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I've always wondered why so many rich and famous people pump money into charities and scholarships. (I know this is true in the US - not sure if that's the way it is in other countries). Do you think they really have good intentions, to help the "underprivileged," as they call it? Or maybe they're just unable to enjoy their wealth? Or.. is there something else in it for them?

How does that old saying go.. "Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Do you think this applies?

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I've always wondered why so many rich and famous people pump money into charities and scholarships.h? Or.. is there something else in it for them?

To increase there status with others who have also accepted the wrong morality based on the wrong premises.

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Mostly because they think it is right: i.e. they value the purpose to which they direct their money.

In that case, I have a followup Q: what constructive ways are there to spend excess money?

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In that case, I have a followup Q: what constructive ways are there to spend excess money?
I wouldn't call it "excess money", but there are a lot of places one may want to spend money to achieve values other than a monetary profit. There are a lot of options among legitimate values. Often some personal circumstance makes people focus on an area. For instance, a businessman in my county had a woman relative struggle with cancer. When he became a dot.com millionaire, he donated a huge amount to a cancer center. Someone else might prefer to focus on helping budding people in his own field: as Dean Kamen does through "FIRST". Yet another person may decide to set up a foundation to push his philosophical or political -- for instance the Petersen foundation concentrates on fiscal responsibility, the Anthem foundation helps Objectivist academics. Edited by softwareNerd

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In answer to the first question it's because they are told that it is the right thing to do, all through life we are told that the only reason to succed is to be a slave to those who's can't, and so when they have so much money they think back on what they where told and try to appear moral infront of the moochers.

In answer to the second question, Money is the door to happieness, If a ferrari would make you happy then buy a ferrari, that is what men work towards, lots can make men happy and I don'tthink anyone has enough to purchase it all.

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I know a lot of scholarship funds are created with the intention of helping others succeed in a certain field. Sometimes funding is determined based on social status (ie first generation college student, family's financial situation, area the applicant grew up in).. or demographics (race, sex, age).. sometimes it's determined based on extracurriculars (community service, leadership roles).. but in most of these organizations, ability (GPA, job rank, work samples) is ranked very lowly compared to these other criteria. It depends on the scholarship, but I would not feel good contributing to 3/4 of the ones out there, even though the cause is a noble one.

I guess I'm a little curious about the morality of donating money in general. On one hand, as Atlas- says, the donator is kind of supporting the second-hander (ie in the case of the scholarship requirements in the above example, where ability alone is not considered very important). But on the other hand, the donator probably gets value out of seeing others succeed due to his donations.

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Society gets stronger and more potent. That is why people feel good when helping other people.

Society gets stronger and more potent, resulting in more likely survival and reproducing of its members==>evolutionary advantage.

IMHO that is why people help each other.

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Society gets stronger and more potent. That is why people feel good when helping other people.

Society gets stronger and more potent, resulting in more likely survival and reproducing of its members==>evolutionary advantage.

IMHO that is why people help each other.

That is really an interesting way of viewing evolution. :blink: I don't think the reason that people donate money to others is so that they will physically survive and produce offspring. I think the reasons are much more humanistic than that (ie people want others to succeed and be happy with their lives).

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TBH 99.99% of most peoples actions are determined by our history. Our feelings are driven by evolution. You physicaly feel good when helping other people. That is because of the "reward hormones" system put there by our evolutionary history, even though those systems do not serve their intended function anymore. You can also donate goods, be it money, time or knowledge because it is the right thing to do philosophically and morally, but who the hell has that motive anyways :glare:?

FYI if you are wondering, i am pro rational altruism.

For now...

Edited by Pigsaw

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TBH 99.99% of most peoples actions are determined by our history. Our feelings are driven by evolution. You physicaly feel good when helping other people. That is because of the "reward hormones" system put there by our evolutionary history, even though those systems do not serve their intended function anymore. You can also donate goods, be it money, time or knowledge because it is the right thing to do philosophically and morally, but who the hell has that motive anyways :glare:?

FYI if you are wondering, i am pro rational altruism.

For now...

Sorry, I've taken many evolutionary bio classes and have never heard of "evolutionary driven feelings" or "reward hormones."

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TBH 99.99% of most peoples actions are determined by our history. Our feelings are driven by evolution. You physicaly feel good when helping other people. That is because of the "reward hormones" system put there by our evolutionary history, even though those systems do not serve their intended function anymore. You can also donate goods, be it money, time or knowledge because it is the right thing to do philosophically and morally, but who the hell has that motive anyways :glare:?

FYI if you are wondering, i am pro rational altruism.

For now...

