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The Poorest of the Earth Depend Entirely on the actions of the Richest August 4, 2006

Posted by earthlingconcerned in Philanthropy.
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Two nations, between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws. – Benjamin Disraeli, 1845

The title to this article can be seen as all of obvious, insulting, hypocritical, and/or desperate in any number of possible combinations or all on their own. The depending characteristic relies entirely on the beholder, and that is why a consensus on the titles verity will be eternally disputed. This lampooning of word order that I just put you through, however, is not nearly as confusing as what the title actually implies. Much of human history has argued that there should be no such thing as the wealthier and that it is therefore foolish to rely on them. Conversely, human history has also laid claim that the competitive nature of achieving wealth is essential for progress. Regardless of ongoing polar opposites of fundamental thought within our planet, one thing that should be abundantly clear is that the current distribution of wealth is unbalanced. My personal opinion is that it is disgustingly so. How then, can the richest of the world change all of this? The quick answer is simply to remove Robin Hood as the middle man. But to suggest this is a quagmire of human nature. Or is it?

As of yet, the largest effort to balance out the status quo has been given to the governments to tackle. This is done on a domestic level, as well as internationally through intergovernmental pacts and commitments. The International Monetary Fund, The World Bank, The United Nations, just to name a few, are essentially in place to assist by bringing unity and comfort to places that lack it. But the good intention set forth by the doctrine of some aspects of these bodies and the reality of what takes place are often far apart. In regards to the UN, and the often quoted Millennium Development Goals, plan to erase many of the root causes of poverty. But the goal the financial obligation of the wealthiest nations to give 0.7% of their annual GDP has not been realized by any means (once again, fingers can be pointed at the largest earners). As of 2002, total aid equaled just 0.2% and hasn’t seen any significant change in the mean time. That’s $53 billion a year vs. while the agreed upon percentage would equal $175 (USD). That’s a lot of money to expect to give away right? Sadly, it is not, the United States spends $420 billion annually on defense and the world GDP is over $44 trillion (with the US making up over a quarter of this amount yet they give out a mere 0.14 of the agreed upon 0.7). The situation with the IMF and the World Bank are similar. The money just isn’t coming in. You can’t win a war if you can’t feed the army. Ethiopia is an example of how the international community is failing as stated in The End of Poverty (Jeffrey Sachs),

We are stuck in a shadow play. In public, the IMF says how well things are going in Ethiopia; in private, it recognizes that aid for Ethiopia is insufficient for the country to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The March 2004 IMF-World Bank Joint Staff Assessment of Ethiopia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (on the IMF’s Web site) does not breathe a word about the need to scale up donor financing significantly if the MDGs are to be achieved.” – The End of Poverty (Jeffrey Sachs)

Essentially, the point I’m trying to make is that the MDGs agreed upon by the wealthiest nations of the world will, baring a drastic turnaround, not be realized by their designated deadlines. This is nothing new. The 1978 pledge of “Health for All by the Year 2000” obviously hasn’t been met. The pledge at the World Summit for Children in 1990 that promised universal access to primary education yet 130 million or more were not in school by that age. But who is to blame? Are these impossible goals? Can you relate their failures to someone who blames the scientist for failing to create life? I would suggest no. The resources are available, they’re just not being used.

