We keep reading about greed and the selfishness of the rich. Particularly the “Hollywood” types that whine about social ills of those in poverty but live lifestyles way over the top in huge lavish Beverly Hills mansions.

To keep things in perspective the “Hollywood” types while wealthy are not anywhere close to the so-called super rich. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the two Google guys, and Mark Zuckerberg could easily buy and sell most of the big screen stars.

The Giving Pledge

Chances are you have never heard of “The Giving Pledge.” This is a non-binding agreement set up by Bill Gates that encourages the truly wealthy to give a significant portion of their wealth to worthy causes and charities.

It’s not a new concept.

The Good and Bad Of Wealth

In 1919 Andrew Carnegie, then the richest man in the world, gave away 90 percent of his wealth. He wrote an article called, “The Gospel of Wealth” that outlined his philosophy about the redistribution of wealth.

By the time he died he had built 2,800 libraries, founded Carnegie-Mellon University and constructed Carnegie Hall.

The next richest man in the world, John D. Rockefeller, he used his wealth to build the University of Chicago, funded research that lead to vaccines for meningitis, yellow fever, and built medical schools such as John Hopkins.

Carnegie Under Fire

Andrew Carnegie was not well liked by his workers in his steel plants. Working 12 hours a day six days a week with only July 4th off they felt more money in their pockets would be a better use of the philanthropic funds.

The work was so hard most had to stop by age 40.

Carnegie felt that additional money would be wasted on material things by the workers rather than saved or invested. Regarding Carnegie's libraries, one worker questioned the value of a book to someone working 12 hours a day six days a week.

Some Final Thoughts

So far over 140 billionaires around the world have signed on to “The Giving Pledge” to give at least half of their total wealth to worthy causes.

That would amount to almost $1 trillion dollars that could be used to better the world in some way.

The Gates Foundation is dedicated to health care in poor nations and has helped eradicate polio, reduce deaths by measles, tuberculosis and malaria.

While there was a time when profits trumped workers rights and benefits today workers do better and companies do better because owners see the benefits of taking care of both.

Had Carnegie realized this he would have been much wealthier in more than just money.

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