Cerebral Shangrila

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Celebrity & Charity

Just because someone is rich and a celebrity , does it mean that he/she should get involved in Philanthropy and donate money to Charity ? Should he/she be vocal on social issues ? These questions do not have a satisfactory answer. A capitalist would argue that by being a tax-payer a celebrity/rich person is already contributing to the society whereas the socialists would ridicule such an answer ( remember " equality of man ").

I believe that it should be a matter of choice. While there is no denying that we all owe something back to the society, its no point ridiculing someone who fails to do so.Afterall its a matter of personal choice and freedom.

Wired magazine takes this argument to the next plane by comparing Bill Gates & Steve Jobs. It says " Until recently, Bill Gates has been viewed as the villain of the tech world, while his archrival, Steve Jobs, enjoys an almost saintly reputation.

Gates is the cutthroat capitalist. A genius maybe, but one more interested in maximizing profits than perfecting technology. He's the ultimate vengeful nerd. Ostracized at school, he gets the last laugh by bleeding us all dry.On the other hand, Jobs has never seemed much concerned with business, though he's been very successful at it of late. Instead, Jobs has been portrayed as a man of art and culture. He's an aesthete, an artist; driven to make a dent in the universe.

But these perceptions are wrong. In fact, the reality is reversed. It's Gates who's making a dent in the universe, and Jobs who's taking on the role of single-minded capitalist, seemingly oblivious to the broader needs of society.Gates is giving away his fortune with the same gusto he spent acquiring it, throwing billions of dollars at solving global health problems. He has also spoken out on major policy issues, for example, by opposing proposals to cut back the inheritance tax.

In contrast, Jobs does not appear on any charitable contribution lists of note. And Jobs has said nary a word on behalf of important social issues, reserving his talents of persuasion for selling Apple products.


  • I totally agree, it is an individuals choice, he or she may contribute in n number of ways, not necessarily just donating money.

    You have mentioned this in your blog somewhere - "don't just give a man a fish, teach a man how to fish"

    By Blogger Srihari SN, at 11:35 PM  

  • not the best way to compare 2 people - on grounds of charity and being a capitalist... if steve jobs is not a good giver - then he is not... if jobs is good at running his company he is good at running his company... how do we know for sure that jobs and gates are running their companies well and what is their contribution to charity? does chartiy always have to be done in public?? does charity mean only giving money to people? charity can easily take other forms? donating money and occuring on charity lists is definitely not the best way to judge the characters of these 2 people....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:04 PM  

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