I just saw a story about Melinda Gates pledging to spend $1 billion toward gender equity in the next 10 years.
That’s a lot of money.
Think of what could be done with that money.
Of course, it’s her money, and she’s welcome to do with it as she pleases.
But the problem is that you never know who’s going to end up a billionaire, and what they’ll do with their money if they get there.
The ability to pledge one billion dollars toward anything you want is a very powerful thing. You can definitely affect real change with that sort of investment. But what if what you’re pledging your money toward is something people generally don’t want? What if what they want to do is harmful to society (usually a subjective thing, to be sure)?
The market consists of the actions of consumers, and it speaks with money. The market determines who’s going to be a billionaire – not because of personality, but because of products or ideas.
So, one creates something amazing that overtakes our culture, and over time, they’re a billionaire. We didn’t make them a billionaire because of what they think or who they are.
But the result of their billionaire-ness is that they now get to make influential changes to a culture in ways the market may decidedly not want.
Then people start wondering, if I had it all to do again, would I have given money to this person’s company if I knew I’d have to deal with them imposing their will on society (to the degree one can with money).
In the end, we’re all forced to give our money to government to spend in ways we never would. And then we willingly give money to a company who’s founder might turn around and use that money, that was once ours, to attempt to shape a world of which we want no part.
When do we get to use our money for things we want for our society?