Billanthropy

Stephen J Dubner writes on the Freakonomics blog:

He [Warren Buffett] was explaining why he wanted to give so much money [US$31 billion] to a foundation that mainly tries to alleviate poverty. “A market system has not worked in terms of poor people,” Buffett said.

Coming from Buffett, this statement isn’t much of a shock. But it certainly is an indictment—of the free-market system that has made so many people like Buffett very, very rich (though not as rich as him), of the system that so many economists and businesspeople and politicians and journalists believe in on so many dimensions, including its ability to help poor people stop being poor.

So much for trickle-down economics.

It would be nice to think that in Australia the safety net provided by Medicare and Social Security is a little better, but you still see the homeless out and about (even in winter), so it’s apparent that the worst-off in our society still need some help from the citizenry. Not to mention the impoverished nations of the world.

Warren Buffett I ain’t, but I could probably do better with my donation regime (currently outsourced to Community Aid Abroad/Oxfam, and the Salvation Army).

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2 Replies to “Billanthropy”

  1. The ‘market’ clearly makes a lot of money for some people. It’s in the (re)distribution of the wealth/benefits that it all falls down – not to mention workers’ rights, degradation of the environment … etc etc

  2. I’d like to see trickle up economics, give the workers a really decent wage so they can actually afford to buy things, and I mean better things than the really cheap sh*t

    If they are spending then the economy grows, trouble is where are the jobs? outsourced to the cheapest labour costs, so you’d have to have import duties to reflect the wage and living conditions of offshore wrkers. It’d never fly as there would be to much resistance from big business, but it’s a nice idea.

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