Why it’s a good thing that the second richest man in the world is giving his fortune to the richest man in the world.
Warren Buffett, the 75-year-old billionaire who made his fortune as an investor, has given $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A very interesting article on Slate.com, “Wealthy and Wise” by Jacob Weisberg, provides some of Buffett’s rationale for doing such a thing.
Two things from the article that really struck me are:
Buffett’s views on the political subject of wealth are deeply American. Wealth like his can be justified temporarily as an expression of how much opportunity our social system affords. But passing it down across generations, he says, “flies in the face of a meritocratic society” and threatens to create the sort of aristocracy the founding fathers sought to prevent.
One of his [Buffett’s] aphorisms is that you should leave your kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing.
I couldn’t agree more.