Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and the worlds richest men are giving half their fortunes to charity
the new phenomenon of philanthrocapitalism
a high-concept form of charity that Gates, Buffett and their all-star cast of super-rich supporters predict will reshape the 21st century. (...) an emerging trend towards blending charitable giving with market disciplines. (...) They talk in modish business-speak about community entrepreneurship, social returns and for-profit philanthropy, and specialise in turning up at exclusive global gatherings like the Davos Economic Forum to tell politicians and bankers what they are doing wrong.
while there is no doubt that Gatess work is saving lives, there are serious doubts about its long-term effectiveness. A common complaint is that the foundations fund-raising arm operating independently of the charitable side invests its assets in companies that allegedly pollute the environment, exploit poor workers and distort the global financial system. Another is that its wealth and starry image lures health workers and medical resources away from less glamorous areas of need.
In other words, as a long critique in the American magazine Foreign Affairs puts it, the foundation gives with one hand and takes away with the other.
Why should the rich and famous decide how schools are going to be reformed, or what drugs will be supplied at prices affordable to the poor, or which civil society groups will get funding for their work?
If the rich really wish to create a better world, complained a contributor to the Guardian last week, they can sign another pledge: to pay their taxes on time and in full
to give their employees better wages, pensions, job protection and working conditions