December 14

Blog #8 – Should the rich be required to give to charity?

Wealth is an elusive thing, and if everyone could get it, everyone would have it.  But then, if everyone had wealth, who would truly be rich?  – Your mighty editor.

philanthropyThe blog topic – should the rich be required to give to charities? – is a pretty complex question, b/c there are several questions that must be answered when considering this topic:

 – who should be considered rich?

– why are the rich required to give?  Or should they be required to give anything?

 – To what charities deserve $$ and why?081208_Philanthropy

Throughout the 19th and into the 20th Century, the predominant attitude of the wealthy was that it was something special that made them rich.  It could be God-given as in John Rockefeller’s belief “The Good Lord gave me my money.”  Baptist minister Russell Conwell, the founder of Philadelphia’s Temple University, felt that God gave money to those people who would use money for good purposes (1). 

Andrew Carnegie wrote in his 1889 essay, “The Gospel of Wealth,” that money accumulated by the rich is good for society and that the gospel of wealthgovernment shouldn’t interfere with this process.  He also felt that for a wealthy person to pass on his inheritance to his heirs is “injudicious” and that “the condition of this class in Europe to­day teaches the futility of such hopes or ambitions.”  Basically, the heirs will waste it.  Nor should the rich man give it to the government to dispose of b/c the cases of that money being used well have been very few. 

So, Carnegie feels that it is up to the rich man who has made the money to dispose oAndrew-Carnegief it as he sees fit. 

“…the man of wealth thus becoming the sole agent and trustee for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer-doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.”

In fact, he is favor of estate taxes (or in current conservative lingo – DEATH TAXES!)  See this quote:

“Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for public ends would work good to the community, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the state, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death, the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire’s unworthy life” (2).

USAcarnegie2Hoarding is no good, and Carnegie gave away almost his entire fortune – $325 million – with another $30 million set aside for other things.  Rockefeller gave away over half a billion dollars! 

Put yourself in their shoes:

1. Would you want someone, anyone, telling you who to donate $?   Why or why not?   Or is it your responsibility to donate your fortune before you die?  Why or why not?

2. What current charities or causes would you think deserve your money?

Please answer these two questions – minimum of 200 words for both questions.  Due Thursday 12/16 by the beginning of class. 


1. Capitalism in the Gilded Age – 

2. Modern History Sourcebook – Carnegie’s Gospel of Wealth –

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Posted December 14, 2010 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

67 thoughts on “Blog #8 – Should the rich be required to give to charity?

  1. raven goodwin

    1.I wouldn’t want anyone telling me that I should give away my money. It’s up to me to decide whether I should give it away or not. Personally no one would have to tell me to donate to charity, because I would already do so myself. I don’t think that people that are less fortunate should have to stay less fortunate unless they put themselves in that position, like abusing drugs. It is my responsibility to donate my fortune before I die, but it will not be all my fortune, it will only be for the children who are struggling the adults had their time to redeem themselves and it’s their fault they didn’t.

    2. The current charities that I think deserve the money are the children charity like Boys and Girls Club, and mentoring for the young children because it will put the children in the right mind to do something important in the future. The children can’t be able to defend themselves and can’t support themselves, as in food, and clothing wise. Children need help and if their parents aren’t helping them then its up to the more fortunate people to do so, because the children are the future, and we don’t want the future to be chaotic because we couldn’t help the children. Sp help the children we will help the future.

  2. Emily Kakos

    I really dislike the idea that anyone would tell me what to do with my money after I die. If I worked hard for my money, who has the right to dictate where it goes but me? It’s not my responsibility either to donate my fortune to charity before I die because it’s MY fortune and not anyone else’s! It’s funny ’cause assuming that I was “rich” when I died, people would almost scoff or look down on me if I didn’t donate my fortune, but what do they even have to do with anything? Just because I made a lot of money, doesn’t mean I have to give it away. No one would look at a “modern family” and tell them to give there fortune away! There is such a misconceived impression of what is rich also! Just because you have a lot of money doesn’t make me rich in things that actually matter. What if I had a sad, lonely life and now, on my death bed, someone comes and asks me which charity I’m donating to and I say none. DO you think the world would see my choice as my decision or as something “selfish”?
    I also don’t agree with Carnegie saying that wealth should not be given to heirs. My plan exactly is to have enough money so that my great grandchildren will be able to live comfortable, luxurious lives. Not to say I won’t also donate to various charities, I just think I shouldn’t have to ONLY donate to charity. I don’t plan on forgetting my family and them getting “spoiled” will not be a problem. It’s not about having money, it’s about how you treat the money, and if little respect is put on it, then my kids and their kids and their kids will grow up to double, triple, or quadruple my fortune!

