something decent and good and it sounds like I'm not greatful. Its just that there are a lot of things governments SHOULD do, but do not want to raise the tax to pay for it, so they rely on generous benefactors.

    If it has to be done, then we, through government should do it.

    If someone has amassed such a fortune through their own efforts, should we not be questioning how they got their money. (I was told in 1985 the person who developed the main computer operating system would make an obscene amount of money, it seems they were right!)

  • Comment number 2.

    lOOKING FORWARDS TO SEEING HOW MANY hys REGULARS MANAGE TO GET ALL BITTER & TWISTED OR VICTIMISED OVER THIS ONES

  • Comment number 3.

    Paul Allen earned a good sum of money in his life time and it was well-deserved. He wishes to share his fortune. Many charities will benefit from his success. Others should join-in his generousity and philosophically match his donation.

  • Comment number 4.

    No matter what your views on the subject, the one thing ir should not be relied upon to do is fund public services which is exactly what this government is hoping for.

    If I were in a position to do so, I certainly wouldnt be letting the cretins get their hands on my money, I would be making sure it went to causes that did not get any government funding.

  • Comment number 5.

    'In the UK, the government hopes charitable giving will help plug a funding gap of up to 30%' - BBC
    We should not be relying on philanthropy at all. Any large amounts of money as suggested in the article should be above and beyond normal funding. If I were in a position to donate large amounts of money I would be far more inclined to do so if I felt this was additional money rather than money used to plug a hole that the government accepts is already there. If there is a percieved shortfall in charitable funding perhaps we ought to look at our overseas aid budget. I'm sure that the 850 millions recently given to India, a country with a space programme and nuclear capability could have been much better targetted either at home or in other parts of the world.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    If I answered this question I would be giving it away.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    Lucky Philanthropy. He is a Greek philosopher, right?

  • Comment number 10.

    All well & good this philanthropy,just so long as government uses it as an adjunct to funding society's needs,& not be tempted to regard it as a replacement source of money, & distribution of essential services.

    Time will tell??





  • Comment number 11.

    Somebody please put me out of my misery & make the compulsory stamp-collecting joke.

  • Comment number 12.

    As long as there remain philanthropists, governments will continue 'to duck'!

  • Comment number 13.

    For the landed inherited wealthy of the UK and our city public school slickers it is something to be avoided like the Plague.

    The US has always had an admirable history of philanthropy which unlike some less welcome imports has never made it's way across the pond!

  • Comment number 14.

    Of course it is better these people direct their wealth to good causes, far better that spending on drugs, etc or just leaving it all to their children which often ends in disaster. If they want a hospital or school named after them I have no problem with that. Unfortunately in UK we seem to be far less generous that the US and giving away the excess wealth

  • Comment number 15.

    Do those who support capitalism and charity at the same time not realise the evident contradiction?

    Capitalism has necessitated the need for charity because of its inherent inequality.

    I am not a socialist but i despair at the blindness of people to this issue.

  • Comment number 16.

    As long as it doesn't benefit the government in any way whatsoever I don't care.

  • Comment number 17.

    Seeing how that Mr Allen earned his fortune legitimately, it's up to him how he uses or disposes of it. At least he's doing something useful, not like the many overpaid English football players! Remember... There's no pockets in shrouds.

  • Comment number 18.

    I applaud him for his generosity and am sure the money will go towards making life a lot easier for a lot of people.

    Governments however, should not rely on this in any way. If a person wishes to give to a good cause, it is charity. If the government is responsible for funding a particular service/research, then they are responsible and are paid taxes for this purpose.

    Charity is an added extra not an alternative.

  • Comment number 19.

    Good for him.

    Perhaps some of the filthy brich over here should be thinking likewise, Buckingham Palace would raise enough to pay off some of the country's debts for example.....

  • Comment number 20.

    devilzadvacate1 wrote:
    I'm sure that the 850 millions recently given to India, a country with a space programme and nuclear capability could have been much better targetted either at home or in other parts of the world.


    It was £825 million spread over three years.
    That is the equivalent of less than £4.50 per UK resident per year.

    To put this into context; the UK government this year cancelled the NHS IT system project even though they had already spent £12 billion on it.
    The Ministry of Defence also paid £259 million for a fleet of Chinook helicopters in 2001 that they have been unable to put into front line service because they didn't buy the right software for them and then they spent millions of pounds more to refit them as transporters.

