Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Gates gives more to charity than US government

By enterfornone in MLP
Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 10:25:28 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

In a year where he has been constantly accused of running a greedy monopoly, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has donated more money to charity than the US government. His contribution of US $1.44 billion is more than a quarter of the contribution given by the worlds industrialised countries.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports a number of areas including heath care in underdeveloped countries and education for children in poorer communities.


Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o donated more money to charity
o Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
o Also by enterfornone


Display: Sort:
Gates gives more to charity than US government | 43 comments (27 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
The Ted Turner Challenge (3.00 / 5) (#3)
by Miniluv on Mon Dec 25, 2000 at 09:28:33 PM EST

While I admire Bill Gates, and his wife, for giving so much to so many good charities and doing as much as he can with the resources available to him to better the world he lives in, I wonder how much of it came from the notable Ted Turner challenge.

Oh well, hopefully more people with money will continue this tradition. What I'd really like to see, and get involved in myself, is finding a way to bring peoples skills into direct involvement with charities, rather than contributing just money for them to buy those skills.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'

For those that don't know (4.00 / 3) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 09:10:51 AM EST

Ted Turner decided one day to turn over 1/3 of his wealth to the United Nations. After handing off his decision to his accounts (who likely left skid marks in their seats when they heard Ted's announcement) I think the amount turned out something less. It was also hampered by the UN's policy of not accepting donations from individuals. Lawyers talked to lawyers and diplomats talked to diplomats and what ended up happening is that Mr. Turner's donations ended up going toward the back dues owed to the UN by the US of A that congress has no intention of paying.

Anyway, after putting his money where his mouth is, Ted Turner challenged Bill Gates to do the same. At the time, Bill Gates was somewhat conspicuous for his stingyness, having given away diddly-squat of his fortune. I suspect getting married and having children has softened Bill up some. I recall reading somewhere that Mr. Gates intends to only leave $10 million to each of his children and give the rest of the assets of his empire away to charity. Unless MS stock takes a severe nose dive and Bill has yet to diversify in a big way like Paul Allen has done, he better get cracking and do some serious throwing of money at worthy causes.

To be honest, I have to wonder if charity is really charitable if it goes to building buildings with one's name on them. This seems more like egoism than altruism and hence serves as propagation of one's memes (arrogance) and not charity (selfless love).

[ Parent ]

Charitable charities (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by Miniluv on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 04:08:47 PM EST

You've got a point regarding what to give money to. Sure, universities need new buildings, but that's part of what tuition and bonds and such are for. Thankfully Bill gives to a lot more than that.

I wish Slate didn't mention the guy quite so often, as they ran an article about a year or so ago that broke down how much he'd given to what funds and what funds he'd helped establish from scratch. A fair portion of his wealth has been going into centers to promote reproductive health in underdeveloped countries lately, as well as more general education funds both at home and abroad.

Before people start screaming zero population growth, etc etc, reproductive health means both prenatal care and birth control. Usually these clinics make safe abortions, as well as contraceptive education and medicine, available to these women who're unprepared for motherhood.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

Why does it have to be charity ? (none / 0) (#43)
by Aidan_Kehoe on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:43:13 PM EST

To be honest, I have to wonder if charity is really charitable if it goes to building buildings with one's name on them. This seems more like egoism than altruism and hence serves as propagation of one's memes (arrogance) and not charity (selfless love).

Does it really matter if it's charity or not ? As long as it's given without preconditions. It's a very puritan approach that you should only give if you, yourself derive no pleasure from the giving ...

--
There is no TRUTH. There is no REALITY. There is no CONSISTENCY. There are no ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS. I'm very probably wrong. -- BSD fortune(6)
[ Parent ]

Hardly (2.37 / 8) (#4)
by vastor on Mon Dec 25, 2000 at 09:29:38 PM EST

How do you define charity?

Social security, pensions etc could be considered a form of gov't charity expenditure and how do you figure foreign aid into the equation as well?

Sounds like it could be an exercise in FUD to me (though it is good that they're giving away some of their profits).

It'd be interesting to see if the foundation was linking 'progress' to the fund use in developing countries similar to how international foreign aid often is (columbia spends more on their civil war and tougher drugs stuff to get more foreign aid from the US, will country X get more/some from the gates foundation if they pass [harsher] anti-piracy laws?). Maybe I'm just cynical, but it'd be interesting to look into more closely.


