How to Be a Better Billionaire

Monday, June 28th, 2021

A few weeks back, I noted Jeff Bezos’s plan to go to space with his brother. In contrast to his appalling yacht purchase(s), I gave this plan a somewhat flip nod of approval, stating “[i]f we’re going to have billionaires, that’s how you do it.” Space exploration is cool, and certainly a better use of purchase than yet another yacht, with all its attendant problems.

But a far better model for how billionaires should use their money is available in the form of Bezos’s former wife, Mackenzie Scott1. Following the couple’s divorce, Scott took sole possession of tens of billions of dollars in Amazon stock. She quickly began giving that wealth away. In just two years since signing the Giving Pledge, Scott has donated more then $8.5 billion to hundreds of worthy non-profit organizations.

These donations are going to have incalculable positive effects, and from the post about her most recent donations, it’s clear Scott is far from done. That post also notes that Scott wants to keep the focus on the organizations themselves, like the Girls First Fund, Muslim Advocates, and Results for America. However, if society isn’t going to prevent the creation of billionaires, we should at least applaud those who really are using their ludicrous power to benefit others so dramatically.


Footnotes:

  1. The story of Scott’s wealth seems to be too often summarized as simply being the result of her divorce from one of the richest men in the world. More than just a jilted ex-wife who got rich when her husband cheated on her, Scott was with Amazon from the beginning, and her money seems as well earned as Bezos’s. ↩︎


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