    If we’re going to cut out waste I’d start at home, the money we give to India provides education and healthcare to millions of children, I’d much rather it was spent on that than being wasted by inept politicians and civil servants on domestic projects that never even get close to being completed before they’re cancelled.

  • Comment number 21.

    I have not used the services provided by philanthropists. But I know of many who have used such funding as the Carnegie trust, which invests money in all sorts of areas then distributes its wealth to worthwhile projects including student funding.
    This is a wonderful thing. I cannot condemn people for doing this with their wealth as it helps many people get a good start in life as well as support other industries.
    These philanthropic investment groups could, and i stress could, be seen by many venture capitalists as sort of owning to much of a stake in the stock exchanges of the world and ergo could be seen as a threat to the more greedy members of the wealth owning minority elite. But by and large these wonderful funding organisations do splendid work in helping the world of man become a better place and are a positive influence on society and commerce.
    That should be enough.

  • Comment number 22.

    Philanthropy is something that seems to be sadly lacking in this country. Of course, I might just be missing the good works because of where I am.

    My own feeling is that any person who wishes to do good with their money should be encouraged. Also, because it IS their money, they should be able to choose for what good works it is used.

    I have a less than average salary and no savings to speak of, so I'm not in a position to by particularly philanthropic myself. However (pipe dream) if I won the Euromillions lottery I have often said that I would ensure my family's future comfort and then look at what good works I could achieve. Whether it's starting and funding a school in Africa or a hospital in Haiti or a Youth Club in Yovilton I would want to have control of how my money was being used, at least for a start to get the right direction. It's my money and my choice.

    So, in the same way, these people wish to do good, but it must be on their own terms, and we should applaud the sentiment of their philanthropy.

  • Comment number 23.

    9. At 11:40am on 16 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Lucky Philanthropy. He is a Greek philosopher, right?


    Do big words scare you?

  • Comment number 24.

    11. At 11:43am on 16 Jul 2010, Scamandrius wrote:
    Somebody please put me out of my misery & make the compulsory stamp-collecting joke.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I don't know about philanthropy, but philately will get you everywhere.

    You're welcome.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    23. At 12:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, Jim Sanders wrote:
    9. At 11:40am on 16 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Lucky Philanthropy. He is a Greek philosopher, right?

    Do big words scare you?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Only big foreign words, I think. Coming over here, filling up our sentences.....

  • Comment number 27.

    £8.8bn!

    He could pay off my mortgage just with the interest.

  • Comment number 28.

    Make no mistake if this government has it's way then most of us will be more dependant on the super rich handing out a little of their wealth. If you have lived in US you will be well aware of the constant appeals for help to cover medical costs. Here we do get many appeals as most treatment is paid for under NHS. We don't have the constant heart rending requests for assistance. We don't have the donation boxes in front of us all the time as you do over there. It is very upsetting, you either decide to give and feel happy but quite often you can't afford to do so and in these cases you have to refuse and feel bad. There is constantly the uncomfortable feeling of guilt when you decide to spend your money and not give help. In order to get treatment many US citizens have to grovel it's degrading and unpleasant for everyone. There is no way of knowing how genuine these appeals are and you have to develop a very sceptical attitude. It is most unpleasant, let's hope it never comes here, but I am fearful that the thin edge of the wedge has already started with this latest proposal to hand the health finacial decisions to GP's.

  • Comment number 29.

    As long as his Government doesn't get its hands on his fortune, I'll be happy.

  • Comment number 30.

    Mandelson said yeaterday on the Today Programme that he would be donating some of the proceeds from his memoirs. He refused to say what proportion, there's a surprise.

  • Comment number 31.

    Philanthropy is undoubtedly a good thing, but not something to be counted or relied upon.

    Fair enough - If I had billions, I'd probably do the same. There's far too much misanthropy knockin' about, in my opinion.

    Oh - Jim Sanders, number 23 - I think it's a fairly safe bet that Toad In The Hole was joking, to be honest.

  • Comment number 32.

    24. At 12:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, Mr Cholmondley-Warner wrote:
    11. At 11:43am on 16 Jul 2010, Scamandrius wrote:
    Somebody please put me out of my misery & make the compulsory stamp-collecting joke.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I don't know about philanthropy, but philately will get you everywhere.

    You're welcome.

    --

    That raised a smirk cheers.

    the old ones are the old ones...

  • Comment number 33.

    I have seen others who have donated massive sums only to end up destitute themselves because the tax man has a different set of opinions and books. I am sure he has good accountants - but I hope they are VERY careful

  • Comment number 34.

    A fortune of £8.8 billion earns around £1 million per day. Give 90% of it away and £880 million remains, or £100,000 a day - it's still an enormous amount of money. You can afford to be philanthropic, because it hasn't really hurt you one tiny little bit.
    And the taxman gets off your back.

  • Comment number 35.

    26. At 12:11pm on 16 Jul 2010, Mr Cholmondley-Warner wrote:
    23. At 12:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, Jim Sanders wrote:
    9. At 11:40am on 16 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Lucky Philanthropy. He is a Greek philosopher, right?

    Do big words scare you?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Only big foreign words, I think. Coming over here, filling up our sentences.....

    ----

    Keeping good ,honest indigenous words out of work...

  • Comment number 36.

    "
    23. At 12:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, Jim Sanders wrote:

    9. At 11:40am on 16 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Lucky Philanthropy. He is a Greek philosopher, right?


    Do big words scare you?
    "

    Not as much as your wife does!

  • Comment number 37.

    I think it's important that everyone should have a hobby that doesn't harm or offend others, and stamp collecting is a terrific example!

  • Comment number 38.

    In the US, philanthropists are part of the social fabric, from Carnegie through Rockafella, to Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

    Our philanthropists died out with the advent of socialist politics and the cradle to grave welfare state.

  • Comment number 39.

    Any extending of help to the needy is always good or a welcome event or step provided such charities are put into good use and not allow a negative cause to expand which shall do more harm to us than doing of any good to a particular person or a group of persons or to the Society as a whole. We must know that all the aids given to the underdeveloped Countries by the Developed Countries are or were put to mass misuse to see ourselves the present situation of the Globe. Under such circumstances, the offering of help by one to the others worked exactly opposite through taking of an active part in production of Black Money in everybody’s pocket to work against the entire of us.

    Accordingly such funds once extended by one to the other must be strictly monitored from disbursement to end use through various sources available in hand; not to allow these legitimate funds to go to Antisocial elements via valid official sources to allow underground forces become more powerful to do a destruction of us.


    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA, PhD)


  • Comment number 40.

    Why wait until you die? This guy has got so much money, he could do some good now and still be around to see the results.

  • Comment number 41.

    Nice move. Like Bill Gates, he's decided to use the money to help others, instead of squandering it on possessions, or leaving it to a cats home somewhere.

  • Comment number 42.

    Good on him. Actually there are loads of people who have done similiar things with their money, you just don't hear about them as the money involved is usually a lot less and the people involved do not shout it from the rooftops, because at the end of the day they are not doing it for the publicity.
    Indeed lots of people have set up various trusts over the years which continue to provide money to good causes. With a little research on the internet you will find thousands. The one that comes straight to my mind is the Rowntree Trust set up by Joseph Rowntree.

  • Comment number 43.

    13. At 11:44am on 16 Jul 2010, steve wrote:
    For the landed inherited wealthy of the UK and our city public school slickers it is something to be avoided like the Plague.

    The US has always had an admirable history of philanthropy which unlike some less welcome imports has never made it's way across the pond!

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Steve, you are so wrong. There are loads of people who have done the same thing in the UK now and over the years. They just do not publicise it, as for many that isn't the reason they do it.

  • Comment number 44.

    35. At 12:30pm on 16 Jul 2010, you wrote:
    26. At 12:11pm on 16 Jul 2010, Mr Cholmondley-Warner wrote:
    23. At 12:05pm on 16 Jul 2010, Jim Sanders wrote:
    9. At 11:40am on 16 Jul 2010, Toad In The Hole wrote:

    Lucky Philanthropy. He is a Greek philosopher, right?

    Do big words scare you?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Only big foreign words, I think. Coming over here, filling up our sentences.....

    ----

    Keeping good ,honest indigenous words out of work...

    ------

    Joking aside, if trends continue at their current rate 80% of English words will be Greek by a week next Thursday...

  • Comment number 45.

    Depressing comments once again!

    A man is giving away around 8bn to help poor people. As long as the money is correctly distributed this is an amazing thing. Not negative in any way shape or form

  • Comment number 46.

    The impact of the Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the many European foundations has been immense. They punch well above their weights. I am astonished at some of the neagative comments.......
    If Paul Allen's money can be applied in as effective a manner as it was accumulated, we can only say: Well done.

  • Comment number 47.

