Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Offsite Post: ‘What Would Make US Billionaires More Generous?’


It is not uncommon to find comparisons of the decrepit United States Empire with the decaying late, pre-Christian Roman Empire.  In one area, the disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor, the US are not only comparable to the Romans – they surpass them.  A study in 2011 found the following:

Over the last 30 years, wealth in the United States has been steadily concentrating in the upper economic echelons. Whereas the top 1 percent used to control a little over 30 percent of the wealth, they now control 40 percent. It’s a trend that was for decades brushed under the rug but is now on the tops of minds and at the tips of tongues.


Since too much inequality can foment revolt and instability, the CIA regularly updates statistics on income distribution for countries around the world, including the U.S. Between 1997 and 2007, inequality in the U.S. grew by almost 10 percent, making it more unequal than Russia, infamous for its powerful oligarchs. The U.S. is not faring well historically, either. Even the Roman Empire, a society built on conquest and slave labor, had a more equitable income distribution.


To determine the size of the Roman economy and the distribution of income, historians Walter Schiedel and Steven Friesen pored over papyri ledgers, previous scholarly estimates, imperial edicts, and Biblical passages. Their target was the state of the economy when the empire was at its population zenith, around 150 C.E. Schiedel and Friesen estimate that the top 1 percent of Roman society controlled 16 percent of the wealth, less than half of what America’s top 1 percent control.

With the transfer of trillions of dollars to the world’s richest people because of covid, this inequality in the US has likely gotten even worse.  This wouldn’t be quite so bad if the super wealthy were using their money for good purposes.  In the Roman Empire, the richest class made good enough use of their money that we still admire their works today.  From the same 2011 study:  ‘But buried at the end, they make a point that’s difficult to parse, yet provocative. They point out that the majority of extant Roman ruins resulted from the economic activities of the top 10 percent.’  In other words, the Roman upper class was responsible for the aqueducts, theaters, temples, baths, etc., before which people stand in awe when they visit former Roman lands.

What have the US billionaires been spending their money on?  Nothing quite so admirable, unfortunately.  While there are some respectable projects funded by some of them, such as housing the poor and treating malaria patients, much of it is going towards a conglomeration of woke social justice nonsense, transhumanism, promoting a one-world government, and regime change operations.  A couple of examples, via Forbes:

Mark Zuckerberg & Priscilla Chan

Source of Wealth: Facebook

Net Worth: $112.8 billion

Giving Focus: Science, education, criminal justice

Lifetime Giving: $3 billion

The Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook) CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan, a doctor, have multiple ambitious goals, including to cure, prevent or manage all diseases. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, their philanthropic and advocacy organization, says it has given out $3 billion in grants since it was founded in 2015, backing scientific and medical research, as well as education and criminal justice reform. At the end of 2021, CZI announced a new, ten-year, $3.4 billion initiative focusing on measuring and analyzing biological processes in the human body. The effort includes the creation of an institute for advanced biomedical imaging and a hub at Harvard working on using AI and machine learning in biology and medicine.


Ted Turner

Source of Wealth: Cable television

Net Worth: $2.3 billion

Giving Focus: United Nations, environment

Lifetime Giving: $1.4 billion

If not for his $1.4 billion of lifetime giving, the man behind Turner Broadcasting and CNN wouldn’t have fallen off Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans in 2021. But it was only a matter of time: like many other philanthropic billionaires, Turner signed the Giving Pledge and will donate the majority of his wealth eventually–he’s just closer than most to reaching this goal. The bulk of his philanthropy came before 2014, when he completed a $1 billion pledge to establish the United Nations Foundation, enabling the U.N. to raise money from philanthropists. Turner’s own namesake foundation is focused on environmental protection, which he views as "an effort to ensure the survival of the human species."

It would seem that the States will not be getting much in the way of timeless architecture, useful public works, etc., from these folks.

Even worse, much of the billionaires’ donations are given in such a way as to further increase their wealth, i.e., to help themselves, rather than to truly help others:

 . . .

The rest is at https://orthodoxreflections.com/what-would-make-us-billionaires-more-generous/.


Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!

Anathema to the Union!

No comments:

Post a Comment