It's for taxes. (2.37 / 8) (#5)
by mattx on Mon Dec 25, 2000 at 09:55:34 PM EST

I'm betting Gates donates to charity to write off his taxes. Not only does he look like a good guy, but he doesn't have to pay the taxes on some of the millions.

-- i fear that i am ordinary, just like everyone


Are you on crack? (2.80 / 5) (#8)
by Miniluv on Mon Dec 25, 2000 at 10:20:23 PM EST

Have you ever actually PAID taxes in the US? Perhaps had the pleasure of calculating your own? He cannot be saving anything really worth considering when you take into account his vast financial empire and the miniscule impact taxes have on his life.

Besides which, I do believe the US Gov't caps charitable contribution deductions. Quit trying to slam Bill Gates just because he's Bill Gates and instead engage in worthwhile group think and cite all the potentially worthwhile reasons.

"Its like someone opened my mouth and stuck a fistful of herbs in it." - Tamio Kageyama, Iron Chef 'Battle Eggplant'
[ Parent ]

I wasn't slamming... (2.33 / 3) (#11)
by mattx on Mon Dec 25, 2000 at 10:33:00 PM EST

I'm only speculating. I think it's smart to contribute to charity and write it off.

-- i fear that i am ordinary, just like everyone


[ Parent ]
sit down and count on it before saying that (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by boxed on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 05:33:19 AM EST

He can no way in hell have taxes that affects him whatsoever. The write off is not enough to make it worthwhile economically to do charity.

[ Parent ]
On corporate charity (3.85 / 7) (#13)
by ObeseWhale on Mon Dec 25, 2000 at 11:37:31 PM EST

Corporations get to write donations to charity off of their taxes. There was a /. article recently about how M$ has not payed a single PENNY in taxes due to donations such as this.

At the same time, Microsoft aught to be lauded, not criticized for such donations. I would rather have 2 billion go directly to the have nots than have it go to the government where a large portion of it would be spent on spurious and wastefull government programs.

---

"The hunger for liberty may he suppressed for a time; yet never exterminated. Man's natural instinct is for freedom, and no power on earth can succeed in crushing it for very long."
-Alexander Berkman
Corperate donations (2.00 / 2) (#16)
by Nyarlathotep on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 01:38:49 AM EST

It is nice to see MS helping some people, but you should not forget that these donations give Bill a significant ammount of power over these orginisations.. or allow him to control which orginisations live. Now, political orginisations like the EFF do not count for tax purposes, so this is not really a major "freedom" issue.

Actually, we should really be happy about the above, since Bill's money should find it's way to non-religious charaties. It would really be nice to remove religion from the charity buisness. Religious orginisations like Alcoholics Anonymous frequently exist more for converts and really do not care much about the effectivness of their treatment (AA's record is crappy, but they still get secular donations to try to force people to accept god and quit drinking).

Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Microsoft donations (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by cameldrv on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 01:19:35 PM EST

Microsoft isn't donating money here, Gates is. Second, Microsoft doesn't pay taxes because they are not a profitable company. They give more stock options out than their net income, and hence, shareholders are financing their operations.

[ Parent ]
Some will look for greed motives here... (3.80 / 5) (#20)
by fossilcode on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 11:01:31 AM EST

When M$ first started making big profits, Gates got slammed by the local press in Seattle for not being very generous in sharing his new wealth. Over the years, Gates has had a myriad of interests in science, art and medicine, but most of his participation was in the form of business ventures. Paul Allen, on the other hand, has always been viewed very favorably by the press because he was more generous even early on.

Those who argue that Gates is only interested in the tax savings would do well to remember that he snubbed local leaders when they pleaded for money from him for various dubious causes, including saving local sports teams, even if they would have aided him in reducing his tax bill. His focus at this time was on his business to the exclusion of most everything else, leaving the local causes (including saving Seattle's football team) to Paul Allen. Remember, Gates is no longer the brash kid that defeated IBM, he is now a married father in his 40's, who while still a fierce competitor, has mellowed a bit with age and experience and can now see the longer view. Instead of yielding to the provincial interests of the local community, he chose instead to focus his efforts on causes that have more wide-reaching global significance.

Now, does M$ run a greedy monopoly? Maybe. Is that Gates' only goal? No.


