Sunday, March 14, 2010

10 Richest People in the World All White Males - 8 are Self Made Men! Should We Expect Them to Pay Back Society and Fix Their Country's Ills?

Rambling Thoughts: The other day, Ultima asked me to talk about Carlos Slim, who Forbes Magazine said was the richest man in the World.

Ultima said:
"Now that Carlos Slim Helu has been declared the richest man in the world can we expect him to unveil a master plan for improving the lot of ordinary Mexican citizens and perhaps enticing some of them to return from the U.S?. Will he be subject to the same kind of criticism Wall Street bankers were in this country? What has actually done for el Indio Pobre de Mexico? His wealth is obscene and he should hasten to put it to work for his people. I'm not talking about museum and libraries with his name on them. I'm talking about using his wealth to achieve real social change in Mexico, defeat the drug lords, stop the killings in the border towns, and providing free tubal ligations and vasectomies as well as other birth control advice. With that kind of loot, he could probably even persuade the Pope to change the Catholic Church's view of birth control and abortion. Where's post on Slim's efforts to improve the lot of ordinary Mexicans? ..What would Obama say: let's redistribute some of Slim's wealth to pay for the repatriation of all illegal aliens and their minor children and to provide jobs for them in Mexico at a living wage."

Obviously Ultima is angry that a brown person is on the top of the list and upset Slim didn't use his money to clear up Mexico's economic problems. My question: Why didn't he say the wealth of the other men is obscene?

I decided to pull the Forbe's list of top 10 richest billionaires in the world. (see list above) I also looked up the reason they amassed their fortunes. Slim became rich because he made wise investments in telecom in the 1990s. Gates invested in his own business - computer software (Microsoft). Warren Buffet, another US Citizen, was next on the list. He invested in Investing.

All three men are philanthropists. They donate a significant amount of their money into improving our society. Slim donates millions into Mexico City's urban renewal. Bill and Melinda Gates have established a charity foundation. Warren Buffet donates a significant amount to charity.

It is interesting that the 10 richest people are all white males. I think Ultima finds it offensive that the man on the top of the list is Latino. He asked why Slim didn't fix all of Mexico's economic problems because he was so rich. Ultima didn't mind that most of the men on the list were from America, Europe and India and most were NOT doing anything to resolve their nation's economic problems, even with all of our dire economic troubles.

I found it interesting that 8 of the top 10 were self made men and did not inherit their wealth. And the two who inherited their wealth, inherited Oil and Steele. Most made their money from Technology and two made their money from Fashion. (You could say technology supported fashion due to innovation).

As long as the rich pay their taxes, I don't believe they "owe" us, the general public, anything more. They don't have to pay for the poor or stop drug abuse or all the ills of society. I think it is nice they voluntarily pay back society through their charitable foundations.

I certainly hope that Ultima is not making this request only of Carlos Slim. If he is, I think we all need to question Ultima's motives. Maybe we can all ask him why he made his statements? Ultima. Now is your opportunity to respond. I think we would all be interested in your answers.
Carlos Sim Biography

Forbes: The World's Billionaires


MMPete said...

I think the reason Ultima brought up Slim is because he is a Mexican citizen and therefore should be helping to lift their poor out of poverty. It was obvious to me, I wonder why it was not obvious to you why rich Americans were not brought up into the discussion of Mexico's richest man. Gates and the others are not Mexican citizens so why should they be the ones to help Mexico?

I can tell from Ultima's posts that he isn't a racist and that snide remark about him being jealous of a brown man being rich was totally uncalled for. Sounds like you are the one who is jealous of a white man being rich since you mentioned ten of them. What do they have to do with Mexico anyway?

It is really sad to see you attack a good and faithful poster like that in here who doesn't have a racist bone in his body but is very intelligent and well informed also.

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Dee said...

Please re-read the post.

The post says "Slim donates millions into Mexico City's urban renewal."

So he is already helping improve his own country.

However, we cannot expect that the rich resolve all the problems of the poor in their own country.

Here is what I said:
Ultima asked why Slim didn't fix all of Mexico's economic problems because he was so rich. Ultima didn't mind that most of the men on the list were from America, Europe and India and most were NOT doing anything to resolve THEIR nation's economic problems, even with all of (their country's) dire economic troubles.

ultima said...

I erred in just picking on Slim but I do believe he could do more for the Mexican people who are worse off than most Americans or they wouldn't be streaming across the border. With regard to Gates and Buffet, I agree they should be doing more and the tax exemption for their foundation (Buffet put billions into Gates' Foundation to be managed there)should be pulled to the extent that they spend their foundation's money outside the U.S. Foreign aid and relief is the province of government. Gates and Buffet should not be enjoying a tax break for spending funds to solve problems abroad when we have so many domestic problems that need to be addressed. I object to their foundation diverting resources to outside interests leaving the rest of us to pick up the tab for domestic problems. If they want to spend the foundation's money in Africa, Indonesia, or wherever, they can but not if they do it should not be tax exempt.