Sorry but this is completely wrong, you obviously no nothing about evolution. Evolution is a selfish process carried out by genes. It is the function of the gene to try and replicate itself, think about how cells work they divide themselves and expand. It is the same with genes. When they started out genes where merely a bunch of chemicals. The most successful ones where those that managed to reproduce at the fastest rate and with the least variation. To much variation and they will no longer be the same, too slow and there wont be enough. It was only when the genes started to form machines to work for them that celled and multi celled organisms where born. By working in it's own interest the gene is able to succeed and reproduce. I have only explained it briefly here for more info read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

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It seems that i caused a misunderstanding.

Yes, i have read The Selfish Gene.

My point was that there is much more to evolution that one might think. For example evolutionary driven feeling. This might be an awkward expression, but please bear with me since English is not my first language. For example sex. Sex is uber awesome because if it wasn't uber awesome people/animals would not fuck and will not reproduce and in result will not have offspring and their genes will die. Same thing applies with happiness, love, fear, selfishness, altruism etc...

If you have a problem(bad expression i know) with altruism in evolution, and altruism being COMPLETELY irrational(we are talking evolution), feel free to tell me your reasons, i will hear you out . :worry:

Btw, read something about altruism in evolution and epigenetics , very interesting reads

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I guess I'm a little curious about the morality of donating money in general.
This is a little different from the original question about why people help (i.e. about all the rational and irrational reasons combined). Taking this question: donating money is one specific way of helping someone. So, one way of thinking about this is to ask "is it okay to help people?"

Now, take that question, and consider whether (say) a doctor helps his patient. Clearly he does; but since he does it for money, we're really not talking about that situation. So, to make the question more precise, we should ask ourselves: "Is it okay to help people without getting money in return?"

Taking this revised question, we're faced with situations like helping one's wife or friend with something. For instance, a friend's car breaks down and he needs a lift to a job-interview. Do you help, or do you say "only if you pay me cab-fare"? Assuming that there is no special reason this would inconvenience you, and assuming you would want your friend to get that job, it is reasonable to act toward that value. You mention Atlas Shrugged, and I suppose you're thinking of the token payment when a friend borrows a car. That's a custom invented to stress the idea that one is not acting from altruism, but that one derives value from "help". Of course, a token payment is not a value worth getting: so, there must be some real value involved beyond that token payment. The important question is not whether a token payment (a tiny value) was received, but whether there is some really meaningful value achieved. You would help your friend because you value your friend, not because they pay you a token payment.

Typically, innovators are trying to fix something or make something better. Henry Ford, Edison and so on are primarily driven by this. When someone who has made money like that decides (say): "I'm going to tackle poor education", the best motivations are not much different from "I'm going to make a car". Getting paid for it need not be part of the motivation.

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I've always wondered why so many rich and famous people pump money into charities and scholarships. (I know this is true in the US - not sure if that's the way it is in other countries). Do you think they really have good intentions, to help the "underprivileged," as they call it? Or maybe they're just unable to enjoy their wealth? Or.. is there something else in it for them?

I'm not going to psychoanalyse their motives, but the fact is that the dominant theme of our culture is one of altruism, one where a man is heralded as moral not for making millions but for giving money away. The businessman is not congratulated for providing a great product and service to consumers at a profit, but only when they "give back to society" (I hate that term). In our culture people receive psychological rewards when they give to other people, the rich man likely feels good about himself for giving money - less guilt about amassing riches beyond the imagination of the 99%. This is the culture in which the rich min finds himself, the culture that serves us trash like this from a business paper... http://www.businessweek.com/management/idolize-bill-gates-not-steve-jobs-11012011.html?campaign_id=rss_topStories If a rich man does not have a strong grounding in philosophy, he will very likely accept the moral message of the altruist, even though his life is testament to its impracticality.

It is possible for a rich man to give away millions of dollars entirely rationally. I'm not just talking of rationally self-interested motives like funding research into diseases you may die of, but if you have more money than you could ever spend and if you value education, then supporting schools in Africa is entirely rational even though you won't directly benefit.

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I'm not going to psychoanalyse their motives, but the fact is that the dominant theme of our culture is one of altruism, one where a man is heralded as moral not for making millions but for giving money away. The businessman is not congratulated for providing a great product and service to consumers at a profit, but only when they "give back to society" (I hate that term). In our culture people receive psychological rewards when they give to other people, the rich man likely feels good about himself for giving money - less guilt about amassing riches beyond the imagination of the 99%. This is the culture in which the rich min finds himself, the culture that serves us trash like this from a business paper... http://www.businessw...=rss_topStories If a rich man does not have a strong grounding in philosophy, he will very likely accept the moral message of the altruist, even though his life is testament to its impracticality.

Businessmen are congratulated for their products. Notice how people are willing to pay top dollar for name-brand items (iPods/iPads) instead of (mp3's/netbooks) that are significantly cheaper? The amount is reflected by how many people buy the products and in what quantity. Imo, that is a direct indication of the value of your product. I don't know that any other form of congratulation is necessary.