So if the governments of the world are failing to give fuel the international bodies set up to solve these issues aren’t working, what’s the solution? How about the wonderful world of philanthropy! The two wealthiest people on the planet have agreed to give away most of their fortunes (Warren Buffett alone is in the process of donating 85%, approximately $37 billion USD worth, of his total wealth). The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is the largest of its kind in the world, ever. But raw money isn’t the solution. Blind donations to poorer governments throughout the 20th century has proven very costly. Within Africa alone, the outdated model of pure monetary contributions from on government to another lead to wealthy dictatorships, horrible decisions in infrastructure development and the like. But modern philanthropy isn’t about the donation of raw money to those who won’t use it appropriately (in defense of the international bodies mentioned above, neither is their approach). There are generally two ways philanthropist bodies donate their wealth. The first being in the fields of “cultural exchanges, educational scholarships, research and training programs and the dissemination of information about international matters.” (The Parliament of Man, Paul Kennedy) The other, the one most relevant to this article, is one that offers practical support to human rights groups and funds environmental, agricultural and medical research. Better known foundations like the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation have both contributed greatly throughout the 20th century but the new emergence of philanthropists mentioned above are on a different level. At the end of 2003, the Ford foundations total assets were at $9.97 billion, which allowed for annual grants of $489 million. Charitable organizations (in the United States) are obliged to give at least 5% of their worth on a yearly basis. After Warren Buffets donations to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they will be required to give away a minimum of $2.8 billion a year (over six times what the Ford Foundation is able to spend). I don’t want to get too caught up in numbers but basically I’m saying that Bill Gates and Warrant Buffet are working on a scale that hasn’t been seen before.

So what do I suggest? These contributions by the wealthiest still don’t come close to the current average of 0.2% given by the nations of the world $53 billion. But it’s not bad for two people vs. the governments of over six billion (yes, I realize this comparison is ludicrous, but I like making minor points here and there). So Where are you Carlos Slim Helu (number three in wealth) or Ingvar Kamprad (4), or Lakshmi Mittal (5) or Paul Allen (6). The list goes on. Historically speaking, the largest foundations have come out of America, mostly liberally minded billionaires who probably feel that twang of guilt every time they realize the reality of the world. So maybe I should discriminate to the Americans, Paul Allen, where are you?!? Your $30 million in annual grants isn’t enough anymore, the stakes have been raised, you can do more! I’m sure Paul Allen is reading this right now. One can argue the problem with giving all the wealth away, if the 50 richest people in the world gave their riches away, entire economies will be weakened considerably. Yet, that is sort of the point isn’t it? Monkey see, monkey do. If the richest donate significant levels of money, I would think a trickledown effect will take place. The argument of the upper-middle class of placing blame on the wealthy won’t make as much sense anymore and subsequently it becomes the responsibility of all those able to do their part. Sure, all of this likely won’t happen any time soon. But until it does, we really will be living on two worlds, the rich and the poor. Go Paul Allen, it’s your birthday, We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday, We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s yo birthday, ‘Cause you know we don’t give a fuck It’s not your birthday! It’s time for humanity to prove its own history wrong by showing that we really do live on one world together. Just my two cents, or should I say, 50?

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Comments»

1. Earthling Concerned » Why Bill Gates is my Hero - August 11, 2006

[…] It was just a few days ago that I wrote an article about the recent emergence of the new philanthropist movement. With Bill Gates and Warren Buffett promising billions of dollars towards a mélange of disease related research, I argued that this will hopefully be a sign of things to come (I’m looking at your Paul Allen). With the sixteenth annual AIDS Conference starting this Sunday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a further $500 million (USD) pledge towards the United Nations’ Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This comes mere weeks a similar donation of $287 million (USD) by the foundation to a series of HIV/Aids research teams across the world. It will be pointed out that these donations could still be considered small time expenditures considering what the countries of the world promise on a yearly basis. Actions, sadly, do speak louder than words. […]

2. Your Father - August 16, 2006

Sadly. Life is sad. Judgement is unholy (lest ye be holy. But be ye holy, ye “judgements” wouldn’t be “judgements” in the way we thinking of them), it is written in the Bible. Whats “sad” are moral righteousnesses governing thoughts of intelligent young beings who are developing their opinions and judgements. Bono is a prime example of a moral superiority complex gone bad. AIDS is “bad” but bad exists. Without destruction there could be no creation. Creation would itself be “bad” if there were no balance. From the concrete presence of beings like spiders, to desease and the very existence of decay – the shuffling of life from this mortal coil – to the symbolic existence of vampires, grim reapers and the like; death and suffering exist in symbiosis with “good” and healthy life. To brow beat in a Michael Moorian fashion about how bad people and society are for “not caring” is silly. In Rousseau’s state of nature, no one would be stopping AIDS or helping those who are living with it. Moral relativity is the context in which all the horrible things that exist naturally on our planet should be read.