I see that Dee again jumped to the conclusion that everyone who posts has an ulterior motive. That's shameful. I mentioned Slim only as an example because of his new statis as the world's richest man. Whatever I said about him applies to the filthy rich all over the world. I do not ask that they pauperize themselves but that they focus their resources on their own people in desparate need.

I'm surprised that Dee of all people is taking the part of the rich guy rather than railing against whatever tax subsidies and benefits his "friends" in the Mexican government have bestowed on him. How much wealth is enough? I don't believe in confiscatory taxes but maybe there should be another category or tax bracket for the super rich while giving them the opportunity to have significantly higher deductions for charitable contributions directed to the general problems of our people in this difficult economy.

By banking all their funds or feeding them into tax-exempt foundations to be spent abroad they are thumbing their noses at all those here who are in need. We have enough problems in health care, border security, and population stabilization, that many billions could and should be spent on by these tycoons whether they are self made men or not. They get their income ultimately from the people and they need to give back not just in ways they think is important but what is clearly in the national interest.

There are probably some self made female billionaires around too who could do some good with their surplus funds. It's time for them to begin to think in terms of our domestic needs.

ultima said...

El Duque, Obama keeps saying the time for talking is over (how many times has he said that?) but there he is out campaigning for re-election before his 2nd years is even over. Kucinich is a little prinicipled guy. I hope he does not abandon his principles and cave in. Now the Dems are thinking about a way to pass the bill without voting and putting it on the record. Surely that must be the grandest demonstration of democracy at work yet under this administration. Yes, it has been done before but never on a bill of this scope and magnitude and on which the populace is clearly split with the majority of Americans opposed to a takeover of their healthcare plans. Go Kucinich -- vote No!

ultima said...

I didn't intend to suggest that Slim could solve all of Mexico's problems but it would be nice to see him undertake some high profile initiatives that would benefit a significant number of his countrymen and women. The profile should be high enough to garner significant attention in Mexico and in the U.S. A self made man surely can find such initiatives with the help of his staff.

Let's see a report on how much he is actually spending on the poor in Mexico City and what results he has achieved. The last time I mentioned him Dee only mentioned that he had commissioned a museum with his name on it. How about some more details on the Mexico City Project? Who know maybe we could learn something we could apply here in the U.S.

ultima said...

I am not jealous of Slim or any other billionaire. That does not mean that if I had their billions, I would spend them in the same way.

ultima said...

In answer to Dee's question, yes, I think we should expect them to contribute large sums to help solve society's problems and to pay back in some small way all those people who buy or bought their products enabling them to accumulate inordinate wealth. Apparently Gates and Buffet agree.

Dee said...

Actually Ultima, I do agree with you that the rich should benefit the poor of their own country before extending their charity abroad. In fact, I would suggest to Gates and to Buffet that they establish a foundation for unemployed boomers to retrain/find jobs that helps them maintain their dignity and remain in their home towns.

The reason I cited your example was because you did single out Slim, the Mexican. I accept your admitting your error.

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings.

As I understand Carlos Slim's past position concerning charity, he says that the best charity is providing someone with a job.

But at what standard of living? Apparently, it's not good enough for Mexicans.

Then, there is like hypocrisy concerning "charity" donations by the rich of America.

They might for whatever reason, not the least for "buying" favorable judgment concerning themselves, fund some charities.

But those people export jobs from America and hire, at substandard wages and exploited working conditions, people from other countries.

It doesn't matter if the person hired is a work visa IT Tech from India or an illegal alien from Guatemala - or if it's manufacturing employment done at a sweat shop in China it's all the same result to American citizens.


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ultima said...

Anon has a point. This is a many-faceted problem. Maybe Slim should focus his good works on the border areas Tia Juana, Juarez, Laredo, etc.

Anonymous said...

It should be pointed out that Slim did not amass his fortune due to intelligent investments in the telecomm industry. He amassed it because former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari allowed him to monopolize the telecommunications industry in Mexico. How could Slim not be the wealthiest man in Mexico with that kind of advantage? And it is precisely because of that advantage that he owes much to the regular Mexican. And as someone else said, his charitable works need to include changes to the structural barriers that keep most Mexicans poor rather than "charitable" works that celebrate his name above all else.

Another issue that needs to be discussed more is the idea that since Mexico has now produced the richest man in the world and ranks #14 on the list of world GDP then why isn't the Mexican government and the wealthy class doing something to improve create work for the huge numbers of poor in their country?

Maybe because it's easier to dump that problem on the US taxpayer by encouraging immigration from Mexico to the US in violation of US immigration laws.

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