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Who would you give your money to?

20:34 UK time, Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Thirty-eight US billionaires have pledged at least 50% of their wealth to charity through a campaign started by investor Warren Buffet and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. If you were a billionaire who would you donate your money to?

The campaign called "The Giving Pledge" was started in June to convince US billionaires to give away at least half of their fortunes either during their lifetimes or after their deaths.

"We've really just started but already we've had a terrific response," Mr Buffett said.

The billionaires include New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, CNN founder Ted Turner and film producer George Lucas.

Should billionaires feel morally obligated to give money? What impact will giving money have on charities? Do you give money to charity? Are you a charity worker? If so, what is your reaction?

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

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Who would you give your money to? Future me.

  • Comment number 2.

    I would give my money to help injured soldiers & their families & carers. I would also give my money to provide adequate respite care for disabled people to enable their carers to have a break.

  • Comment number 3.

    What's the point in having a billion or more in wealth? Surely any half intelligent sentient being would recognise that having this level of wealth (or much less come to that) creates an obligation to think about wider society, how you have obtained that wealth and your obligation to do something worthwhile with it (like Carnegie, Cadbury, Rowntree, Gates, Buffet and the other great philantrophists). The only alternative is a pointless and vacuous life of self gratifying consumerism; surely that can only bring satisfaction to those with minimal cognitive powers?

  • Comment number 4.

    I give my money to me as I have very little to live on like many people how many billionaires do I know none but I will give them my address if they wish to send me a few thousand dollars. Any money they give they get back in taxes and it will not get them into heaven any quicker than anyone else. Why allow the media to make a big deal out of it its to much many anyway and the one that has made it sees it different than the kids who get to really spend it. Money is nothing it what you do with it so give it all away those rich people spend it on others and be generous about it after all you can not take it with you when you go and maybe someone will remember you for soemthing else and not just for being rich.

  • Comment number 5.

    If they paid it as voluntary tax then democratically chosen governments could use it in accordance with the apparent will of the people rather than see it going on pet projects.

  • Comment number 6.

    I am already donating a significant proportion of my wealth to the banks thanks to Gordon Brown.

    Stuff charity.

  • Comment number 7.

    I think this is really mrvellous....

    There are many things associated with the acquisition of vast sums of money (seemingly at the expense of all other vlaues) that I intensely dislike here...

    The feeling that seven days a week, twenty four hours a day someone is desperately trying to SELL me something !

    However, when it comes to this kind of philanthropy - something no other nation provides - I am intensely proud of this great country I recently became a citizen of...

    Chris

  • Comment number 8.

    As a live billionaire, the very first thing I would do is leave this country!!
    I would then help as many of the victims of UK governments as much as I could, but from afar. Victims of the UK's appalling justice (sic) system who have no redress just because they are poor would get help with legal fees. The poverty-stricken children - yes, British children - would benefit from having at least a decent meal every day. Finally, I would ensure that no British child went to bed frightened or unloved. I would do that by sponsoring a private social service - highly skilled and motivated people who would be only concerned with child welfare, and not how easy a time and how politically correct their actions are.

  • Comment number 9.

    With the disclosure of profits made by banks recently it is obvious that these billionaires are even more obscenely wealthy than we could ever imagine. We are supposed to admire their noble gestures, giving half their vast wealth to charity.

    To begin with charity should not need to exist.
    No single person should ever have such disgusting wealth.
    Both banks and people who have over one hundred million should be taxed at 75 per cent and that money channelled to money anywhere that it is needed. It should be a global pot. We are one world.

  • Comment number 10.

    Who would you give your money to?
    I'd give my money to persons who want to train or retrain in occupational demand areas, but cannot afford to do so. This would be like teaching a person to fish so that he & his loved ones need never go hungry again.
    As for 38 US billionaires, I can't comment without seeing their letters of intent and the rationale behind the intent, but having said that the premise seems beneficial.
    I'd want to start giving my money while I was still alive because I'm just selfish enough to want to see my money in action, but then again I also believe in reincarnation; so, maybe I'd benefit myself.
    Should billionaires feel morally obligated to give money?
    Yes, because whether they concede the fact or not they have been especially blessed. You know the old saying, "There but for the grace of God go I."?
    Seeing that the US has roughly 400 billionaires and about 40% of the world’s total wealth, perhaps they could do something about addressing this inequity. I'm sure the United Nations could provide many ideas.

  • Comment number 11.

    This is a great move but at the same time will these people keep their workforces on the breadline in order to massage their egos?

  • Comment number 12.

    2. At 9:12pm on 04 Aug 2010, Queen_Becci_B wrote:
    "I would give my money to help injured soldiers & their families & carers"

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


    You have got to be kidding. The world is full of starving, dying, war injured children; disease, poverty, injustice, near-slavery....and you would give it to people who signed up to take part in military exercises?