Thanks for sharing that article. What shocks me the most is that last line. "As much as I love Apple, Inc, I would happily give up my iPhone to put food on the plates of starving children." One of the comments reads, "So did you give up your iPhone?" :huh: Exactly what I was thinking. The answer is definitely "No." I agree that it is noble to help out others, and that it really depends on who you're helping and why.

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@Michele

Good lord, this tripe was in the Harvard Business Review and Businessweek?

Sounds more like something that would be in a college newspaper run by extremely liberal business students. (Oxymoron?)

There's no reason a person can't own both an iPhone AND support worthy causes. Giving to help others and enjoying your life do not have to be two opposite extremes.

Oh, and EVERYONE is guilted into sacrificing themselves to others regardless of status.

Gotta save everyone, and if you don't stop to save random strangers, you're an "evil" cold-hearted human being.

Realistically, if everyone spent all of their time and money "helping", no one would have anything. There are always going to be problems, and inequality.

We just have even more of it because far too many people believe Left-wing thinking is somehow "fair" and helps the poor.

Every time the government subsidies something, it just drives the cost of it up for everyone, especially the poor. (Not an economist, please forgive my lack of knowledge).

Apple uses a lot of open source technology, and gives the rest of the tech(and to a degree, design) industry a benchmark.

Most of OSX is "free". (Most of the non-pretty stuff that makes OSX operate is open source from a few different projects)

Being an "evil" for-profit premium brand allows them to craft products that are experiences, rather than commodities. (Happy to be a greedy, capitalist owning Macintosh user.)

Edited by VoltageControl

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For the sake of completeness, here is Rand's take on the subject of donating money.

(Taken from The Ethics of Emergencies, The Virtue of Selfishness, page 53)

"If one's friend is in trouble, one should act to help him by whatever nonsacrificial means are appropriate. For instance, if one's friend is starving, it is not a sacrifice, but an act of integrity to give him money for food rather than to buy some insignificant gadget for oneself, because his welfare is important in the scale of one's personal values. If the gadget means more than the friend's suffering, one had no business pretending to be his friend."

I think this quote takes Softwarenerd's comment above and condenses the idea a bit.

No, giving away money is not morally wrong, provided that one does not lose value from the transaction. I think that this can be extended also to relative strangers or to organizations by means of large scale donation. It is not by no means evil to contribute a few thousand dollars to ARI if one has enough money to do so, and holds the spread of Objectevist thinking as a value. It is not immoral for ARI to give out a few hundred dollars in scholarship money as a reward for a well written essay; it both promotes the well being of upcoming Oists, and it provides a value for ARI.

I just read this bit a short time ago, and felt it could be well applied here.

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I think there's a big reason for why people make large donations to things that is being missed here, especially by those who are attributing it all to guilt or an altruistic morality in the culture. Prestige is huge. When you give a lot of things away, this is a form of social signaling - first of all, that you HAVE a lot of things to give (i.e. you are strong/capable) and secondly, that you are "good" (that is to say, you accept the standards of the larger society enough to behave in pro-social ways). This type of prestige has a lot of practical benefits to the giver. Throughout human history, in multiple cultures across multiple times, "big men" in their various forms typically maintain their power structure by giving away things. Hell, some of it is just down to name recognition. Why do you think folks who give to colleges only seem to want to build buildings? To get their name on it, that's why.

When societies first ceased to be egalitarian (politically), people gained power and influence by giving things away. Essentially, you can "buy" favor in this way. It's on the same spectrum as politicians giving favors through policy or just their personal connections. I'm not saying that people don't give for genuine motives. I'm also not saying that no one gives out of guilt over their success. However, I think that the prestige that comes with being the "favor giver" or the "magnanimous one" is being vastly underplayed here. Most people are in it for the social benefits.

I don't know what poster it was talking about evolution but you've been reading some bad science, dude. It's true that our emotional responses have in large part been shaped by evolution, but not in the extremely straightforward way you describe. I also think you've dramatically underestimated the role of rational calculation. Consider the ingroup-outgroup dynamics that dominated most early human evolution, then tell me if you still think giving favors to group members is altruistic.

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"If one's friend is in trouble, one should act to help him by whatever nonsacrificial means are appropriate. For instance, if one's friend is starving, it is not a sacrifice, but an act of integrity to give him money for food rather than to buy some insignificant gadget for oneself, because his welfare is important in the scale of one's personal values. If the gadget means more than the friend's suffering, one had no business pretending to be his friend."

I feel that if you donate money to a friend/family member, there are always strings attached. You will be indebted to them until you're able to pay them back. I've read in a few places that it's okay to take money from a family member, if they give it to you for the right reasons (they value you and want to see you happy).. but does anyone really give without wanting something in return? And does anyone ever take without feeling indebted?

If the situation is not drastic (ie no one is starving or dying), then when is it right and when is it wrong to donate money to a friend/family member? Maybe it's just contextual and the it depends on the people involved, and what their motives are.

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