Our collective desire to accumulate and consume seems more prevalent than ever. The notion of success, money and ‘stuff’ has been fostered since the days of capitalism’s founding father, Adam Smith, began espousing his economic theories in the 18th century. The world now is, of course, a very different place but we can see that the maxim of ‘more is more’ is firmly rooted in much of the western world’s psyche. So, it’s refreshing to see a new breed of philanthropist emerging in the last decade – using wealth as a tool for social betterment. In short, it has become trendy to leave the world with nothing left in your account because you’ve given it all away. And this is a good thing.
This Zen-like stance has been propagated and loudly trumpeted by some of the biggest financial players in the world – Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Charles Feeney. The latter has had an interesting interview with the New York Times, and elaborated on his Buffett-esque philosophies and giving nature. Like the Midwestern values of Buffett, this billionaire flies coach class, wears unostentatious clothing and has been donating his billions to good causes – “medical care, education, criminal justice advocacy and peace-building initiatives,” since the early 80s, according to the article. Read the rest of this entry →