World’s Richest Man Says: “Charity Doesn’t Solve Anything”

Source: Good: Business, Oct 17th 2010

Carlos Slim is the Mexican billionaire listed by Forbes as the world’s richest man. Although he has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to his own charities and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, his signature has not appeared on Gates and Warren Buffett’s  “Giving Pledge,” in which billionaires promise to donate half their fortunes to charity.

As the Wall Street Journalreports, while Slim was speaking at a conference in Sydney last month, he offered the following sentiment:

The only way to fight poverty is with employment. Trillions of dollars have been given to charity in the last 50 years, and they don’t solve anything. … To give 50 percent, 40 percent, that does nothing. There is a saying that we should leave a better country to our children. But it’s more important to leave better children to our country.Slim’s sentiments echo those of the Dead Aid author and economist Dambisa Moyo, who argues that the half century or so of foreign aid to African nations has failed to address root problems. Although neither Moyo nor Slim believe aid should be eliminated altogether, they both suggest prioritizing job creation over throwing money at problems.



4 thoughts on “World’s Richest Man Says: “Charity Doesn’t Solve Anything”

  1. This is a really good, but complicated point. I donate to charity, but sometimes I wonder whether it is more to make me feel good than to make the world a better place. There is just so much that needs to be taken care of – hunger, poverty, disease, education, conflict – one person, even if he or she is a billionaire, can’t even hope to make the dent. That’s why I prefer programs like Kiva that help people help themselves.

    • Thanks for the comment Emma, it certainly is a complicated area and complicated topic. It is interesting to hear other viewpoints. thanks for reading, Conor

  2. Sure half his fortune could generate plenty employment to allow better children being raised around the world, no?
    It’s all to do with the old about the fish and the fishing rod, in my opinion… but maybe I’m just a bit naive

  3. Years ago I was a member of “The Hunger Project” set up to educate the “haves” about the “Have nots” . Carlos is right about the results of some of our efforts. We can’t just feed the hungry and leave it at that but we can stop sucking the life out of the land and it’s people.

    Carlos has made his billions in a profit driven economy that had little or no regard for the impact it had on the people or the land it was drawn from. He needs to give something back.

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