--
"...half the world blows and half the world sucks." Uh, which half were you again?
I think this is a completely false claim (3.66 / 6) (#21)
by jreilly on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 12:36:17 PM EST

The article said that Bill Gates donated about $1.44 billion over the past year. I'll admit that its a lot, but to claim that te US government spends less is completely false. What about Medicaid/Medicare, welfare, and disaster relief? Don't these count as charities administered by the government?

Now, if you say that Bill Gates gave more money to overseas causes, you might be right. I don't have the numbers to back up an argument against that.

Oooh, shiny...

not really (1.00 / 2) (#27)
by enterfornone on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 05:42:25 PM EST

I really don't see how taxpayer funded essential services can be considered charity. By that logic is there anything the government does that isn't charity?

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Depends on what you mean ... (3.00 / 1) (#28)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 06:20:33 PM EST

...by essential services. For instance, national defence, law enforcement, diplomatic services, underwriting large-scale infrastructural projects (roads, railways, housing projects) etc. are all generally not considered as charity, but as services which the customer (Joe Taxpayer) uses.

On the other hand, Joe Taxpayer is paying for welfare, social security, government pensions, and medicare, none of which he (by definition) uses. That can be considered charity: giving without directly profiting from the act of giving.

On the third hand (if I had one) government is accountable to its citizens, and that means all government funds are accountable too. Any government funds donated to non-governmental charitative institutions (which is what I assume you mean by government charity) falls under the same category as all other government expenditures. If spending public money on welfare isn't charity but an essential service, then so is giving that money to the Salvation Army. Conversely, if giving public money to the Salvation Army is charity, then so is welfare.

[ Parent ]

what do you use? (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by enterfornone on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 06:47:05 PM EST

I don't really use the army for anything, some people don't use trains or the road. On the other hand I may one day need welfare or health care, while they may not pay tax these are services provided to people under the government's care.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Same thing goes (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by StrontiumDog on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 07:29:36 PM EST

for soup kitchens: today you toss coins in the collector's tray, tomorrow you (god forbid :-) are out of luck and sit to eat at the same soup kitchen. That doesn't detract from your earlier act of charity. Same thing goes for paying taxes one day, collecting dole the next. The difference with paying for railroads, armies etc which you never use is that that is not considered charity. Charity is generally taken to mean helping people in need. Taxpayers funding government projects they themselves may not personally use are not neccessarily being charitative, if these projects do not involve assistance to needy people.

PS: I do share your view though, that welfare etc are services which the taxpayer funds in case he needs it. My view is that (democratic) governments are by definition incapable of charity towards their own citizens, since all funds are essentially accountable to the electorate. Just playing the devil's advocate here.

[ Parent ]

open up your eyes, there is a world out there (2.00 / 1) (#35)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 08:53:43 AM EST

I don't really use the army for anything, some people don't use trains or the road.

In a country like the US, I'd be willing to wager a very large some that very few people do no personally profit from the low prices on many consumable and durable goods that are in part so low due to the excellent transportation infrastructure provided by the government. Just because some one doesn't ride on a train or road, doesn't mean that they do not benefit from their existence. Only people with little or no contact with anyone outside their home town (like Theodore Kazynski (sp?) in between blowing people up) do not benefit from transportation infrastructure. Perhaps the world would be better off if we were a nation of hermits that made our own screws, killed our food, etc., but as a society countries are better off investing in infrastructure.

As for the army, without one there wouldn't be a country to live in (for better or for worse) to live in. Saying that a citizen of a nation-state doesn't use the army is ridiculous, especially in a country like the US where the military is quite active in civilian life in beneficial ways. For example, you can thank the US army for the Internet. The national guard and the army corps. of engineers were the backbone in keeping back the flooding of the Misouri river several years back.

On the other hand I may one day need welfare or health care, while they may not pay tax these are services provided to people under the government's care.

The difference between infrastructure items (armed forces, highways, train tracks, etc.) and welfare (food stamps, general assistance, medicaid, aid to families with dependant children, the earned income tax credit, etc.) is that the former is necessary for a viable nation and the latter is done because the government doesn't want to see excess sufferring.

[ Parent ]

My Quibble over Semantics: (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by Mr. Excitement on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 07:22:40 PM EST

Of course since the Gates Foundation is spending its own money, it's giving more to charity than the U.S. gov't ever will, since the government is giving away our money, which hardly counts as "charity".

