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June 20th, 2010
02:11 PM ET

World's Richest Asked to Donate Half Their Fortunes

By CNN Intern Rachel Gaynes:
Two of America’s richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, have invited fellow billionaires to join a very exclusive club. They want them to give half their wealth to charity. The unusual initiative is being promoted through the website, “The Giving Pledge,” and is aimed at members of the Forbes 400. Philanthropist Eli Broad, worth an estimated $6 billion, was the first to make the promise. The pitch is framed as an ethical and moral issue. CNN’s Don Lemon discussed the provocative idea with Prof. Peter Singer of Princeton University, an outspoken advocate of using private wealth to alleviate global poverty.

Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Carl

    I'd prefer to see all of them taxed for the money so the distribution is even. This way the penny pinchers can't weasel out of giving their fair share to help humanity.

    June 20, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  2. Eddie Dex

    I admire and love Mr. Buffet, and if I were as wealthy as he, I would understand giving 25% of my wealth to charity, but for the sake of my family (close and distant), I couldn't see giving away 50%. Then again, according to the laws of sowing & reaping, he's bound to get even a butt-load more in return. I guess I would have to first talk to my family and then pray before doing such a thing. Nevertheless, be it 25, 35, or 50%, it's a beautiful thing to share your blessings to make the world a better place.

    June 20, 2010 at 5:53 pm |
  3. Donald Parker

    God bless the rich. They earned it. However, I just wish that one of these rich people would offer me a job. Unfortunately, i had made some bad decisions in my life which resulted in long term incarseration. Thus, since my release from prison in 2007, I've yet to find a job outside of working for day labor. I don't know what it means to have insurance, paid vacations, bonuses, or any of the other fringe benefits that come from working hard. I say all that to say this. Don't give your money away, but rather create a way in which people like myself, and the many others who are unemployed can legitimately earn a paycheck, and have a sense of dignity, and self worth. It sure beats looking for a donation from some charity.

    June 21, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  4. Pix

    It's about time! If you have $40 bn, are you really going to miss $20 bn of it? I don't think so.

    This isn't necessarily money earned with two hard-working hands; this is frequently money earned through stock options, buyouts and other financial instruments and investments.

    I do not think that this move reeks of communism, or any -ism other than altruism. Establish scholarships. Fund microloans. Sponsor cutting-edge scientific research; freeing it from the bureaucratic bit of 'apply and deny' for the vast majority of university scientists unattached to a major pharmaceutical firm or research foundation.
    This kind of money frees up talent that might otherwise be squandered making ends meet - not thinking about, designing and implementing the future.

    Unlike the previously incarcerated poster above me, I'm not suggesting that we use this money to create jobs for ex-cons; but perhaps we could help to educate them so that they can create their own jobs? He says,"Don't give your money away, but rather create a way in which people like myself, and the many others who are unemployed [ed. or underemployed] can legitimately earn a paycheck..." - that is exactly what education does, it teaches you to think creatively, intuitively, how to harness your ambition and initiative.

    If you were never taught to think properly, how can you be expected to compete with those who have been educated since birth to use logic, research and common sense instead of 'consult the manual?'

    June 22, 2010 at 8:43 am |