  • Comment number 13.

    the list could be long
    *) In providing clean drinking water to the entire world population
    *) In providing education (to the extent of being able to read/write) to the entire world population
    *) In curing children (born to less fortunate parents) with serious congenital deficiencies
    *) In providing basic medical facilities to the most under-developed areas of the world
    *) In making every child smile (whatever it takes) until they are 10

  • Comment number 14.

    9. At 9:33pm on 04 Aug 2010, Brian M wrote:
    "With the disclosure of profits made by banks recently it is obvious that these billionaires are even more obscenely wealthy than we could ever imagine. We are supposed to admire their noble gestures, giving half their vast wealth to charity.

    To begin with charity should not need to exist.
    No single person should ever have such disgusting wealth.
    Both banks and people who have over one hundred million should be taxed at 75 per cent and that money channelled to money anywhere that it is needed. It should be a global pot. We are one world."


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

    Almost Absolutely spot on! And 75% isn't NEARLY enough. And if they don't come up with the 90% I would tax them I'd put them all in jail and seize all their assets

  • Comment number 15.

    if these people stopped ripping us off with their over priced products and services and paid people decent wages in the developing world then they would not be so obscenely wealthy and much of this charity would be unnecessary. their greed is matched only by their egos. crass in the extreme.

  • Comment number 16.

    I would just give it back to the people I exploited

  • Comment number 17.

    Bankers.

    They've had a really tough 24months or so.

  • Comment number 18.

    I would donate half to cancer research & half to childrens charities.

  • Comment number 19.

    Billionaires' charity serves many deserving people. Hospitals, universities, orphanages, cancer societies, food banks, and shelters need money. If a billionaire could give a billion dollars than the average person could donate one hundred dollars.

  • Comment number 20.

    How about giving i back to the people they took it from? There's no way they could have earned such fortunes.
    Peter D South Carolina

  • Comment number 21.

    A billionaire who has amassed a fortune by whatever means gives half a billon to charity when they die.

    An ordinary person gives 50% of their modest estate to charity.

    Who is the bigger philantropist?

  • Comment number 22.

    8. At 9:33pm on 04 Aug 2010, UKcerberus wrote:
    As a live billionaire, the very first thing I would do is leave this country!!
    ------------------------------------

    Intersting that even though you are (presumably) not yet a billionaire your very first reaction would be to protect your money from UK taxation by leaving and then interfere in the running of the country from abroad.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm with Eddy from Waring and Brian M on this one. The wealth they are 'giving away' was stolen in the first place in a social and economic process which has seen the rich get richer and the poor, poorer. Interestingly, this results, at least partly, from a mass process of privatisation, whilst at the same time contributing to that process as they usurp the proper function of government with their privatised 'welfare' funds. After all, who needs government when we have Bill Gates and his chums?

  • Comment number 24.

    In the US all contributions to any charity are 100% tax deductible. So, if you earn $100,00 per year and give $5,000 to your church (say) then your taxable earnings, before another deductions, are $95,000.

    Makes a lot of sense and makes charitable contributions very tax effective - unlike the convoluted scheme in the UK.

  • Comment number 25.

    That people are giving is great ... BUT many are giving to their own private foundations not directly to existing charities. Yes, their private foundations are required to distribute funds to charities but only at the rate of about 5% per year. BETTER if donors were to give funds directly to existing charities or foundations NOT controlled by them and/or their families.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think that the bigger question is how much wealth do you need to acquire to feel a moral obligation to donate a large proportion to charity. If it takes a billion to make you think this way you do not understand morality since you are well, well past the amount that most would say is an unnecessary fortune they can never spend.

    I am sure that Buffet and Gates have been donating vast sums of money to charity well before they amassed their billions.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm a great fan of charity. Instead of 'My Money' >> 'Government Taxation' >> 'THEIR Choice of Redistribution' you have 'My Money' >> 'MY Choice of Charity'. Skipping the middle man (i.e. government taxation) is an excellent concept and its too bad most governments are unwilling to give up the opportunity to decide who their beneficiary should be using my money.

    Now - this pledge thing is weird. I'll be honest with you that at this point I'm just not sure what is going on here. The fact that we have a large proportion of liberals might mean something, but I just don't know. With a majority of the White House administration leaning far-left, along with all of the unknown, unappointed czars leaning left as well, are we perhaps seeing a preparatory movement?

    In other words you get the general population used to the idea that people should be willing to give up a good part of their income (or net worth) by using personalities to incentivize, and then you shift and nudge the focus on to the average citizen. "Why aren't YOU giving up a large part of YOUR income?"

    Are we perhaps seeing some social engineering going on here? I'd be interested to hear if anyone else is getting the sense of a ‘false-positive’ from this story. Maybe we need to give Glenn Beck a shout because this might be a good one...

  • Comment number 28.

    Give it BACK to the low paid - they have earned it for the rich.

  • Comment number 29.

    Thirty-eight US billionaires have pledged at least 50% of their wealth to charity through a campaign started by investor Warren Buffet and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. If you were a billionaire who would you donate your money to?

    I would dearly like to be in the position to donate some of my hard earned cash to charities to help the disabled, to help the injured soldiers who come back from fighting 'Blairs War', I would also like to leave a considerable amount to my son.