1 141900 Mr. Excitement-Bar-Hum-Mal-Cha died in The Gnomish Mines on level 10 [max 12]. Killed by a bolt of lightning - [129]
[ Parent ]
But to what charities? (2.00 / 3) (#23)
by 11223 on Tue Dec 26, 2000 at 03:46:16 PM EST

Surely you don't think that Mr. Gates would actually support any fundamental societal change, now would he? He wouldn't give to Armchair Anarchists International even if they were a worthy charity, and he likely wouldn't give to the EFF. So why are we lauding him for basically supporting the way things are now?

Anyway, you have to remember that he's giving money, an inherently capatalist concept. While I know that there's quite a few people who agree with capatalism here on K5, I tend to believe that there's no way capatalism can truly affect the sort of long-term goals I have (such as equal distribution of wealth, equal access to educational material, etc.)

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.

(OT) Equal distribution.. (1.00 / 1) (#36)
by balls001 on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 11:33:03 AM EST

In your eyes, would equal distribution of wealth mean equal distribution of workload? I live in Canada, where the hard working citizens get to send their tax dollars into Federal and Provincial welfare programs. The result? Distribution of my hard-earned wealth to scores of lazy free-loaders.

Also, I don't believe Governments should have the right to restrict how financially successful an individual or business can become. This would be like putting a restriction on how many users an open source project could reach, or saying that Joe Smartguy can never make more than $xx/year, or that goaltenders (in hockey) HAVE to let in at least x goals per game.

Anyways, that quite was a rant.. I'm done now =)

[ Parent ]
Well, wealth != money (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by 11223 on Wed Dec 27, 2000 at 02:50:26 PM EST

I really don't like the concept of money in general. And by equal, I don't necessarily mean exactly equal. After all, if I give you a fruit basket, can I expect the rest of the world to get a fruit basket too? Basically, smoothing out the extremes of wealth and poverty makes roughly equal.

--
The dead hand of Asimov's mass psychology wins every time.
[ Parent ]

Labor (3.00 / 1) (#38)
by Joshua on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:21:19 AM EST

Yes, idealy the workload would be distributed in an even manner. Some schemes have been proposed for how to acomplish this, but their implementation would require rather a redesign of our culture. B. F. Skinner proposed what I thought to be a beautiful system of labor distribution in a book called Walden Two. It's one of my favorites, and I highly recomend it.

Joshua

[ Parent ]

I can not agree! (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by vertigo on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 10:29:22 AM EST

Replying To:
Labor (none / 0) (#38)
by Joshua (jchambers@casamyrna.org) on Thu Dec 28th, 2000 at 09:21:19 AM EST

> Yes, idealy the workload would be distributed in an even manner.

Equal distribution of work would restrict your freedom to choose how much you want to work
(= how much you should get).

The only thing I can think of in the current scheme is that rich people can use their assets to become even more rich _without working at all_ (having their investments controlled by brokers or something). But I would strongly object to every notion to take from the rich in the name of "social justice" or "equality" (or any other name for that matter).

[ Parent ]
Well done Mr. Gates (none / 0) (#41)
by Aidan_Kehoe on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:35:33 PM EST

It had to be said -- if someone does a Good Thing, they should be commended. I remember 7 or 8 years ago when I first heard about the guy, he had ~9b $ and he wasn't giving any of it away. In that sort of situation, you have to ask `What is the point ? . Nice to see he's changed that, anyway.

--
There is no TRUTH. There is no REALITY. There is no CONSISTENCY. There are no ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS. I'm very probably wrong. -- BSD fortune(6)

I would hope so (1.00 / 1) (#42)
by Lothar on Thu Dec 28, 2000 at 09:38:54 PM EST

I would certainly hope that Gates gave more to charity. What business does the government have giving ANY money to charity? The answer is none of course (IMHO) but as we know the current state of affairs involves several programs of income redistribution that could be termed charity... *cough* Social Security *cough* for one example. I don't have exact numbers but I'll bet that Social Security alone accounts for more than $1.44B a year.

Now to switch gears and editorialize a little. What was the point of this story? Are we supposed to conclude that maybe ole' Bill ain't such a bad guy since he gives a lot? How did he get so much money that he can give away so much so freely? Since when does the ends justify the means? Of course that brings up all sorts of other issues, such as the case against them. Antitrust is an icky business no matter how you look at it. In theory the market should take care of him by itself (some might argue that it already is) while others would say that sometimes a company amasses so much influence that it can ignore the rules and still survive. So what do you do? Anyway, that's enough rambling. At least I started off on topic...

Gates gives more to charity than US government | 43 comments (27 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!