    There are so many charities that I want to give to that it’s hard to pick just one! The Susan B. Komen Foundation is one that I want to donate money to because breast cancer has really affected my family and I want it to die.

  3. Emily Novick

    The answer is a straight up no. Rich people should not have to pay charity because it is their choice how to spend what they earned. Of course they would be big jerk faces if they didn’t give any charity at all during the span of their life. “If you’ve got more to give, then you’ve got to prove” (Flobots). That is an awesomesauce quote that says if you have enough money, spread it around. Of course forcing rich people to would be infringing on their rights as American citizens. Even though it would help many charities that need money, it’s just wrong to force people to give money for causes they might not even agree with. If I were richer than I am now, I would actually be okay with the request because I would probably give anyways, but I would still feel as if I lost my freedom and probably be mad about that.

    The charities that could use some more money are those that train people for jobs. So many people are unemployed and if people could have the money to create more jobs in areas that the charity would go to, I feel that it would just solve more problems than just one organization. For example, giving more money to train people to be doctors could help the Red Cross and disaster relief in places like Haiti. Or People could be trained as engineers to make more eco-friendly appliances. In fact, Seoul is doing quite well because they made an eco-friendly change to their city and maybe Detroit could do the same! So that is who I would give charities to and all of my opinions on the blog in which I have now answered.

  4. Ben Sadler

    I would not like someone telling me that I have to donate my money to this one organization. I don’t believe that it is their right to tell me what I can or can’t do with my money, if I went to give it away, I will, if I don’t want to, I won’t. It is not my responsibility to donate my money before I die. I feel like its your choice of what you do with your money as long as you live. If you feel like it’s the right thing to donate a majority of your money before you die, then good for you, if you don’t, good for you. Some people might want to keep it in their family and pass their money down to their children and then their children. One group that I would donate to is definitely schools, I feel like they need more support than they get for the kids to get a good education sometimes. I would also donate to Care House from past experiences of seeing people who have gone there and what they have all been through.

  5. Fred Ayres

    I would not want anyone telling me to donate my money. I would still want to, however. I just feel as if I don’t need other people telling me what I should do with the money that I’ve earned. I already understand that as someone with a large amount of money, it is my moral responsibility to donate my fortune to those who are less fortunate. Most who are less fortunate, have also worked their entire lives. Alas, they haven’t enjoyed the same success as I have. It is only just that everyone enjoys life to the fullest.

    While I am agnostic, I feel the Salvation Army would be one of the charities I would donate to. As their slogan goes, they do ‘the most good’. Other than the Salvation Army, I would also give to pollution focus groups. I wish my grandchildren to see the same world that I’ve been able to—if not better. Another foundation I would also give my fortune to is the World Wildlife Fund. The preservation of engaged species is one of the most courageous acts in this world. Finally, I would give some funding to PBS. Man, the things that they do on that television channel are amazing.

  6. David Bellefleur

    I think that wealthy people should not be required to give charity but it should be hugely considered. If i was weathy enough, i would definately donate some of my fortune to a charity, but not all of it. I would be somewhere in between what Carnegie did. I would leave a some to my family and everything i owned to them, but i would donate a large sum of money. I think that requiring the wealthy to give to charity is wrong because it is forcing them to give up what they earned by hard work. If the government required Carnegie to give away his money, his principles and public image would not be the same since it was not his own choice and the public would njot see him as a respectable public figure. I think it should remain a choice except if the person gained his wealth illegally. If the person stole from the government or scammed for millions, the wealth should go to the people he stole from and charitites. I think it is all based on a person’s beliefs and Carnegie had it better than anyone. To spend part of your life making money, and the rest giving it away. You don’t have to die rich, but you should not die very poor because of your donations.

  7. Maddie Perfitt

    1. I think that, no matter how stubborn people can be, we need to be told to donate money to charities. When a person dies, their money will most likely go to their family members or significant other. And if no one every donated money, that’s all the money would go to; generation after generation. A mandatory donation would push the people to do things for the community and not just for themselves. When they first donate, they’ll realize how good it feels to help less fortunate. Then they’ll want to donate even more and do more community –helpful things. I don’t believe that the amount of wealth a person has is God given. I think that they’ve worked hard to earn that money; whether it was passed down or they actually worked hard for it. Someone worked for that money and that person wasn’t just selected by God. People aren’t all inclined to donate to a charity the way that some are. People sometimes need to be told what to do in order to see what they should. Charities aren’t aggressive enough to demand the people to donate, nor is that an appropriate way to make people do things they don’t necessarily need to do. But if the government told us to do it, we will.
    2. I think that the people should be able to choose where their money is going based on a list that the government will approve. When people have more options, there most likely to follow orders. By nature, most humans don’t particularly like being told exactly what to do because it’s belittling. If we had a choice then we’d be more likely to follow through with the request with a smile on our face. But if it was up to me, I’d have people donate to a charity that would help kids in third world countries. If we could solve education and hunger problems, I think the world would be a much more positive place. Then we could work on the other problems like global warming, civil wars, that are somewhat a result of hunger and lack of education. Especially because the U.S. is such an education country, we could be the ones to help up the less fortunate and under educated. Education could get the kids out of the constricting and limiting places they’re in, and into a more positive, inspiring environment.

  8. Nick Morley

    1. I think that if I had the amount of money that they had and people would ask me to donate to a charity, I would find out what the money was going towards and make sure to see what it did and make sure that nobody stole it. But I would get mad if I had a large amount of people begging to donate to their charity and having competitions over who could receive the most amount of money for me. I don’t agree with giving your entire fortune away even though the money would make a huge difference. i think before you die there still needs to be something left for your family because they would need something to make it through the hard times. It wouldn’t be crazy amount like 300 million dollars it would be about 10-50 million so that the changes after my death wouldn’t completely change how they live. If I don’t have a family then all of it should be donated.
    2. I think that the first charity that I would donate to would be involving something with children. It could be with feeding them or a cheaper education for the ones that can’t afford it. I would also look at cancer research. If somebody donates the amount that they had I think it would go a long way towards finding a cure.

  9. charles zuccarini

    i personaly wouldnt like anyone telling me when, how, or that i should donate my money. i dont belive that the wealthy should be required to donate any of their fortune. but i also belive that the rich should donate what they d=have but dont need to some form of charity to better the world. but you shouldnt be required to do it. the rich have earned their fortune themselves and should be allowed to do what they please with it. they shouldnt have to donate it to anybody if they dont wish to. if they wish to keep all of their fortune and leave it to their family when they die then that is their desicion. and they shouldnt be forced to do anything.

    as far as the charitys that i would donate my money to. i would donate to anything that improves the living conditions of the people in my country. so that they may live with the same luxuries that most people that i know have currently. i would also donate to things that help the people in the army or in service to my country. they deserve it for protecting us.

  10. ChaseTurner

    Chase Turner

    I believe that everyone should give back to their community, whether its money, or time helping people less fortunate than them. Now the rich should give money to charity because what do they really need all of that money for?! If I were a rich older man of course I would give money away. But I would NOT want to be told “where” to donate to, its my money and its my responsibility, therefore my choice of how I spend it and where I donate it. Its my responsibility to donate my fortune before I die. I think that the charities and causes that could use my money the most would be charities that benefit the homeless population, because they have absolutely nothing! I also feel schools could use the money to do much good, because as we all know schools are cutting so many programs due to their decreases revenue, teachers are being fired, classes getting bigger, sports being cut, teachers not making the amount of money they should be, and they will take any money they can get. All I’m trying to say is that everyone not just the wealthy, needs to give back, and donate their fortune to charities

  11. Ben Cooper

    1. If I was rich, I would not want anyone to tell me how to handle my money. First of all, I earned the money and it’s my constitutional right to decide how to use it. Secondly, being forced to donate money is not charity at all. Although, I believe that giving to charity is somewhat of a social expectation. If someone ordered me to give someone money, I would probably not even consider it just because I would find it rude. What Carnegie said about heirs always wasting fortune is not always true. Many successful companies today are run by heirs such as AT-AT and Gerber. I believe that leaving your money to your heirs should be a personal choice. It should be based on if you believe if any of your heirs would properly use their newly acquired fortune. By properly, I mean not waste it, use it for philanthropic causes, invest wisely, etc. If the answer is no, then yes, I believe that it is your responsibility to donate your fortune before you die. After all, you can’t take your money with you when you die.