    But I fear I am unlikely to be able to give to anyone else but my son, everything else will probably go to the government to help replace the money used to bail out the greedy banks in one form of new tax or another as well as the new level of VAT.

    So Philanthropical actions by myself are likely to be non existant, but I applaud the American Millionairs and Billionairs who are doing this.

    What about the English Millionairs and Billonairs? they are probably all very busy trying to cling on to the 'Thatchers Chariot of Greed', or counting their millions in an offshore tax havens untracable account.

    But then maybe, just maybe, I'll be proved wrong, perhaps the Chaiman of Network Rail will donate a few million (and his bonuses) to making the railways in the UK as safe as it was under BR again, I don't think I ought to hold my breath though, do you?.

  • Comment number 30.

    Perhaps we should look at this a different way and say it is OUR money they are giving away , I find it offensive that billionaires try to hide there guilt by saying they are giving away THEIR money to charity, the money they are giving away was gained through them exploiting people by making billions by selling overpriced products through monopolistic means, they then trying to preserve their name by nominating their own pet charities. I hope none of these billionaires are from the pharmeceutical industry where overpriced products are preventing wanting people in underdeveloped countries from receiving the vital medicines needed to save lives. Controls should be put in place to prevent billionaires acheiving such wealth.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'd give money to the underfunded rape crisis centres and women's refuges. (and possibly build more)

    I'd give £50 million to the White Ribbon Campaign. Google them to find out who they are!

  • Comment number 32.

    How about making extra jobs from all that money to help the unemployed?

  • Comment number 33.

    rich588 comment 16. you are brilliant, you said exactly what i said and feel in about 10% of the words

  • Comment number 34.

    And this is a largely pointless topic since none of us real people will never experience being a billionaire in our lifetimes.

    Now, back to reality..

  • Comment number 35.

    Hmm..easy one really; redistribute it amongst the cheaply paid foreign labourers who helped accumulate the wealth?

    Im sure the Indians and other foreigners these men paid a couple pence/hour up until a few years ago wouldnt mind say $1000.00 each.

  • Comment number 36.

    Charity begins at home. If I were a billionaire, not one penny would go abroad, if it could be used to make someone's life better in Britain. Thats not being mean. Its simply because so far, over the decades, billions of pounds have gone abroad to the needy and yet there appears to be little to show for it. Therefore it has clearly been a waste of money. Most of it has been spent on weapons and fast cars by tinpot dictators and corrupt governments. I would do what I could to house the homeless in Britain, and get them into work , in order to give them their lives back. Id help UK children's charities and hospital/medical research charities such as Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow trust and Cancer Research.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'll never have that kind of money so the question doesn't fortunately arise. I have found that I only have a need for one comfortable bed, one roof to keep the rain out, 3 decent meals a day and all other needs in moderation. I therefore have never been inclined to waste my life working all hours to make loads of money to afford half a dozen bedrooms no one sleeps in and pay a man to do what what I don't have time for because I'm too busy working to employ the man to do...., like mowing the lawn etc. Why anyone would want millions never mind billions is beyond me. Why waste your life accumilating wealth to either give up in taxes or give away as gifts because you don't know what else to do with numbers like that on a Bank balance. One thing for sure you can't take it and buy back all or any of the time you spent making it to give away. Living and enjoying things in life is much more valuable once your comfortable. Then again to some making money is their pleasure in life. Some think the rest of us are impressed by their great wealth. No accounting for taste.

  • Comment number 38.

    I would give what remains of my money to me and very very specific charities.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh but unless i am in a position to help myself then i cannot help others.

    If i was a billionaire however i would give a damn sight more than i can now but i would also question why i would have accumulated so much if i cannot spend it or is that whole point of capitalism?

    Billionaires are an indication that the general public have been ripped off for a few generations right?

  • Comment number 39.

    If I was Bill Gates I would invest 99% of my money into a continent plagued with Poverty, Africa. I would invest in their industries to create more jobs. I would invest in there education to create an abundance of educated people. I would invest in there roads to create better transportation. I fund political leaders that would get their country back on track towards non-corruption, modernization and industrialization. I would help create a more prosperous, peaceful, anti-corrupt nation within Africa.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think that the philanthropists reach a point in their life that they realise that giving is more appeasing to the soul than accumulating.

  • Comment number 41.

    Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

  • Comment number 42.

    I would divide my money between medical and developmental charities. I am a huge fan of The Red Cross, so without a doubt this would be classified as my medical charity- as the International Red Cross works world wide and has achieved significant success in the past.

    I would ensure the International development charities I choose to donate to work with grassroot organisations to make real change in poverty struck areas- where other organisations have not been able to reach.

    In a nutshell- I would want world to be a better place, free of disease and poverty- it's a shame money can't buy that.

  • Comment number 43.

    One charity I know of that was privately funded by an author through his book sales and other drives is now on hold, and another one tonight needed a "secret millionaire" for want of a better description (he wasn't a millionaire but you get the idea), to keep from closing its doors.

