Billionaires Do Something

May 27, 2009

This post at Cafe Hayek reminded me of a news story last week that reported on a power meeting of billionaires Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg.  What they discussed wasn’t clear, but the reporters think the billionaires were exploring what they could do with their wealth to help charities in this rough economy.   I believe Diane Sawyer speculated that they were sharing “what worked.”

I’m not billionaire, but I do have thoughts on “what works”, especially with these four.

These four have created tremendous value for the people who choose the products their businesses produce, those employed by their businesses,  those who sell things to these folks and other shareholders of their businesses.

I love charities and if they want to support charity with the private property they’ve earned honestly by producing value through voluntary exchange, that’s their choice.

But, I think the biggest impact these four can have on the economy is to continue doing what they’ve done best: run their businesses well and encourage others to do the same.

I know that doesn’t produce highly visible, tear-jerking Extreme Home Makeover “MOVE THIS BUS!” experiences, but think about it.  Over the last 50 years what’s improved the standard of living for everybody the most?  Charitable organizations or private industry?

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