It’s hard to fathom how much money one billion dollars is, let alone $180.6 billion – Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’s current net worth. Irish-American fantasy novel writer Theresa Searcaigh posted this question on her Twitter feed: If billionaires have so much money, why don’t they use it to end poverty? (1,2)
Tumblr user Olivesawl responded, explaining why this is so.
Man Explains Why Billionaire Don’t Use Their Money To End Poverty
Olivesawl starts by pointing out this simple fact: If you’re the kind of person who would use your billions to “fix” world problems, you will likely never become a billionaire in the first place. (1)
Why? Because to make billions, you need to sacrifice a lot of things, primarily worker’s wages and quality of life, to protect your bottom line. You value profit over everything else. (1)
He knows this because his dad owned a business his entire life. He explains that while the business was profitable, he never grew it.
“I ask him once why he never grew it, and he said it’s nearly impossible without climbing on someone’s back–your vendors, your customers, your employees. Particularly that last one.” he wrote. (1)
The thing is, the type of person who wants to use their success in business doesn’t wait until their business is big to be a good person. For these people, maximum profit is not more important than the health, job satisfaction, and general happiness of their employees and other stakeholders.
“The very first time you have to choose between your own profit and your employees’ health insurance, you choose the later. You give maternity leave even though the government doesn’t make you. You dock your own salary to not lay people off during a recession. You have adequate staffing and reliable hours.” (1)
You Don’t Need to Walk All Over People to Achieve Success
Olivesawl’s dad ran a successful, profitable business for over 30 years and never once had to post a help wanted ad. Turnover was low because employees were paid well and felt valued. When someone did leave, a referral took their place. (1)
By these standards, his dad was successful. However, some might say he was not as successful as someone like Jeff Bezos because he wasn’t a billionaire. This is false – each man just had different priorities.
“If you don’t prioritize extracting profit from every corner of your business, you never become rich enough to give billions away.” (1)
Other people commented, agreeing with what Olivesawl said.
“My father also owns a small business, and he follows this rule, cutting back his own pay to keep from laying people off, giving out bonuses and/or raising wages when profits were coming in, etc.,” one commenter said. “We lead a good life, and he’s been successful and comfortable, but we’re not millionaires. And you know what? We don’t need to be. Nevermind billionaires.” (1)
Some people agreed saying that to get there you have to be pretty brutal, however, once you get there you don’t have to be. They pointed to Bill Gates, who has used his billions for many planet and humanity-assisting projects. However, many still question how ethical his business practices are.
The Reality of Billionaires
Olivesawl’s main point is that the type of person who becomes a billionaire is driven by money above all else. Those who care about their employees and value an ethical business model over expansion and wealth will be successful, but they won’t ever be billionaires. (1)
So unless you plan on going against your morals for a couple of decades in order to get there, too, chances are you will never be able to donate billions to charity causes.