    The first I donated to through buying the books, the other is close to my heart so I'm happy to donate whatever I can spare considering I waste enough cash on myself and on lunch, because that lifeline won't last forever.

    Plenty of posters have socio-political rants to grind axes with, this charity helped me for nothing in return at the time, I'm happy to return the favour to them now I am earning.

  • Comment number 44.

    keep your money
    in your pockets we don't deserve it
    we will only have more kids and blame you
    let us earn our corn

  • Comment number 45.

    Surely it would be better increase the taxes on these very rich people to say 80% or 90% so they would not be 'earning' these obscene amounts of money. At least then the money would benefit society as a whole and not just the billionaires chosen 'charities'.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'd probably buy the nearest private school - and close it down.

  • Comment number 47.

    If I were to donate money it would be to anti bullying charities.

    It's up to the billionaires as to whether or not they donated their money; you can't force them to do it.

  • Comment number 48.

    12. At 9:41pm on 04 Aug 2010, Kevin Orr wrote:
    2. At 9:12pm on 04 Aug 2010, Queen_Becci_B wrote:
    "I would give my money to help injured soldiers & their families & carers"

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


    You have got to be kidding. The world is full of starving, dying, war injured children; disease, poverty, injustice, near-slavery....and you would give it to people who signed up to take part in military exercises?

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

    I would certainly give a lot of my money to Help For Heroes. What better cause could there be ?

    I would also fund the St. George's Hanover Square restoration project ; pay for a new hall for East Sheen Primary School ; seek out a huge modern/contemporary art museum project to fund to be named in memory of my late wife and set up a foundation to promote individual freedom and liberty. Anything left over I would give to Oxfam / Christian Aid.

  • Comment number 49.

    To those who have cared for and loved me in the past and present.

  • Comment number 50.

    what the hell would they achieve by investing in a broken society
    full of chavs,drug abusers and benefit career criminals,
    surely this is a wind up.there must be a profit in it for them somewhere.
    keep your money
    gordon brown has left the building so the debt will not increase unless idiots like him [may he burn in hell] resurface and drag us drown further

  • Comment number 51.

    If I won the Lottery, I'd donate it to the head of Camelot as a thank-you!

  • Comment number 52.

    23. At 10:23pm on 04 Aug 2010, rojathedoja wrote:
    I'm with Eddy from Waring and Brian M on this one. The wealth they are 'giving away' was stolen in the first place in a social and economic process which has seen the rich get richer and the poor, poorer. Interestingly, this results, at least partly, from a mass process of privatisation, whilst at the same time contributing to that process as they usurp the proper function of government with their privatised 'welfare' funds. After all, who needs government when we have Bill Gates and his chums?
    ===============================
    As usual, the politics of envy shines through. So Bill Gates has "stolen" his fortune, has he? We're all forced to buy microsoft products because there are no alternatives and they are necessary for survival? Gates invented one of the most successful products of all time. He's made his fortune entirely legitimately and has reaped the benefit. Now he intends to put a large part of that fortune to philanthropic work. And mean spirited envious people can only find reason to criticise him. If we go down Kevin Orr's route of 90% tax, no one will go out on a limb to invent new products and create new jobs.

  • Comment number 53.

    I'd prefer it if they used their business acumen to actually run projects, not just bankrolling them. If some of these people made it their goal to run inner city neighbourhoods around etc etc, lots of other problems would fix themselves. Throwing money at projects does help, but I often think that it is the lack of joined up thinking that is the main issue. Some business leaders with time and ambition could really fix a lot.

  • Comment number 54.

    Some people here are so very bitter. They berate billionaires for having the audicty to be successful and yet we're all guilty of squandering money that could be better spent elsewhere.

    How many vaccines would your SKY subscription pay for every month? How much food could you put in starving childrens mouths if you sacrificed that new television?

    We all fritter money away on luxuries whilst others are dying because they don't have the basics. As a race, we're pretty disgusting really.

  • Comment number 55.

    Who would you give your money to?

    I already donate much of my money,

    namely, to

    me, myself and I !!!


    Reality check.

    MOST of these $£billions are accumulated via taking advantage of poverty and attrocious conditions.

    Who exactly digs the coal from mines in china & elsewhere to power the factorys to make products. Who does all the menial jobs for a pitance in 3rd world/developing countrys and basically NOT ENOUGH TO FEED A CAT in USA.

    MUCH of this money is BLOOD money.

    It has been earned off the backs of others.

    I dont remember seeing any reports of Bill Gates & others etc being 100,000 years old and working for all that money.

    Just to have accumulated so much wealth is just the WORST type of human being I can imagine, I put them on par with Hitler.

    Just think, what a few extra $£millions could do in an effort to get aid to all those suffering in Pakistan.

    Instead, the Taleban are providing food & help and in return they get support and new recruits.Dont, the RICH in USA ALSO have a MORAL duty to help reduce extremism by making the world a BIT MORE FAIRER.

    They talk about education, maybe they should educate people with atheism, and stop the god rot which is continuously polluting the minds of so many.

