Friday 10 November 2017

In defence of billionaires

LATER: Ben Shapiro also hates The Guardian article: above.

The three richest people in the US — Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett — own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population or 160 million people. 
That's the eye-popping opening of The Guardian article reprinted in your paper today ("Top three in US own more than bottom half", 10 November). 
One's first reaction is likely: "my goodness that's a moral crisis!"
Indeed, those are the very words of the report's author, the progressive Institute for Policy Studies. The growing wealth gap, it asserts, is "not just bad economics, it's a moral crisis."
But is it? 
These three billionaires have committed to use for charity or to donate fully 99% of their wealth before they die (that’s a quarter of a Trillion dollars). 
Both Gates and Buffett have started that process. Think Gates' anti-malaria campaigns in Africa and Buffet's massive donations to the Gates Foundation (the largest ever). They are donating immense wealth and expertise to the poorest people in the world, not just to those in the bottom half of America, the world's richest country. 
Can we really assume that a government, any government, would make better use of the money than these three wealth-creating, wealth-distributing geniuses?  
The opposite is likely the case. 
Or imagine instead that they gave away all their money to these 160 million Americans. Do we really think $1,550 per person would alleviate poverty? 
The opposite is likely the case.
Organisations such as the Institute for Policy Studies seem to assume that billionaires' wealth is simply lying around, idle. But it is used to the immediate benefit of millions of employees and billions of the world's poorest. 
What would the IPS have us do with the money if it were not under the control of these storied philanthropists?  
The IPS doesn't say. But we can infer its intentions from its past support of communist governments. It would no doubt welcome "radical redistribution".  That is, radical appropriation, aka communism. 
We have seen where that can lead: think Mao's China or today's Venezuela and North Korea. 
It is such countries that are "bad economics"; it is such countries that create a "moral crisis". Not the careful stewardship and charitable spending by billionaires for the benefit of humankind. 

Pf, etc