    15. At 11:46am on 16 Jul 2010, PaganInfiltrator wrote:
    Do those who support capitalism and charity at the same time not realise the evident contradiction?

    Capitalism has necessitated the need for charity because of its inherent inequality.

    I am not a socialist but i despair at the blindness of people to this issue.
    ........................................................................
    But surely you must see the gaping hole in your argument - the only reason these people are in a position to give large amounts of money away is because they live in a capitalist system. There are no philanthropists in a purely communist state because nobody acquires large amounts of wealth.

  • Comment number 48.

    Philanthropy contributes to closing gaps in our society but should not be a reason not to make society self-reliant.

  • Comment number 49.

    While admirable I just hope that there is some form of transparency and accountability as to how the proceeds will be spent. Many times we've witnessed money intended for good causes only to be either pocketed and/or spent away with reckless abandone.

  • Comment number 50.

    20. At 12:02pm on 16 Jul 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:
    devilzadvacate1 wrote:
    I'm sure that the 850 millions recently given to India, a country with a space programme and nuclear capability could have been much better targetted either at home or in other parts of the world.

    It was £825 million spread over three years.
    That is the equivalent of less than £4.50 per UK resident per year.

    To put this into context; the UK government this year cancelled the NHS IT system project even though they had already spent £12 billion on it.
    The Ministry of Defence also paid £259 million for a fleet of Chinook helicopters in 2001 that they have been unable to put into front line service because they didn't buy the right software for them and then they spent millions of pounds more to refit them as transporters.

    If we’re going to cut out waste I’d start at home, the money we give to India provides education and healthcare to millions of children, I’d much rather it was spent on that than being wasted by inept politicians and civil servants on domestic projects that never even get close to being completed before they’re cancelled.

    ........................................................................
    I agree totally with you - the point I was trying to make is that there are any number of good causes around the world that could benefit from the 825 million. I just feel that if India, as an example can afford a space programme and a nuclear capability it should not be for the UK taxpayer to finance their health care and education. I have no problem with children in India getting improved health care and no argument with us helping to fund it but arguably as a UK taxpayer I am actually funding Indias space programme; if they spent their own taxes on healthcare there would be need for us to do it and we could spend the money on more deserving cases.
    You are absolutely right about waste at home - if we could sort some of that out there would be no need for us to be asking the question in the first place.

  • Comment number 51.

    On November 15, 2009, Jody Patton, Paul Allen's sister announced that Paul Allen had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer. Not to be cruel or ungratious, but it’s a well-known fact that you can’t take “it” with you.
    Allen: “I want to announce that my philanthropic efforts will continue after my lifetime."
    So what are Allen’s philanthropic efforts?
    They encompass ventures such as
    - science fiction to private space travel,
    - mapping the brain
    - searching for extraterrestrial life
    - documentary film making.
    Allen maintains re global warming “I think everyone is scratching their heads”. He maintains that there are technological ideas that can be brought to bear that can make a difference?
    Is this one of the projects that will be funded after his death when the world so desperately needs accurate information now?
    Vulcan Productions makes Allen's feature films, documentaries and television programs, which are related to art and science. His current project, "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial". Allen's team at Vulcan is starting work on a series about human mentality and emotions.
    The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which he heads along with his sister, Jody Patton, gives away about $30 million a year.
    Allen considers his major achievements as a donor: modest grants to deserving community and arts institutions, work saving old-growth forests, the brain institute, and support for new children's educational initiatives.
    Does Allen give enough?
    Allen as the fifth richest American with $16 billion.
    Allen has given about $900M over the last decade through his foundation.
    Allen owns three yachts, one with a recording studio, a $12M yellow submarine, and two professional sports-teams.
    It's impossible to separate his philanthropy from his own personal interests. Allen gives away about $30M million/year..
    Paul Allen has chosen to give much more – when he no longer needs it.
    I have to wonder will this be more of the same, I mean the same causes?
    Would these be your causes; they are not mine.

  • Comment number 52.

    "
    40. At 12:38pm on 16 Jul 2010, Neil Probert wrote:

    Why wait until you die? This guy has got so much money, he could do some good now and still be around to see the results.
    "

    He's trying to buy his way into Heaven. He needs to given the way Microsoft conduct business.

  • Comment number 53.