    Personally, I would give away as much as I could as it accumulated, like paying ALL the workers down the line MORE, ESPECIALLY those at the BOTTOM of the pile, as well as dishing it ourt regular via setting up various charitys which ACTUALLY make a LONG TERM difference to the SUSTAINABILITY of our species and planet.

    To be at the top of such a pile of cash, to me has a worse smell than living next door to New York sewage works, or even Doncasters!!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Realistically - is half enough??
    Assuming this is personal wealth - how much will they need to live their lifestyles till they die, and how much should they leave to their children - so that their children never have to think for themselves or work?? Then which charities - it begins at home, solve poverty and homelessness on your doorstep, that would allow governments, who have hopefully more money than even these billionaires, to look at world issues; to look at global warming; to look at developing fusion as an energy source for the 22nd century; to look at peace and stability for the whole planet. Otherwise its all a pointless PR exercise really...

  • Comment number 57.

    45. At 11:15pm on 04 Aug 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    Surely it would be better increase the taxes on these very rich people to say 80% or 90% so they would not be 'earning' these obscene amounts of money. At least then the money would benefit society as a whole and not just the billionaires chosen 'charities'.

    =================================
    Your ultra left wing views are making you blind. With 80% - 90% tax, people simply won't bother to earn the money. People won't take risks to develop new products and create new businesses and the jobs that go with them. I've started buying extra holiday because I'm on a marginal tax/NI rate of 62%. Why bother to work an hour for less than 25 minutes' pay? But naturally, as a left winger you much prefer that the state choses how to spend our money than let the prols decide.

  • Comment number 58.

    I wouldn't simply give them away but would use the money to create decent pay jobs, train future leaders, raise the socioeconomic class of the poor and build schools.

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

    52. At 11:47pm on 04 Aug 2010, Steve Edwards wrote:

    As usual, the politics of envy shines through. So Bill Gates has "stolen" his fortune, has he? We're all forced to buy microsoft products because there are no alternatives and they are necessary for survival? Gates invented one of the most successful products of all time. He's made his fortune entirely legitimately and has reaped the benefit. Now he intends to put a large part of that fortune to philanthropic work. And mean spirited envious people can only find reason to criticise him. If we go down Kevin Orr's route of 90% tax, no one will go out on a limb to invent new products and create new jobs.

    I love how people resort to this "envy" argument.

    So, since first helping to create Microsoft, Bill Gates has worked in his back room, created every product, had every idea that ever originated from Microsoft? At the same does he live on a planet where 1 earth day is the equivalent of several years?

    Billionaires do not achieve their vast wealth without the assistance of thousands of other people some of whom have brilliant ideas who in turn require others to implement those ideas.

    Have you ever wondered how many brilliant ideas might be out there that will never be heard and how many of those might be in the developing world.

    This is not about envy its about fairness but I suppose if you believe that greed is good then that won't make sense to you.

  • Comment number 61.

    It's a giant tax scam.

    The US has the FOUNDATION which escapes inheritance tax.
    Put your dosh into a foundation, it's tax free when you die, and your family can live on the board of this heinous affront to humanity for infinity.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_tax_in_the_United_States

    If these =peoples=(got to avoid:your post is being moderated, lol)
    are PHILANTHROPISTS then they will hand over 50% to the government, which is the MONEY DUE AS RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS OF THE USA and the other 50% they can do with as they wish.

    Narcissistic =peoples=

    grrrr

  • Comment number 62.

    No one most likely, maybe if I were a billionaire I may feel differently considering the huge wealth I'd be left with still.

    Also I'm having a good laugh at all these people saying billionaires have made their money by taking advantage of others.. blood money? on par with hitler? hahaha ohh a lot of jealousy or somemthing here.

  • Comment number 63.

    A private foundation is an entity for tax avoidance weasels.

    Weasels in life and weasels in death.

  • Comment number 64.

    "52. At 11:47pm on 04 Aug 2010, Steve Edwards wrote:

    As usual, the politics of envy shines through. So Bill Gates has "stolen" his fortune, has he? We're all forced to buy microsoft products because there are no alternatives and they are necessary for survival? Gates invented one of the most successful products of all time. He's made his fortune entirely legitimately and has reaped the benefit....."

    Steve, I agree with you that Gates and many others made their fortunes legitimately, and often for providing a constructive product or service to society. But the word "deserve" is quite strong. A dedicated doctor or teacher who signs up to their career mainly for the motivation of helping people knowing that they will unlikely become billionaires should be equally celebrated by society. After all, Gates himself could not have achieved what he had without the education and healthcare that others provided to the smart employees that he eventually hired. Society works because we cooperate. We are partly the most succesful species not because we compete against each other, but because we are very very good at cooperating. I agree that the socialist ideal is too idealistic, because imperfect humans lose motivation to produce. But we have to remember that cooperation is far more important to our success. After all, even money itself is a state institution - your currency savings have no fixed asset value, its all based on fiat.

