I remember an advert from 2007 of yet another Microsoft’s product - the Microsoft's Beginner Developer Learning Center. It used the face of the company to advertise the product in a very smart way – young Bill Gates, with that nerdy look, in a brilliant campaign with a slogan: “Inspiration starts somewhere”.
This was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw today’s news: Buffet with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation talking other billionaires into giving half of their wealth to charity.
The second thought was Johan’s post about the Eight Un-development Goals and his Economic Equality Goal. Definitely, Johan - I thought, a clear sign we are moving somewhere.
The project called "the Giving Pledge" is not a "legal contract" but a "moral commitment" (after: givingpledge.org) made by the billionaires involved to give away at least half of their wealth either during their lifetimes or after their deaths to a charity of their choice.
Whereas 50% is the minimum contribution, some families have already committed to sums far greater than that. The donors are able to decide the aim towards which their contribution is going and write it in a letter: "I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race," film producer George Lucas stated in his Giving Pledge letter.
Apart from Mr. Lucas, involved are over 40 richest men in the whole wide world : the New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the CNN founder Ted Turner, the entertainment executive Barry Diller, philanthropist David Rockefeller and oil investor T Boone Pickens, to name just a few - and many more are interested in joining the pledge.
Well, with the 403 billionaires currently living in the US (Forbes) there is still a way to go, but the money involved so far is gargantuan – according to today’s Forbes estimates the total pledged through the Giving Pledge comes to at least $120 billion to charity so far – an amount the whole working Poland (16.9 million people) would need to work for… 7 months.
The act sounds praiseworthy and its impact is still hard for me to imagine, especially when we think of the aftershocks of today’s global economy that are about to hit the developing world and standing up to meet the 8 MDG's.
However, with such big money involved, we, the simple people, the ordinary mortars, would now request you, the billionaires, for just one more pledge: please, BE TRANSPARENT.