By Rick Cohen
Comment from Old-Thinker News: The art of “Scientific Giving” was pioneered by John D. Rockefeller. Not only do donations to various charities enable wealthy philanthropists to hide their wealth in tax exempt foundations, control is gained over the organization. Today’s mega-philanthropists like Bill Gates have utilized this concept to effectively control the development of entire sectors of society.
Felix Salmon, the finance blogger at Reuters, has some questions about how philanthropic billionaires calculate their net worth. For example, given that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have announced huge donations to their foundations and other charities, shouldn’t that have knocked them down from second and third place in Bloomberg’s billionaires index, putting them behind IKEA’s Ingvar Kamprad in fourth place, Oracle’s Larry Ellison in seventh, the two Koch brothers in eighth and ninth places, and Newt Gingrich’s pal Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands in eleventh place?
Salmon concludes that Gates and Buffett have pledged to give most of their money away, but haven’t yet done so. Despite his pledge, the actual amount that Buffett has given away so far is about $10.8 billion (132 million shares of his stock), which knocked his net worth down from $55.9 billion to $45.1 billion. If one assumes no change in Bill Gates’s ranking in second place at $63.4 billion, that would still rank Buffett as the third richest person on earth.