Our reply to Jeff Bezos

Via our favorite website Marginal Revolution, we learned that Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos wants to become a philanthropist now. Here is an excerpt from Bezos’s “request for ideas” (via Twitter):

I’m thinking about a philanthropy strategy that is the opposite of how I mostly spend my time — working for the long term. * * * I’m thinking I want much of my philanthropic activity to be helping people in the here and now — short-term — at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact. If you have ideas, just reply to this tweet with the idea (and if you think this approach is wrong, would love to hear that too).

As our friend and colleague Robin Hanson might say: philanthropy is all about signaling how great the philanthropist is. If wealthy bros like Bezos (or Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg) really want to do the most good for the most people, they would start another (for-profit) new business venture.

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