Monday, June 8, 2015

Gave Well?

I have long thought Harvard was ground zero for much of the economic problems that plague this country as many of the "inventors" or in reality "perpetrators" of the fraud that nearly destroyed the economy, that devised scheme after scheme to find ways to ensure poverty was a dirty name in which to be expunged, Harvard is not a school which I admire in the least. I am well aware for every sociopath billionaire there are those who go on to serve the world and their country but its funny I can't think of one of them by name and yet at a drop of a hat come up with numerous names that support my belief.

And then I read the article below and from all people, Malcolm Gladwell, the pop psychologist. Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone in a recent article about the problems in Baltimore refers to Gladwell as: America's leading fast-food philosopher, Malcolm Gladwell, helped launch his career on the back of a half-baked analysis of Broken Windows in a book called The Tipping Point.

And so for one whom is Ivy League bred to turn on the hand that bites and feeds is a little like turning on your own. I am no fan of Gladwell but these Tweets are hilarious and who knew that he had such a bite of his own.

But the gift, donation aka tax deduction is absurd. I have had enough with the philanthrocrats and their bogus gifts. This is a prop up generation of absurd proportions where once again we only look out for our own it is just the level and degree of which we do so further isolates, segregates and maintains the divisions of class and economics in this country.

To say that we should just say its charity and its all good is of course the echo chamber but hey the one percent can afford a choir to sing their songs. When Gladwell is turning against you one wonders if this is about him needing street cred or the reality of the absurdity of it all? I am going with the former as he will latch onto anything that he can craft a story book on.

Malcolm Gladwell: ‘If billionaires don’t step up, Harvard will soon be down to its last $30 billion’

By Sarah Kaplan
The Washington Post
June 5, 2015

Hedge fund manager John Paulson had $400 million to put toward a philanthropic endeavor. The only question was where to donate it.

His final decision: a small school in Cambridge called Harvard University. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Harvard was elated at the gift, the largest in university history. Paulson, a Harvard Business School alumnus, said in the announcement Wednesday that there was no cause more important.

But New Yorker writer and “Tipping Point” author Malcolm Gladwell could think of a few:

 It came down to helping the poor or giving the world's richest university $400 mil it doesn't need. Wise choice John!
Next up for John Paulson: volunteering at the Hermes store on Madison avenue. Let's make this a truly world class retail outlet!
Working the coat check at Art basel. They're short staffed!If billionaires don't step up, Harvard will soon be down to its last $30 billion.
Apparently $200 mil is earmarked for a satellite campus on St Barts.
 It's going to be named the John Paulson School of Financial Engineering
 Harvard's pitch to Paulson: not all privileged people are equally privileged!
 Paulson to Harvard: is there a way to give back without actually giving anything back?

After all, Harvard is only the world’s richest university, with a $36.4 billion endowment that’s larger than the gross domestic products of Jordan, Bolivia, Iceland and about 90 assorted other countries. Surely there were other institutions that needed Paulson’s support?

For Gladwell, who typically types an average of five tweets a month, it was a practically unprecedented screed.

And Gladwell wasn’t the only one frustrated by the gift. Vox reporter Dylan Matthews used the news to update a story on why wealthy people should stop donating to Harvard.

“Giving to Harvard is not philanthropy,” he wrote, noting that the majority of students come from families with incomes of over $125,000 and that the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the recipient of Paulson’s donation, serves already well-funded fields like robotics and computer science. “It’s not helping people who need help, and it’s obscene that Paulson is getting a massive tax write-off for it.”

At Quartz, writer Matt Phillips suggested that public charities like universities be required to meet a minimum payout ratio in order to qualify for tax exemptions. A small investment team, MG Squared Investments, offered a range of other ways Paulson could have spent the money: Associates Degrees for 63,877 Americans, feeding every child in D.C. for two years, mosquito nets that would save the lives of 119,760 children overseas.

Inevitably came a backlash to the backlash. Daniel Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard, said that donating to the school does help the world’s poor — by promoting research that can reduce poverty.
Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen made a similar argument:

T. Boone Pickens, founder and chairman of B.P. Capital, was less defensive than amused, he told Business Insider.

“My first thought was, hey, wait a minute, get the critic up there and ask, ‘Wait a minute, pal, how much have you given?'” he said of Gladwell. “You may find out he has given, but I have a hard time imagining anyone being critical of a charitable gift.”

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