Because it was all a hustle to continue doing exactly whatever they wanted to do. Here is a good book that talks about the mindset:
It's easy to say you're doing things "longterm" for "future generations". The non-existent are the easiest people to advocate for. They demand absolutely nothing of you. And if your projected "altruism" will only really be felt well after you're dead, you aren't on the hook to show results now. They claim this is utilitarian, but it's not. It never was.
What is known is that small real changes now can affect large changes later. Doing things to improve today will improve tomorrow, next year, next decade, etc. If you are looking to be effective with your altruism, the most rational, utilitarian thing you can do is solve the problems of today. Anyone who says otherwise is trying to separate you from your money.
Absolutely serious. Philanthropy isn't inherently a bad thing, but when it comes from billionaires, it is just a means to keep control over their exploitative gains and prevent fixes to problems that would undermine their businesses.
I've been somewhat following Yang's campaign too because he's probably the closest to understanding the future. But you know...large-scale democratic voting rarely works as it was intended to.
The accelerating income disparity simply isn't top-of-mind for many people, even those who are losing out. This is one of the brilliant books criticising the lack of attention on this major issue. The author quite explicitly wrote about how many of the popular causes we see today are really just diversions from the underlying issue of massive income disparity. It's a solve the symptoms, not the cause kind of situation.
My skepticism stems from the simple fact that the elites have to give up part of what they have so that others can have enough. That's never happened on a meaningful scale in human history or based on human nature.
That's great and all, but wouldn't it have been better if Gates had been taxed appropriately in the first place and then all citizens (at least theoretically, anyway) could have had a say in how that was allocated?
Relying on billionaires to allocate resources for public solutions seems more likely to just fund whatever billionaires care about, maybe not what is needed most, and definitely not toward anything which might pose a challenge to their status.
(Anand Giridharadas' Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World covers the subject quite well)
This isn't about original thoughts, it's about engaging legit critiques of philanthropy. I'm not going to pretend I know more than I do, which is why I'm citing original sources to thinkers who've done more research on this than me. You're just going full reactionary on the internet.
From what I can tell, the big frustration is the staunching of left-accelerationism by giving the rich a means to generate goodwill, thus depriving the left of an otherwise ideal political villain and causing perpetuation of the status quo.
The biggest thought leader to emerge from philanthropist-bashing seems to be Anand Giridharadas, who wrote Winners Take All and gave many popular interviews about a year ago e.g. this 1hr confrontational lecture at Google. Giridharadas' main punching bag is the Aspen/Davos crowd, who favor market-based solutions to social problems. Giridharadas claims these social entrepreneurs perpetuate the status quo at minimum cost. Norman Borlaug of the Rockefeller Foundation seems like a pretty damning counterexample. The left might counter that the government has also funded breakthrough research and multiple discovery would apply to Bourlag's wheat innovations. Another counter might be that we are now in a low growth zero-sum world, so these multiplicative investments are not realistic. I tend to side with Scott in advocating for more variation in funding sources, assuming billionaires remain as magnanimous and competent as they have been for the past ~130 years.
Vox is also attempting to make this issue more salient. The quasi-EA podcast Future Perfect spent a season arguing against billionaire philanthropy. It's about what you'd expect from Vox. I find biographies of turn of twentieth century industrialists much more compelling and informative than these mini-biographies nested in political arguments, but some might prefer the latter.
Spot fucking on! Check out Winners Take All, which speaks directly to this. Rich shitbags donate millions while the government they bought off cuts their taxes to the tunes of billions. Then the shitbags turn around and express concern that Universal Health Care will bankrupt the country.
It's just a game to these pricks, and we're the pawns.
If you read his book the basic premise is that right now there is a big focus on philanthropy when instead there should be a focus on fixing the broken system that allows a small group of people to accumulate massive wealth at the expense of 99% of others.
But using their philanthropy they are able to persuade the masses to keep the current system. How else can a democratic system exist where the top 5% own 66% of the wealth (United States).
The richest Americans would easily be defeated in a vote if the remaining population could get their act together.
Consider crossposting this to r/antiwork and r/latestagecapitalism
I would do it myself, but the Reddit mobile app is not working 100% for me right now
Edit: There's also a book called Winner Takes All by Anand Giridharadas that I've been meaning to read, seems pretty relevant to this sub. The author gave an interview on Democracy Now recently.
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
Bullshit Jobs: A Theory
The Moral Landscape
I know you're a big reader. Have you read Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas ?
If you haven’t read Anand Giridharadas’s book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, it’s definitely worth a read. It’s about how the Davos crowd, the foundation people, the consultant class, the market apostles, they’re all about trying to change the world without having their world change.
Excellent comment! Also, this book seems right up your alley, have you read it yet?
Journalist Anand Giridharadas published a book 7 months ago, “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.” He's pointing out that
>“The college bribery scam is not a college bribery scam. It is a master class in how America—governed by a cheater, ruled by rule breakers, managed by a class that confuses its privilege for merit—functions.”
Just another example.
You mean I should trust your anecdotal experience instead of the hundreds of economists and historians? There's an entire book about it you know.
Find me any proof that Bono's stupid charity work has actually moved a single African country into a developed nation.
"An insider's groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to 'change the world' preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve."