19th century industrialist Andrew Carnegie believed that the very wealthy should give away money during their lifetime within the communities it came from. If not, the State should extract punitive death taxes to mark its “condemnation of the selfish millionaire’s unworthy life.” In the 21st century, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are putting the first part of this philosophy into practice, and have signed up 91 other billionaires to do the same. In Australia, we seem to have nothing but praise for those who die rich. We are happy for government to be responsible for much of the public good. If we really think that the very rich need to contribute more, cutting off our admiration and meting out lashings of public disgrace may be the best strategy. Or is blaming the rich a copout, when funding social wellbeing is something for which we all need to be accountable?
Chris Cuffe has 25 years experience in building successful wealth management practices. He is the founding director and portfolio manager of Third Link Growth Fund, a managed investment scheme where management fees are donated to charity and the Chairman and Founder of Australian Philanthropic Services.
John B. Fairfax is a director of both Marinya Capital and Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company. He was a director of Fairfax Media from 2007 to 2010 after serving as Chairman of Rural Press since 1990. Mr Fairfax is actively involved with several not-for-profit organisations including as President of the Girls & Boys Brigade and Patron of The Red Room Company.
John Symond is the founder and Executive Chairman of Aussie HomeLoans. He has created the John Symond Foundation to help a range of charities, particularly those that work with children.
Chair: Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre, and is co-curator of Festival of Dangerous Ideas.