Taxes will probably not go to the same causes, e.g. reforming the bail system, grassroot efforts for migrants, etc.
Foundations are more effective than governments as they do their due diligence, e.g. Bill Gates. Reforming the government is a long battle.
Billionaire philanthropy isn’t too powerful. Its $10B annual budget is .25% of federal spending.
Billionaire philanthropy is not anti-pluralism. Billionaires saved stem cell research and Planned Parenthood. Billionaires work in parallel too, e.g. Bill and the CDC.
Democracy doesn’t automatically represent the popular will. Congress polls at 19% while Bill Gates is at 76%.
GiveWell does research to find the charities that do the most good with received donations. This research is free for everyone. GiveWell doesn’t take a cut from the donations. It’s a non-profit. GiveWell’s approach falls under the Effective Altruism (EA) umbrella.
Key tenets of EA:
- Impartiality (everyone’s well-being counts equally without regard to the individual identities of others)
- Comparing the relative importance of different causes and allocating resources among them objectively;
- Cost-effectiveness (large benefits for a given amount of money).
Criticism of EA:
- Illegitimacy of weighing causes and beneficiaries against one another
- Bias towards measurable (usually through randomized controlled trials) interventions
- Perceived neglect of radical economic change to address how some came to require assistance.
Against Against Billionaire Philanthropy. Scott Alexander. https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/07/29/against-against-billionaire-philanthropy/ . Jul 29, 2019.
Giving USA 2018: Americans Gave $410.02 Billion to Charity in 2017, Crossing the $400 Billion Mark for the First Time. https://givingusa.org/giving-usa-2018-americans-gave-410-02-billion-to-charity-in-2017-crossing-the-400-billion-mark-for-the-first-time/ . Jun 13, 2018.
Jack Dorsey gives $1B to fund global Covid-19 relief. Jack Dorsey. https://twitter.com/jack/status/1247616214769086465 . https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22807226 . Apr 7, 2020.
Bezos Donates $100m Each to CNN Contributor Van Jones and Chef Jose Andres. Oliver Darcy. https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/20/media/van-jones-bezos-100-million/index.html . https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27907600 . Jul 21, 2021. Accessed Jul 24, 2021.
MacKenzie Scott's Money Bombs Are Single Handedly Reshaping America. Sophie Alexander; Szu Yu Chen; Shera Avi-Yonah. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2021-mackenzie-scott-donations/ . https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28188844 . Aug 12, 2021. Accessed Aug 15, 2021.
Seeding by Ceding. MacKenzie Scott. https://mackenzie-scott.medium.com/seeding-by-ceding-ea6de642bf . Jun 15, 2021. Accessed Aug 15, 2021.
Effective Altruism - Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_altruism . Accessed Oct 20, 2021.