    So this notion that one individual "deserves" much more than another really needs careful consideration. I earn a reasonably good wage and I work hard, but I know that my standard of living depends upon the efforts of a large number of people, many of whom are much worse off than me. We are effectively all beneficiaries of charity (at the very least at the hands of those that fed us as babies), no matter how smart or hard we work.

  • Comment number 65.

    I think it's great that these guys are giving away half of their billions, but it's too bad that initiatives like 7-Dollar-Lives (which involved giving away everything) don't get as much support. It seems like one's commitment might be better measured in how much of one's wealth is given, even if it's only a small amount to begin with.

  • Comment number 66.

    I would set up a commitee to ensure that all monies given went only to charities with a proven track record of success. This group would also monitor on a regular basis through reports from the individual charities and on visits to their locations to keep tabs on how the money was being spent.

  • Comment number 67.

    I wouldn't care if he paid his 50% tax like the rest of us.
    It would make him an equal citizen in my eyes.

    A million, a billion, a squillion...who gives a monkeys.

    Pay yer darned taxes you tight git.

    "Hey everyone. Now that I'm really really rich...can we not do taxes any more?"

  • Comment number 68.

    wouldnt it really spoil ones day to find out that you "could" take it with you when you die...DOH!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Some people give their lives for their country.

    And yet here we have a man who won't even pay 50% taxes being lauded as a hero.

    It beggars belief IMO

  • Comment number 70.

    I would burn it all and record it on camers to show the world, then go and make a load more just to prove i can....

  • Comment number 71.

    I'm thinking I'd give it to the Nature Conservancy, that's a group that preserves critical habitat and wildnerness by buying the land and either maintaining it themselves or turning it over to government for parks and preserves. I like the goal of conserving unspoiled lands and I like their method of buying it instead of campaigning for government to take it away from the owners.

  • Comment number 72.

    57. At 11:54pm on 04 Aug 2010, Steve Edwards wrote:
    45. At 11:15pm on 04 Aug 2010, thelevellers wrote:
    Surely it would be better increase the taxes on these very rich people to say 80% or 90% so they would not be 'earning' these obscene amounts of money. At least then the money would benefit society as a whole and not just the billionaires chosen 'charities'.

    =================================



    "Your ultra left wing views are making you blind. With 80% - 90% tax, people simply won't bother to earn the money. People won't take risks to develop new products and create new businesses and the jobs that go with them"

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

    same old same old. The daily Mail-reading dumb Britain believing the rich are doing you a favour.
    let the billionaires pay less tax and they'll give you a job out of the generosity of their hearts.
    Who are you trying to kid?

    Ps. Warren Buffet is, by your own standards, ultra-left. Read what he has to say about his fellow rich, and the lifestyle he leads.

    Then get back to us ultra-lefties with a smart retort

  • Comment number 73.

    I think it's great they are planning to give their money away but why wait until they are dead ? They already have enough money to live their whole lives in complete luxury - why not give some money out to people who need it now or maybe to people wanting to start businesses which banks won't support ? How about giving out free advice or contact information to people starting businesses ?

  • Comment number 74.

    I would take my money and travel throughout the world to help people directly. I think it is such a waste of money for billionaires to donate money to charities - especially if the charities are not honestly using that money to help others. They could be just paying someone else's salary - not giving food for starving families.
    People notice gestures of kindness and some people are willing to repay those gestures by helping others. Things such as buying some groceries for a mother who is having a hard time with funds. There is a difference between helping people and just another hand-out.

  • Comment number 75.

    I would give my money to disabled children and not a penny to countries where people have not learn to use contraceptives and are having 6 to 12 children per family.

    I would also develop a ideal city as a example for other to look at.

  • Comment number 76.

    If I was rich I would certainly join these billionaires in donating as there's only so much material wealth any of us needs. Who to give to is a difficult question as so many deserving causes out there. Environmental & medical research charities would top my list, but a big factor would be looking at the expense ratios of the different causes to make sure they are not being used as a cover to line employees pockets.

  • Comment number 77.

    For me it's obvious that those with the most should give to those with the least - to provide basic education and health services. Therefore, I would advocate Bangladesh and Malawi as deserving people. Simple as.....

  • Comment number 78.

    If I were a bizillionaire I would gather an entire development team together with equipment and build clean water systems in villages, then build a school and train and hire a well qualified teacher. I'd equip the schools with a beautiful, simple library and computers. I'd use the school to teach children in the day then use it to train parents in small businesses and provide microloans, water systems, water disease prevention, construction courses. I would start a cottage industry that could support the local population and the school. All of the money created would be funnelled back into the business and the children's education. As profits increased I'd use the money to send the children to college/university in England/Europe/USA with the understanding that once educated they must return to help the community that helped them. everyone in my community would have a comfortable house, clean water, a well stocked pantry, good medical care and a retirement account. As our community prospered we'd grow out in concentric cirles, building more schools and businesses until we enveloped an entire country.
    My idea would work because I expect a lot on a tight pursestring. Corruption and graft, I don't play like that. The well being and excellent education of children would be my primary focus, nothing much matters after that.

