I’ve not been a big fan of Mark Zuckerberg. But this week he threw a real curler, didn’t he? His commitment to use 99% of his wealth to improve the quality of life around the world is a noble gesture that must be applauded.
The root of most evil is greed and the root of most greed is, eventually, the inherent need to secure the happiness of one’s loved ones.
The old way of doing this was to hoard wealth so that your loved ones would not need for anything. This worked pretty well as long as the population was small. The reason it worked was because there was enough work to keep everybody busy and hence everybody, relatively, housed and fed.
However, the growth of the world’s population coupled with the increased mechanization of various industries has meant that the number of people without work and food has exploded. These have-nots look at the few who have and covet the security of having a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. When they can stand it no more, all their anger and frustration will break out in the form of anarchy. At such a moment, all the riches and power in the world cannot save a person. The French and Russian revolutions have proven that fact.
To keep this anarchy at bay, it is necessary to reduce the deficit between the haves and the have-nots.
The deficit is not just financial, it comes in many forms and it must be addressed on many levels to ensure that anarchy does not break out.
Take a police-officer. It is a position of power. A police-officer’s family is almost always secure in the knowledge that the position protects them from most harms that come their way. However, this person will not remain a police-office forever. What happens when it is time to give up the uniform? Where is the protection? To ensure continued protection, the police-officer must be fair and firm. When a whole police system is built on fairness, you need not worry about your loved ones being treated wrongly even after your time because the inherent fairness in the system will protect them.
Take a politician. Politics is a calling where a lot of power is placed in the hands of the office holder. If the politician governs with the best interest of the larger society in mind, it ensures that this person’s future generations too will remain secure and protected.
This is exactly what people like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are doing. They are making an attempt to ensure the safety of their future generations by reducing the deficit in society. In short, they are trying to ensure that their children will not be the target of envy. This is not to take anything away from their actions. Far from it, I think we should all take a leaf out of their books and work towards making our children smaller targets too.
When we do that, society gains in general.