The philanthropic world is still buzzing from a summer of
incredible generosity from Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Jackie Chan (yes,
the one who does all his own stunts!). But while many, including myself, have
seen these developments as "the
starting line in the super-hyped transfer of wealth”, some people have seen
fit to complain. Bloggers around the world argued that Buffett and
Gates 1) really should have given even more, 2) were just exploiting a
"tax loophole", and 3) would not end up giving the money to the "right" causes.
Financial Times columnist Tim Harford recently argued over at Slate.com
that "Charity Is Selfish".
Harford seems to believe that giving back to your community isn’t really
admirable unless you get no joy out of the gift. This kind of world view is
something that we need to overcome as a society for the Second Great Wave of
Philanthropy to really get going. The fact is giving IS joyful. Anyone who has
ever given money or time to help someone else knows that no matter how
"selfless" the act may be, the giver often gets just as much out of
the gift as the receiver. The joyful nature of giving is something for us to celebrate, not try and avoid.