    Any money donated by a wealthy individual for good causes should be welcomed. The only things I would be concerned about is if they seek some form of honour or provide for services which Governments should provide. It's a shame that there are posts who would question how people can make so much money it's called free agency some people's choices are either better or luckier and their effort may be more than other's what we encourage is that if we are better off to help our fellow man who are less well off. Again it isn't for Goveremnt to make that decision for us but we should have a society who would readily come to the aid of those who aren't as fortunate. Reecently Warren Buffet pledged £30bn of his $37bn fortune to Bill Gates foundation and some people (obviously green with envy) criticised him for keeping hold of 20% of his fortune. Wouldn't it be good just allow people the pleasure of handing something back to society?

  • Comment number 54.

    Philanthropy is welcome and is a must.One must earn wealth for the common benefit of the society of the universe.The job of philanthropy should be done in one's life time, not after death.One should see and derive satisfaction, what his/her money has done.Malnutrition and lack of educational opportunities are the chief maladies prevailing in Asia and Africa.Let the philanthropist adopt few villages in a contiguous area and impart education which will have long lasting effects.For this the funds be invested in the infrastructure which will bear testimony of the philanthropist.Most of the NGOs incur a major portion of the funds as administrative expenses.Governments are not very serious to arrest pilferage and corruption in the end use of funds.Let him/her devote time and energy to complete the basic task and further monitoring will not be a difficult task.Otherwise the goals may not be achieved.

  • Comment number 55.

    I never give to charity because I am saving up to be a philanthropist.

  • Comment number 56.

    Which is more important? An art Gallery or an 8 month hospital waiting list?

    Why should theatres, which provide entertainment, get our taxes when there are elderly people struggling to make ends meet?

    If people WANT to donate to "the arts" I have no problem with that but I'd prefer my taxes to go on things of more immediate benefit.

    So theatres are going to go under? Well a lot of other business have hit the wall too - should the gov't prop them all up, like it did the banks?

  • Comment number 57.

    Vastly wealthy people who donate to charity are redistributing that wealth in way that should benefit all. What does it matter if they are memorialising themselves.
    Having extra funds above those that governments provide is a good thing.

  • Comment number 58.

    "An old saying " dont know who said it? ,"PHILANTHROPY is giving back what you stolen, after your Dead"

  • Comment number 59.

    The trouble with all this money that gets donated to charities and to 'social projects' is that it never really seems to have a great impact on the people who struggle most.

    It is my belief that when a very wealthy person dies a percentage of their fortune should automatically go into a pot that then goes directly to people and families living below the poverty line...and no, I do not think it should go to lazy benefit scroungers, criminals and drug users/pushers, but a system could be set up to distribute it to honest, hard working and law abiding people who genuinly derserve a break.

    This is the only way we're ever really going to help those that need it most.

  • Comment number 60.

    Is there any danger of the HYS team ever letting us talk about the "NEWS" stories on the front page or are we deemed not adult enough?

  • Comment number 61.

    "At least he's doing something useful, not like the many overpaid English football players!"

    David James and other portsmouth players paid the groundstaffs wages out of their own pockets when the club went into administration, David Beckham has financed various projects to help children, Aaron Mokoena set up a charitable trust in his own country as have numerous other players.

    Just because everyone says they are overpaid idiots doesnt actually make it true!!

  • Comment number 62.

    By the very existence of charities and philanthropists, it is proof that the system of taxation and capitalism doesn't work. We can only be thankful that some of the super-rich feel they have more than enough money.

    Question is, why does Mr Allen feel he has to die before giving it all away.

  • Comment number 63.

    "1. At 10:42am on 16 Jul 2010, JohnH wrote:
    If we are just building monuments to someones ego then no we should not support philanthropy.

    ...

    Are we going to have some charitable 'foundation' with highly payed executives handing out baubles to the public?"

    The man has just offered several billion pounds to charity and you're moaning about it. I despair, I really do. When you sell your house and all your assets and give the money to charity, then you have the right to moan, not before.

    He's doing more than most of the celebrity millionaire charity activists (I'm thinking of Bono, a man who can lecture us on charity while being obscenely rich, here).

    If you're interested in the government doing more, then they should chase people who talk the talk on charity while paying close to zero tax. That grinning, bearded publicity seeker, for example. You know who I mean.

  • Comment number 64.

    The money will go to make the rich, richer.

    The secret millionaire is a favourite TV programme of mine, how about an upgrade to the secret billionaire.

    I would like to see for instance a whole block of apartments donated by someone where there has been a natural disaster, maybe shops, farm equipment even industry. Don't give someone else the money to do something with, as it will go into their account less 15%, then someone elses less 15% and so on and on until there is nothing left.