But i suppose the dilemmna comes from the proverbial Line in the African sand that has been drawn between Rich and Poor. The issue is the misappropriation of wealth worldwide then? AIDS clearly effects the poor to a significantly greater degree than the rich. This is also, clearly, a direct effect of the aforementioned misappropriation. Even still, i think to be “judging” the rich who do not donate money to Poor people living with AIDS as “bad” and holding the rich who do up on a pedestal for “setting a good example” is ludicris. The problem is in the system. It was designed by richies so that they could keep their money. The way the world works (economically) has been set in stone. Until we change that, giving away money and being a cool philanthropist will not fix any of these problems on a more than superficial level.

3. GODS TRUTHFUL ALL WORDS KING JAMES HOLY SCRIPTURES.2 TIMOTHY 3:16 AND 2PETER1:20:21. - October 22, 2006

read the king james holy bible all the time all and keep reading and watch what happenes.only by faith, before you die at any time get ready and prepare your destiny, i love you forever in christ jesus god almighty iam he is all in one we are the elected chosen true born again most loving christians in the jesus god kinged christ the lamb of gods glorified greatest grace in me to you freely given for you to know the truth of life everlasting in jesus god christ almighty.

4. janiie - December 31, 2006

are you sure about that?

5. Rachel - September 4, 2007

http://www.digitalcharity.com/

Please visit this site, there are people there who are truly desperate, but there are also scammers, and liars, but if you’re like me, you will know the difference…people are hurting so badly everywhere, surely those of you out there with more than enough can see your way clear to help somebody, just “one” somebody, please, for the love of God…Please…

6. parmin - January 31, 2008

Dear/ sir Madam
Top Management

I hope you cast aside money for me, because i will
learn to university but i have not money/ very impecunious.
I will develop technological science, following my
identity for the shake of technologicalgrowth.
NAME : PARMIN
ADDRESS : DEPOK SUKORENO SENTOLO KULONPROGO
CITY : KULONPROGO
PROVINCE : YOGYAKARTA
ZIP CODE : 55664
SEX : MALE
AGE : 24
COUNTRY : INDONESIA

I hope you transfer to :
Name bank : BNI
Account number : 0139194077
branch office : UGM Yogya
Name : Parmin

May God bles you, thanks.
I hope is honest of you,

7. Why Bill Gates is my Hero :: earthling.concerned - February 18, 2008

[…] was just a few days ago that I wrote an article about the recent emergence of the new philanthropist movement. With Bill Gates and Warren Buffett […]

8. Nwakaego Obirieze Nwoko - May 12, 2008

We love you for your generousity in helping humanity. Remain blessed forever.
Nwakaego Obirieze Nwoko
The President- Niger Delta Women Outreach
Nigeria

9. Pat Williams - June 16, 2008

Cool site.

10. Why Bill Gates is my Hero - earthling.concerned - October 16, 2008

[…] was just a few days ago that I wrote an article about the recent emergence of the new philanthropist movement. With Bill Gates and Warren Buffett […]

11. cheritycall - October 27, 2008

hi, Do something to help those hungry people from Africa or India,
I added this blog about that subject:
in http://tinyurl.com/6kv7fu

12. think and grow rich - December 2, 2010

Seeing that we already happen to be discussing points regarding The Poorest of the Earth Depend Entirely on the actions of the Richest Earthling Concerned, Whether you’re having trouble financially or you just would like to earn some extra cash on the side, there is normally a way for you to create that revenue without having to bend over backwards to get it.


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