Wanted: Live billionaires

Speaking as a veteran in the NGO industry, Ethan Zuckerman enumerates the differences between working for a live and a dead billionaire.

I've never heard it put like that, Ethan.

He sheds some light on his experiences working with NGO's, the practicalities of giving away billions of dollars in assets and the serious business of philanthropy. One of the practical issues: in addition to the problem of giving that much wealth away (it's harder than it seems), recipients in many parts of the world are simply unable to soak up that much money, making "capacity building" a big part of Ethan's job.

Given the recent decisions by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, I found the post immensely interesting for all the reasons Ethan discusses. Here's another: I think the growing sophistication and success of NGOs calls into question what it means to govern, particularly when so many governments have utterly failed their people. It's a study in political science.


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