If you could have George Soros’ billions or solve all the problems for the world’s poor, what colour Ferrari would you buy?
It’s a joke.
It’s a joke that kind of suggests we don’t have a lot of respect for the very, very rich.
But you can’t blame the rich for being rich. Most of us would like to be.
And I have to say that, in fairness, on the few occasions on which I have been involved in fundraising for individuals who needed financial help in their medical situations, the very rich men I approached were more than generous and modest with it.
Which doesn’t answer this question: Why don’t every one of Ireland’s richest 250 people, give €10 million to a charitable fund to help solve, say, the homelessness problem?
I’ve looked at the list.
Those €10m donations would provide €2.5 billion to build hundreds of houses. And the poorest of the 250 richest would still have €35 million.
Double it, if they gave €20 million each you’d have €5billion and the poorest would still have €25 million. That’s about €24.99 million more than I have. And I consider myself to be rich in many, many ways.
Some on our rich list are well known, some are admired, some loved, some despised. Indeed, the ones generous to charities in which I was involved weren’t always the most loved.
But let’s go one step further.
What if each of our 250 richest gave up, say, 25% of their wealth?
That would leave our poorest rich man with just over €30 million. The richest would still have €12 billion.
And our charitable fund would have raised more than €10 billion to spend on housing and the other problems we see and hear of every day.
There’s another gag about the guy who said: “I always thought that, when I grew up, if I made billions of euro, I’d be happy. I was right.”
So why isn’t it spread around more than it is?
Yes of course I know many of our wealthy give up lots of their money, MORE than 20 % in some cases maybe.
But if they all did, if they showed us what can be done, what wealth is for, what generosity can achieve, wouldn’t it be a better world?