Does Having More Money Make You Less Generous?

in #lifelast year (edited)


Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are some of the most generous philanthropists out there and it's no doubt that their bulky donations, along with a lot of other rich folks, help save and improve the lives of millions around the globe.

Their donations help the unfortunate get food, shelter, clothing, and education which makes them able to survive on their own later in life. It's an act that definitely deserves our attention and praise.

But while these are indeed warm things to hear about every once in a while, it's also true that generosity seems to decrease with an increase in wealth and financial power, according to a study from the Queen Mary University of London.

But how is that possible? The rich donate millions while the poor barely give anything!

The rich indeed donate more money, but the percentage of their income they spend on donations is rather less compared to the percentage of income the poor spend.

The rich simply earn way more and give way less than what they are actually capable of giving, while the poor earn dramatically less but still try to help to the best of their abilities.

But why is that? Shouldn't the rich give more?

Most definitely, but one of the reasons they don't is because financial success, more or less, makes a person individualistic and self-centered, while the poor thrive by living in communities that naturally results in cooperative behavior.

Poor people are more empathetic towards other's grievances for the simple reason that they have to. In primal times, if a member of the tribe refused to help and serve the tribe, he would simply be kicked out, making him more vulnerable to predators and likely to die.

The same applies here in modern times as well.

Poor people have to remain empathetic because they need each other to survive. Rich folks, on the other hand, are independent and don't need assistance to stay alive and prosper, making them less likely to pay attention to someone in need.

It's not that the rich refuse to donate or don't want to, but the fact that they are unaware, or rather, not aware enough of how worse the living conditions of the poor are because they simply haven't experienced the same level of misery.

Should the rich donate more?

This is a rather subjective part.

On one hand, we know there are definitely Non-Profits out there that retain most of their income, and some even are organized by the rich themselves to evade taxes.

But on the other hand, role models like Bill Gates somehow convince us that not all rich folks do what they do for profits alone, leaving us room to hope for better.

We would all love it if more rich people try to help the poor in a genuine way but at the end of the day, they have the power and the freedom to choose what they want to spend their money on, whether it's for the welfare of people or for a nice vacation.


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That's an interesting study you referenced and an interesting subject in general.
I agree with your conclusions and I think freedom is important, but there does also seem to be a problem with the richest hoarding too much, I don't have an answer, but if the richest were less greedy the whole world could live better...

Indeed. The world could be a better place if the rich tried to help to the best of their abilities, but then again, they are free to follow their personal sense of morality.

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