George Soros explains it all to you

It’s worth listening to George Soros on NPR’s Fresh Air, both for his discussion of the relation between philanthropy and politics and for his explanation of the amorality of the market.  When he says that if he didn’t buy Stock X someone else would, and that he therefore has no moral qualms about buying stock X, I thought of the nonprofit organizations that twist themselves into knots over whether to accept money from tobacco companies or Playboy.  If they don’t accept the money someone else would, so why should they have qualms?  Soros also makes a nice distinction between the ordinary anonymous-purchaser situation and that in which his buying the stock will move the entire market; he accepts responsibility for the latter situation, and therefore acknowledges the need for moral considerations.  Likewise, if the cost of tobacco money is a public endorsement of the company ("Altria presents the newest show by the Environmental Production Agency"), that might give a nonprofit executive pause; but if it’s just listing the donor in a standard way, there’s no reason not to take the money and run.

Soros also offers a thought about the dilemma identified by commenter Jerry Case: how to find the right charity for one’s donations.  The billionaire says that when he began giving money away he piggybacked on the Ford Foundation, presuming that if they had vetted an institution it must be good.  While there’s only so far one can go with that, it provides at least a modicum of reassurance that your money isn’t being stuffed in someone’s mattress.



One Response to “George Soros explains it all to you”

  1. Michael Kaye Says:

    George Soros’ claim that his investments in bad companies did not make a difference as if he did not invest someone else would is self-serving guff.

    Notwithstanding Soros’ blinkers, it is different in the case of a charity taking money from weapons or drug dealers, if they do not have to promote the donor. Unlike giving money to a bad company, there is no strengthening of the evil benefactor caused by *taking* their money.

    Of course, the charity could suggest that the gift is better if it is not credited, especially for those CEOs who claim Biblical leanings. Riiight.

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