  • Comment number 79.

    two lots of charities would get my money 60 percent would go to help for heroes and the rest would go to dogs trust ......

  • Comment number 80.

    If I were a billionaire, in the event of my death, I would create a foundation which would be a self-perpetuating vehicle to use a certain level of the investment proceeds of the foundation assets for economic investments in the economy and for charitable contributions. I would not directly assign the assets or asset investment proceeds to charities as this would eventually exhaust the assets. I would choose a method of expenditure by the creation of a foundation trust which would continue to play an investment role for a percentage of the assets and for charitable contributions from the foundations assets of about 5 - 10% of the total assets caclulated annually.

  • Comment number 81.

    The most beneficial gifts are ones that either kick-start or facilitate a self-sustaining engine.

  • Comment number 82.

    In sharp contrast to our government which has stupidly (IMO) ring -fenced foreign aid whilst reducing spend at home, the beneficiaries of charity from me would be - and are- entirely causes in the UK.

    My preference would be for projects and causes that help people to realise their personal potential, and to help good ideas that might be of benefit to the population at large come to fruition.

  • Comment number 83.

    The unemployed, disabled and the terminally ill, for the really poor orphans and their likes require a lot of support not only financial but also moral. It is always better to teach a man how to fish then hand over fish. To those able-bodied unemployed I would set up paid vocational training centers, for the disabled and the sick I would build hospitals and daycare centers and for the orphans I would build lodging and boarding schools. All these would really give meaning to the money well-spent. If I were a billionaire !

  • Comment number 84.

    The "charity" shall buy a quarter of the ocean to prevent overfishing and a MASSIVE plot of land to "house" endangered/endangering land animals. All these is to prevent the sick human population to further harming these helpless creatures!

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 85.

    Absolutely, giving money or any useful thing to charities to help the poor and disable is not only moral obligation, but our responsibilities to build up society with better lives. Like other people, billionaires earn money by their hard work, however, due to their talent or a bit of lucky, they get more money than others.

  • Comment number 86.

    What money?

    After 13 years of Gordon Brown's stewardship in which he was solely responsible for bringing about the UK recession and the total collapse of our economy, condemned pensioners to a retirement of financial hardship and ensured that investors now receive little or nothing on their hard earned capital, it is a lucky man indeed who has anything left.

  • Comment number 87.

    First, the axiom that charity begins at home ought to be the principle to follow - in more ways than one. Any American homeowner who is in danger of losing their home over foreclosure or tax issues or other lien issues ought to be the first recipient of any of this money, because these are the people who are most in need in the United States and the most overlooked by charities. Any American who has lost a home, and other personal effects which call for just restitution, and has not been able to fight City Hall over the issue because of local corruption also ought to be considered first - it is a horrible experience, and no one helps. We also have possibly millions of Americans who have lost homes - and the bank has been holding their unsalable property - let's get these people back into their former homes if they are arguably suffering from that loss.
    Charity seems to have been defined by way of credentials of exotica, or youth, and therefore the overworked man on the street on Main Street USA, who has no time for advocacy issue efforts on his own behalf, gets overlooked and pushed into the hole. Every single one of these millionaires had the help of a financial industry which benefits fabulously from the average person losing their home.
    And please, don't give any of this money to public education. It is an unquenchable racket. The private teachers and schools offer better quality education, and do far more and far better for less, and we have to compete with all the money and power and propaganda the Government can bring against us. That is why the United States is doing so poorly educationally. The people who might be best served by educational charitable aid are crime victims, the children of war heroes and slain police officers, people living in rural and agricultural lifestyles, and some of the Indian tribe schools and missions and key businesses which serve the needs of the most hard pressed people in America. If charity begins at home, how about due consideration for the First Americans, while we are putting America first?
    The struggling homeowner in this country has got to be put back on his or her feet - the Government is hardly lifting a finger to help. The independent educator and school has got to be granted a level playing field - and the Government has its foot down our throats every step of the way. This independent educational picture includes home schooling as a major part of the picture. So charity begins at home. If it has nothing to do with that, it is false charity.
    If this suggestion is taken, this will save America, and thereby do more good for the world than if this were spent in places like Zimbabwe, all this money will dissipate wastefully and with no good result. If and when America goes down, the rest of the world will go down with it; so the best way for this fund to benefit all other countries is for it to be spent in America on Americans. Without this country, without the American people, how far would any of these successful people gotten in the first place?
    There is one more vital focus for this fund: PROTECTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. Intellectual property is the most valuable asset and export of the United States. It is being pilfered and suffering secondary losses directly related to that pilferage,at a rate which discourages new output of quality, especially in MUSIC. We need new, highly pilferage resistant technology, and we need it soon - in a way which displaces the technology of pilferage immediately. Until we get this, there is no incentive to produce quality new music, and only huge corporations with tons of money will be able to have any success at that effort, because what they are really selling is not quality music, but name and glitz, and they are really doing nothing except exploiting sex appeal. Because of this, we have, for the first time in history, an entire generation in this country who has been growing up listening to their grandparents' music, for the most part. Many of the successful people involved in this charitable effort have made huge fortunes from the same technology that is killing the music industry, so you justly owe us first before you give your benefits from our losses away to some third party. It isn't necessary that you give away money to a whole lot of musicians. All you need to do is kill the technology that is killing us. Let's level the playing field on this, and on home issues such as foreclosure and education, JUST ONCE.
    If this suggestion is not followed, but is ignored, this entire charitable effort will be a fizzle. It will bypass the people most in need of help, and it will help politically favored interests who were not really in any dire need at all - people who have staff members on hand who know how to write grant requests, tax-free foundations whose business it is to be in line with their hand out, etc.
    If this suggestion is followed, this charitable effort will live up to its intentions, and will go down in history as the decisive moment that saved America.