    Why not charter a few aircraft and ships, invite the unemployed to a free working holiday in an area of need.

  • Comment number 65.

    Charities often have to spend a lot of effort on keeping their donors happy. As soon as there is the slightest suspicion that they waste money their donors walk away. And that often means that they have to support a multitude of projects, and that they cannot organise them very well. Because every penny spent on ‘admin’ is seen as a waste. And therefore a lot of worthy projects that rely on charitable funding simply don’t get done.

    Wealthy individuals like Paul Allen don’t have that problem. They can really focus on a particular problem and get it sorted, whatever it takes. They have to worry far less about public opinion. If they need to hire an administrator to make it happen they can hire an administrator. If they need to do business with someone whose late uncle was good mates with the previous dictator they can also do that. They can make sure that their money IS effective, without worrying about whether it APPEARS affective.

    But it means that these individuals need to get personally involved. Just writing a cheque to Unicef or the Red Cross is a nice gesture, and it will certainly do good, but in the grand scheme of things it is not really going to change things.

  • Comment number 66.

    #30. At 12:22pm on 16 Jul 2010, Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    Mandelson said yeaterday on the Today Programme that he would be donating some of the proceeds from his memoirs. He refused to say what proportion, there's a surprise.

    --------------------------------------------

    Why should he divulge what proportion of his proceeds he will be donating. Any money he makes from his memoirs should be spent however he wants, just like any other politian/celebrity has done in the past. The mere fact that he is going donate some of his proceeds (however big or small) makes him go up a notch in my estimation.

    Philanthropy should be encouraged but never relied upon.

  • Comment number 67.

    Philanthrophy is fantastic because to whom much is given, much is expected. The wealthy have been blessed and if they donate to Charities and give for Philanthrophic reasons, it is a good thing and God bless them for doing that as they are not obliged. Most importantly, I believe they need to come together with others in order to make the difference that will be significant to develop society and complement govt efforts as it is clear govts alone can't do it. It isn't about them giving their money or part of their wealth to govt as we all know that govts can be wasteful and so long as they are using other peoples money, they might not make the right decisions. It's about philanthropists joining together with other philanthropists to address some of societal issues in every part of the world/globe where they are needed most. Take for example Bill Gates Foundation that is doing great works on vaccines, eradication of diseases, infant and adult mortality by addressing the causes etc, providing drugs and building hospitals in deprived areas where they will not otherwise have access to drugs, treatment, schools so everyone can be literate and taught to help themselves etc, clean water supply, housing and shelter. Just the basics of life for every human being. Their efforts would be to complement the efforts of govts.

  • Comment number 68.

    This discussion ranks up there with 'what would you do if you won the lottery'! Who cares what the guy does with his money. On the grand scale (or the US scale) his fortune is peanuts. Many times this amount is being dispensed each day in individual pound/dollar (or less) donations across the globe. A one off windfall may have a momentary impact (for good or bad) it's the march of society towards a poverty-less norm that is important. Mind you Paul, I have this great idea for wind resistant wigs...

  • Comment number 69.

    Sorry to be cynical - how much is he keeping?

  • Comment number 70.

    As long as it arrives somewhere where it is actually required (although clearly it is up to him as to where the money goes). With the agreement of the syndicate I cashed in monies we had made on lottery wins and sent them to the Tsunami 2004 appeal - only to find out months later that nothing much seemed to be happening as far as assisting the most needy was concerned, but hotels were being constructed where their homes had been.

    But good for him, well done.

  • Comment number 71.

    Oh how I wish I was wealthy enough to be one --------- let me see Help for Heros, SSAFA and Children in need are the ones I would help and I suspect im not alone.

  • Comment number 72.

    #47 "But surely you must see the gaping hole in your argument - the only reason these people are in a position to give large amounts of money away is because they live in a capitalist system. There are no philanthropists in a purely communist state because nobody acquires large amounts of wealth."

    the only gaping hole is the gap between rich and poor. The only reason they can give large amounts of money away is because the capitalist system enables them to have so much money they dont know what to do with it. In the meantime indian kids scavenge from landfill sites and are gratefull to get 15p a day to make trainers. Money attracts money and if you haven't got any you will be very lucky if you ever do.

  • Comment number 73.

    So the high price of Microsoft products is really just a kind of philanthropic tax.
    And some mean minded people thought it was about greed!

  • Comment number 74.

