Saturday, December 5, 2015

Zuckerberg Invests In A Better World

There is something undeniably unnatural in amassing wealth only to voluntarily give almost all of it away to strangers. The level of unnaturalness is only increased when the amount, worth 99% of the person's total shares in his own company , amounts to a neat pile of $45 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced making such an act of charity in order to “leave the world a better place“ for his newly born daughter and “all children“. This is, in effect, taking the perfectly normal desire to use one's wealth to better the lives of one's loved ones to its logical extreme: using money to make the world in which they will grow up and live in a better place.

As a role model for 21st century entrepreneurship, Zuckerberg sends out a powerful message for other high net worth individuals to emu late. More cynical (and perhaps less wealthy) observers will cite Zuckerberg's act of redistributing his considerable wealth--as they do with other philan thropists such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates--to be yet another act of cannin ness to be associated with one of Silicon Valley's most success ful protagonists. They are right. But only to the extent that the Facebook founder is not doling out his money in a fit of com mune-istic `I'm tired of material things' zeal but to make mate rial comforts more widely accessible to people lacking them.

Sure, nothing makes for a better brand endorsement than the face of Facebook being `unnaturally' generous. But the end re sult is Zuckerberg's wealth reaching people who need what money can provide and that they lack. For this breaking away from the herd, his announcement is to be lauded. It is part of a grander plan with one pivotal idea behind it that both individ uals and states should heed: to share wealth, one must first create, and then keep creating, it.

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