  • Comment number 88.

    "Should billionaires feel morally obligated to give money?"

    Like ANYONE else, billionaires should decide on their own what to do with their money.


    "What impact will giving money have on charities?"

    Money will probobly go to causes that are far left wing.


    "Do you give money to charity?"

    I give money to only a few charities however I don't go announcing to the world "Hey look at me and how much money I am giving away". I find that vulgar.


    Are you a charity worker?

    I work for a living and have volunteered before

    If so, what is your reaction?


    I laugh because so much money is wasted and not properly utilized in some charities.

  • Comment number 89.

    To the Conservative Party, knowing that its leadership consists almost exclusively of millionaires and that it exists to make rich people even richer, at the expense of the rest of society.

  • Comment number 90.

    I would donate my money to any political group who promised to use it to change laws to get religion OUT of politics.

    The sooner the financial influence of organized religion is taken out of politics, the fairer the world will be.

  • Comment number 91.

    The figures we are talking about here could make a vast difference to the quality of life for millions of people if used wisely. Obviously the places it can do most good are third world countries where water, medicine and food are required.

    If I were a billionaire and wanted to give some of my money away I would consider very carefully before giving it to some charity that would instantly fritter away the greater part of it on running costs. I would consider setting up my own concern to ensure that every last penny went where it was meant to go and provided long term benefits.

    This would probably mean providing water plant, agricultural equipment and medicine to a poor area but not a single penny in cash.

  • Comment number 92.

    90. At 06:08am on 05 Aug 2010, Icebloo wrote:

    I would donate my money to any political group who promised to use it to change laws to get religion OUT of politics.

    The sooner the financial influence of organized religion is taken out of politics, the fairer the world will be.



    Agreeeeeeeee.


    It's a very generous way to donate money to charity who can help others.

    But I don't think American need charity in their country.

    If they donate to me I can bring big changes, like send all the religious people and criminals to an island, Fairer law to our world, women right in Afghanistan, No Visa system,

    Well done charities.

  • Comment number 93.

    I'd give it back to all the people exploited ripped-off and ground down to create it in the first place.

  • Comment number 94.

    well i certainly wouldnt give it to charities with their high executives getting a very decent salary for running the charity plus expenses plus the running costs that eat away at it. Remember live aid they raised £6 million and the first thing the Eritrean govt did was buy 6 russian mig 29 fighters for £500,000 each. No I would set up a fund that with the interest accrued they would decide on deserving cases and buy them the house they lived in. Then buy a preserved steam railway and show the govt what could be achieved with public transport

  • Comment number 95.

    This is their money to give away is it? More like it's money they stole off the back of workers. They are guilty of theft and should be treated as such.

  • Comment number 96.

    I would rather build few roofs for unfortunate people that is really in need for a living

    I went to a Village in Fiji with many tourist all over the world and in this little village my heart ached so much for this little children that deep down in my heart I wish that I am a fortuned person that I could reach out my hands to this people. Maybe people will think that how did i get to go on this tour i am just a travel agent with a less fortune that I am great ful for my company that gave me the chance to go and experience for myself.
    Well my heart goes to the people of that village and if I was a billionaire I would rather experience myself and give charity many other things that can be done.
    I would say that billionaire gets the greatest votes from people who has access to computer and greater knowledge but as for the poorest people on earth has not much access to all this up coming idea for charity people who can really wants to help and give so much

  • Comment number 97.

    RNLI; North Air Ambulance; Cancer Research; - all this woould go straight into the action part of the charity not via those who could make other decisions for the money. After this I would want to oversee where the money was going so that none got into the wrong hands. A lot could be done for the third world but I would also want to improve many things in this country. If somebody needed employing to help carry out my wishes I would employ them s many of the charities have fat cat earners just like any othe business.

  • Comment number 98.

    #78. clamdip lobster claws
    Brilliant post. The only thing I would add is that religeon would not be part of the scene.

  • Comment number 99.

    I spend my money on digging water wells in Third World countries. The water well provides enough water for 50,000 people (figure contested), quadruples food supplies, and brings birth rates down to Western levels in three months. The green circle of healthy growing food can be seen as green dots from outer space.

  • Comment number 100.

    BP.

 

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