    34. At 12:30pm on 16 Jul 2010, Philip wrote:

    A fortune of £8.8 billion earns around £1 million per day. Give 90% of it away and £880 million remains, or £100,000 a day - it's still an enormous amount of money. You can afford to be philanthropic, because it hasn't really hurt you one tiny little bit.

    "Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny.

    "Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.'"

    Mark 12:41-44 (New International Version)

  • Comment number 75.

    Philanthropy has had a crucial role to play in the UK in the past and has led to the creation of some very worthwhile institutions - Barnados childrens' charity, for example.

    Just a thought: perhaps all the super-rich of the UK could use any philanthropic tendencies they might have to put their money into helping plug the structural deficit? Then the con-dems wouldn't then have to savage our public services and there would be less need for philanthropists during our 'years of austerity'.

  • Comment number 76.

    I would like to see more (very, very) rich people doing this especially those that inherited their fortunes rather than people who earn it as Mr Allen did.

    I do think the rich already contribute more than their fair share through taxation (well those that actually pay tax and don’t use loopholes) and that the government would have more than enough if they could just stop wasting money.

    The sad truth seems to be the more a person has the less they like to share (I'm thinking specially of British Lords, Saudi Royalty, African dictators etc).

  • Comment number 77.

    Of course it's kind that people donate their wealth to charity but let's be realistic - NO ONE should be worth this kind of money in the first place. The fact people can amass this kind of wealth when we have people hungry and homeless in ALL countries is a disgrace and shows our priorities are screwed up.

  • Comment number 78.

    It is his money and can do with as he pleases, if he gives the money away himself now before he dies he can direct it to causes he belives in, if he were to die with the money the Government Tax man would seize the money, steal a portion of it, and squander the rest away on freeloadees and political opportunists.

  • Comment number 79.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 80.

    I've got no problem with accepting any sums donated by anyone for whatever reason, however these legacies should not be used for projects which should be paid for out of general taxation. National lottery money has been used for these purposes in the past, and the good causes have suffered as a result.

  • Comment number 81.

    Phil and Thropy are not Greek, they are Argentinian Gays recently married.

  • Comment number 82.

    Philanthropy can take many forms, not just financial.

    It's equally important to be aware of those around you in your everyday life? They could be a stranger, someone you know nearby, or someone you work with?

    Tiny acts of kindness; exchanging a smile with an elderly person in a queue; saying 'thank you', (from both genders), when someone holds a door for you - letting someone out in a traffic queue and gritting your teeth when they don't acknowledge it in any way (!!)- to name a few?

    Finally, giving your time - something never earned, finite and unrecoverable - a form of philanthropy impossible to measure - our family and friends know they could do better?



  • Comment number 83.

    Although these people need to be applauded it should be remembered that it is the everyday person who probably gives or does the most for charities and it is this funding that the government cuts threaten most.

    The headline in my local paper yesterday was ‘Hospice shocked at charity donation slump’ and there will be more where that came from.

    As for cancer charities I do question whether drug firms are getting rich on the back of research funded by these charities whilst cancer sufferers themselves are denied drugs because they are too expensive.

  • Comment number 84.

    I'm happy that Paul Allen's decision to bequeath most of his money after his death will help a lot of people, but am I the only one who feels that the grander gesture would have been to bequeath most of it now, while he's still alive? After all, after the first billion, how much more do you need?

  • Comment number 85.

    In the US and other countries, charitable donations are tax deductible. The rich(and private corporations) can fund their pet projects and reduce their tax liability at the same time.
    None of this precludes state funding for the arts.

  • Comment number 86.

    Why, am I getting some? Oh goody!

  • Comment number 87.

    #51. At 1:04pm on 16 Jul 2010, BluesBerry wrote:
    On November 15, 2009, Jody Patton, Paul Allen's sister announced that Paul Allen had been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer. Not to be cruel or ungratious, but it’s a well-known fact that you can’t take “it” with you.
    Allen: “I want to announce that my philanthropic efforts will continue after my lifetime."
    So what are Allen’s philanthropic efforts?
    They encompass ventures such as
    - science fiction to private space travel,
    - mapping the brain
    - searching for extraterrestrial life
    - documentary film making.
    etc etc etc
    Paul Allen has chosen to give much more – when he no longer needs it.
    I have to wonder will this be more of the same, I mean the same causes?
    Would these be your causes; they are not mine.

