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Thread: How come super wealthy people don't give more money away?

  1. #1
    No moss growing on me Array Giggly's Avatar
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    Default How come super wealthy people don't give more money away?

    Just give it away..... without making the recipients jump through hoops or "prove" themselves.

    If I had money like, say, Warren Buffet, I would just give it away. They wouldn't have to apply or write a grant request or an essay or a business proposal or whatever else wealthy folks require. He probably could have solved the issue of world hunger by now or saved a village of sickly diseased children.

    They certainly aren't spending the money on themselves or their family. ( so they have it to give away. I don't understand or admire rich people like this. They must live in their own head.

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  3. #3
    Ratchet Ass Moon Fairy Array Comeback Girl's Avatar
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    They do. It's called 'paying taxes'.

    Are you really sure you'd just give all that money away if you were that rich? I think once people get richer, they start adapting to it. I notice that once I get a pay raise I start spending more and I still end up with no money by the end of the month. As if it just comes naturally. I don't think I'd just give all that money away. I'd buy a huge boat with it. Other things too, but especially a boat. And I'd travel a whole lot and do crazy shit. Maybe pay some crazy people to haunt people I don't like. Anyways, after spending all that money on things I don't really need but I think I deserve, I don't think I'd have that much money left in the end. Money is difficult.
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  4. #4
    Wake, See, Sing, Dance Array Cellmold's Avatar
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    The more you have the more you believe you can lose.

    Or possibly it builds upon itself...stage by stage and as the money grows the options available in a world of currency become more varied, reducing money closes those options. And then a person doesn't want to lose those options.

    It sounds ridiculous considering just how much money the "super wealthy" potentially have. Of course defining the super wealthy in a more specific manner could take some time since the wealth is relative to others own monetary positions. But there is a certain level of paranoia and....dare I say it...greed involved.

    To me it smacks of the comfort over sacrifice mentality. It's easier to make hay now than sacrifice some hay in order to build a better field of hay tomorrow. Then again I'm not innocent in this.
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  5. #5
    trapped in zoobilee zoo Array Osprey's Avatar
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    Hard to say... I can anticipate saving a certain amount of money, and not spending it, but what they have is probably well beyond what anyone would need for savings. It is a waste to site on all that money and not put it to use.

    I don't know that living in their head has anything to do with it.

    If they actually did want to help, they could easily pay someone else to distribute that money for them.

    They are job creators, after all.
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  6. #6
    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    Note that a lot of the wealth of "rich people" is tied up in investments/businesses. If Warren Buffet or Bill Gates sold all of their investments at once, it would probably destroy wealth: dumping that much stock would make its value plummet. How much belt-tightening would Microsoft have to do if its stock value plummeted by half or more? How many people would lose jobs? How much money would other investors lose from that plummet? (E.g., 401k portfolios for retirement?)

    As for the rest of their wealth, they generally DO give large amounts of it away (billions - google it), at which point people start complaining about the huge tax break they get for giving away money to charity.

    It also helps to keep in mind that the converse point: if they don't sell off their investments/businesses, they generally create wealth. A problem with wealth/affluence on everyone's part is that having all of this stuff is typically taken for granted, not keeping in mind how it was created (because most people don't understand how it was created). Because the existence of wealth is taken for granted, and the process behind its creation is generally unknown, there is often a sense of great moral wrong that there is all of this "wealth" and that it needs to be shared with those who have less.

    Thus we end up with one of the ongoing debates of the modern era: the argument between those who understand how wealth is created and those who strongly feel the moral inequity of wealth distribution (who also often believe that such distribution is necessarily zero-sum - that those who have more money necessarily took it from those who don't).

    It's not a debate in which I am currently willing to engage (I've done so many times before, but at the moment the thought of doing so bores me), but framing it is the answer to the OP's question.
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  7. #7
    lurking Array Rasofy's Avatar
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    They love investing/profiting, and by sacrificing scale they would be taking some of the joy out of it.

    Chances are they have a testament destinating most of their money to charity.

    Unless they plan to build some sort of dinasty, like the Rothschild.

