Der Spiegel has an interesting and revealing article about charity and the idea of private donations and government spending. The article focuses on Bill Gates and his “giving pledge”, a pledge to give away half of their wealth to charity. The part that is interesting was an answer giving by Peter Krämer a Hamburg shipping multimillionaire.
SPIEGEL: But doesn’t the money that is donated serve the common good?
Krämer: It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it’s not the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich want to decide. That’s a development that I find really bad. What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?
SPIEGEL: It is their money at the end of the day.
Krämer: In this case, 40 superwealthy people want to decide what their money will be used for. That runs counter to the democratically legitimate state. In the end the billionaires are indulging in hobbies that might be in the common good, but are very personal.
Well I can certainly see a difference in the idea of democratically legitimate state. Krämer asks, “what legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?” well how about the fact it’s their money. I personally just think Krämer doesn’t want to spend his money but would prefer the government spend all the people’s money.