    ---------------------------------------------------

    They probably seem like good causes to those who are receiving his generousity. And, just because you do not agree with whom he is giving his money doesn't mean he shouldn't continue to do so. Any philanthropist has the right to give their donations to whatever cause/charity they wish - even if one disagrees with their decision, after all it is their money, and as far as I am concerned - good on them! People with excessive amounts of wealth should be encouraged to help others with their donations, but it should never become compulsory.

  • Comment number 88.

    It’s a very decent thing for him to do. Thank you Mr Allen.
    My only concern is that the guys who got super rich through MS also got complacent. This company's software was ground-breaking in the early days; it showed the world the way forward. Now it’s a bug ridden nightmare that can spend more time uploading repairs and security patches than doing what users want it for in the first place.
    The bigger you are; the harder you fall!

  • Comment number 89.

    I would not give any money away. I would rather spend it all.

  • Comment number 90.

    The fact that any human being is worth that amount of money is an obscenity. However, at least this guy has the decency to realise this and give some of it away.
    In an ideal world we wouldn't need charities, but this not an ideal world, and is dominated by greed

  • Comment number 91.

    I wish he`d throw some my way.

  • Comment number 92.

    If he shared the money with others while he is alive, he might make a lot of people happy and even be a bit happier himself.
    Philanthropy is the dead trying to stay in control, so wouldn't it be preferable for its charitable doners to occupy the land of the living while they can still do so.

  • Comment number 93.

    People seem to prefer misanthropy judging by what I've read above.

  • Comment number 94.

    Yes; I wellcome all charitable giving, and celebrate all philanthropists..
    (I'm also pleased to disapoint commentor, NO: 2 Scamandrius,. Who it seems just enjoys, to see people get upset...).
    However, philanthropy, should help society, not be used to plug the gaps. We should not need to wait hoping for rich men to die so that we might get their money given to us.

    We need a big sosiety, where we built hospitals, when and where we needed them. We need a big society, all people young and old rich and poor, feel they have a place in society, and we should always be working for that not waiting for rich men to die...

  • Comment number 95.

    45. Jason_Overthinker wrote:
    Depressing comments once again!

    A man is giving away around 8bn to help poor people. As long as the money is correctly distributed this is an amazing thing. Not negative in any way shape or form
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    I seem to remember in the 1980's that Robert 'Capt'n Bob' Maxwell made a similar announcement that he was giving away all his 'hard-earned' (sic) fortune to worthy causes.

    I may have lived too long, but to be honest if I had so much money that I had more than enough to leave to my kids I hope I would donate it anonymously and quitely. To make a loud public pronouncement about it smacks of self-promotion and a desire to be thought of as magnanimous, which was exactly Capt'n Bob's intention.

    The problem with these bequests is that no matter how much is being given, and £8.8 billion is a lot, in the grand scheme of things it's not Big Money. There was a documentry on TV a year or so ago about an obscure charity, run by a couple of elderly women in the midlands. They had a fund of £30 million, which must have sounded like a lot when it was left by it's benefactor, but I and the general public had never heard of them.

    And to all those who go on about how in the USA they are very philanthropic I am reminded of a quote by Bill Bryson, that people in New York go to Calcutta to get away from beggers.

  • Comment number 96.

    I'm all for the redistribution of wealth so no complaints here.

  • Comment number 97.

    Personally, yes we are. The Government won't always have rich people such as these to donate money towards their causes. They should try and stick with their own money. What if, all of a sudden, the next day, Paul Allen changed his mind?? The Government should be in charge of making the country rich, and it's public as a whole should be the ones donating to charities. I don't understand. Latest phone, console or whatever comes out, EVERYONE buys it. £1 is needed for a sponsorship or for a charity, and all of a sudden "I don't have anything in my pocket,". A bit daft, no?

  • Comment number 98.

    There are several posts complaining that by waiting until he is dead, the tax man will get a share.

    Perhaps you should consider the fact that maybe this is one man willing to pay his taxes instead of running away from them.

    If more rich people paid their taxes perhaps the governments of the world wouldn't be in such a mess right now.

  • Comment number 99.

    95. At 2:37pm on 16 Jul 2010, JohnH wrote:

    And to all those who go on about how in the USA they are very philanthropic I am reminded of a quote by Bill Bryson, that people in New York go to Calcutta to get away from beggers.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Jay Leno is another who has provided some good sound-bites on the subject. "Americans like everyone to know how much good work they are doing anonymously!"

  • Comment number 100.

    Philanthropy can only be good.

 

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