  8. #8
    He pronks, too! Array Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    This is a good question for you to ask. Not just to ask us, but more importantly to ask yourself and contemplate. It is one of the most important socio-economic issues. Rich people (including the less than super rich) as a group, spend less money as a percentage of their wealth than any other group, though they ironically could afford to do so more than any other group. Contrary to popular belief, this includes charity spending. Wealth inequality is a growing problem across most of the earth and particularly in the USA, and it is a crisis. If anyone tells you its unimportant, I'll have you know that the most popular wealth equality measure, the gini index, correlates positively with things ranging from GDP per capita, to functional literacy rates, to life expectancy, to employment, to functional democracy. In other word, it correlates with everything that makes a country worth living in.

    Now, it's hard to speculate exactly why super rich people have the habits they do. The reasons will no doubt vary to an extent, but let us generalize.

    They are just people, and I think a lot of rich people are effectively acting like anyone else would with their money, in spite of it having extended well past the point of being rational. They see money as a valuable thing, and they see it as something they earned (incorrectly or not), and as something that does pretty much automatically get taken, at least a little bit. In this situation most people make an effort to secure their money. There was a study, I do not have it on hand and wish I could remember the details better, but the basic gist was that shockingly rich people did not identify themselves as rich. They don't realize the objective reality of what kind of wealth they have.

    But the other thing is that, with Forbes 500 sort of people, they have so much value to their names that it is actually difficult to conceive of a way to get rid of that money. It actually escapes human comprehension. There are understandable reasons for not wanting to give your entire estate, or 75%, or half, all to one particular place without certainty that it is a good idea. But trying to sensibly manage a way to be charitable with all that money is challenging.

    Now, are rich people not the same but different from non-rich people in some way? Well, at the risk of being accused of committing "class warfare", there is a lot of research that indicates rich people are on average more antisocial than people with less money. There been like three different threads about that on this forum at least. You could find those if you wanted to see the debates of the finer details about why this would be the case. Or you can PM me.

    Regardless of how generally antisocial rich people are, we also know that there must be some particular bad actors. Some super rich people do have an insanely high opinion of themselves and no compassion, so they see no reason to give up a dime. And some super rich people are politically ambitious and understand that their money is power, and they can never have too much power. The problem is that even if they are minorities, sociopaths with a lot of power tend to have outsize influence.

    So in a nutshell: Any totally average working class person would probably also have problems comprehending the nature of their wealth and figuring out what to do with it if they were super rich, and super rich people on average may not even be as generous as the working class.
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  9. #9
    Certified Sausage Smoker Array Elfboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    Just give it away..... without making the recipients jump through hoops or "prove" themselves.
    1) they're not Sp last
    2) they're Id, not superego
    3) that would be horribly inefficient
    4) they got money because they like power, not because they want to give it away.
    5) rich people can do whatever the hell they want. when they do give (and most do considerably), it's not out of obligation, it's cuz they feel like it.

    If I had money like, say, Warren Buffet, I would just give it away. They wouldn't have to apply or write a grant request or an essay or a business proposal or whatever else wealthy folks require. He probably could have solved the issue of world hunger by now or saved a village of sickly diseased children.
    They certainly aren't spending the money on themselves or their family. ( so they have it to give away. I don't understand or admire rich people like this. They must live in their own head.
    you seem a bit misinformed about Warren Buffet
    That Mr. Buffett is willing to take this journey so publicly is a wonderful, highly portentous, development. Thus far, he has rejected the establishment of a mammoth, endowed “Warren Buffett Foundation” memorial to himself, using instead the good offices of an existing grant-making institution to effect his philanthropy. He has committed the vast preponderance of his fortune, 99 percent, to charity. He has shown a willingness to use his unassailable reputation and vast influence to effect similar behavior among mega-wealthy peers. Finally and most significantly, but effectively buried within his less publicized personal “pledge”, Mr. Buffett has promised that his entire charitable commitment will be expended within 10 years of his death, not preserved in a perpetual endowment.

    bottom line: they earned it, they can do what they want with it. society does not own their money, so it has no right to tell them what they should/shouldn't do with it. many rich people (either directly, indirectly or both) give back to society far in excess of what they've taken and peeps need to stop being entitled, whiny little bitches and leave them alone.
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  10. #10
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    In order to influence or control corporations, you must at minimum have a control block of voting shares. Much of Buffet's fortune is tied up in share ownership. If he liquidated all his assets, he could no longer affect corporate direction where the one time injection of the monies into charitable foundations wouldn't do very much in the long term.

    In maintaining control and subsequently donating monies on an annual basis, this is a win/win strategy.

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