    2. I think charities that deserve my money would be ones that help feed the poor (Soup Kitchens), and those that help unemployed people get a steady job so that they can help themselves and their communities. I like these causes because they can make an immediate, tangible, and positive change to people’s lives. High unemployment is damaging to our economy because it makes us less productive and raises welfare costs.

  12. Cierra McPherson

    1. I wouldn’t want anyone telling me to donate my money let alone who to donate to. I wouldn’t do it because it is my hard earned money and what I choose to do it should be my decision. I would however donate money anyhow I would like to decide what I would so with my fortune of wealth. It is that person’s responsibility to donate their fortune. I would personally donate my money because when I die, I want to be remembered for not only my success in life but for my philanthropy work. I think that most people, who have made a fortune, occasionally have their rags to riches stories and most likely donate money anyway, or at least hopefully.

    2. There are several organizations I would be willing to donate my money to. Women In Progress is a organization in Africa that shelter women who have been dealing with abuse and their battle with AIDS. There are several other organizations that deal with the red light district one organization mainly being Kids With Cameras. It allows kids who are growing up in the Brothels to experience the life of photography. I would also like to donate my money to kids who work in mines for diamonds and the child labor that takes place. I would also donate my money to organizations that help and shelter people with organizations. Also all around the world I would personally donate my money to families who don’t have food and shelter and don’t have the basic needs we take for granted

  13. Patrice Bell

    1. No, I would not want anyone telling me to donate money. If I were rich, I would want to be able to spend my own money how I wanted. Most rich people work hard to get what they have and for someone to force them to give some of their earnings away is absurd. I also don’t think that it should be required of you to give your fortune away before you die because as previously stated, I think it should be the rich person in question who should decide what happens with their money. Although I don’t think I should be forced to give my money away, I think it is totally ok for someone to ask me to donate to charity.
    2. If I were to give my money to a charity, I would probably give it to something involving children because children are our future. If the kids are dying because of disease and hunger, who will be around in forty years to run our world? I think that causes that create n immediate response are a little more important that research charities because while research is good in itself, it may take ages to find certain cures

  14. Allison Roche

    Allison Roche
    5th Hour
    I would not want somebody to tell me I had to donate my money. It’s nobody’s place to tell people how to spend their money. People usually have to work hard for their money and it would not be fair to make people give the results of their hard work away. I especially wouldn’t want somebody telling me who I have to donate my money to. If somebody is going to donate money they don’t need someone dictating who it goes to. What if someone who hates dogs decided to donate their money to a cancer research organization but was then told they had to give their donation money to an animal shelter? That wouldn’t be fair. People can decide for themselves if they want to donate money and if they do, who the money should go to. I believe that people should donate money to various worthy causes if they are able to. However I don’t think it is people’s responsibility to donate their fortunes to charities before they die. People can donate things besides money before they die. They can give time working for a charity, clothing, food, cell phones and other things instead. You shouldn’t have to give away your fortune before you die and people shouldn’t be required to donate money to charities.

    There are lots of good places to donate money but these are just a few that I think are particularly worth of donations. I think that cancer research deserves donations. Lots of people suffer or know some one who suffers or suffered from cancer. I think that if people donate their money to learn more about cancer, eventually more will be learned about it and fewer people will suffer from it. I also think that marine conservation is worthy of donations. We are killing life in the ocean we don’t even know about. Knowing about and protecting the ocean would benefit most people. Donations could also go to alopecia research. It’s such a sad disease and we really don’t know much about it. If we knew more about alopecia maybe fewer children would suffer from it. The make a wish foundation is also a worthy cause. I like how they give children with life threatening illnesses a wish. They make their dreams (that are within the realm of possibility) true! Locks of Love is a good place to donate because they help girls with illnesses that cause them to lose their hair gain some confidence back by giving them a new wig made from human hair.

  15. Samuel Kepes

    If I were to amass a fortune large enough to be considered a millionaire I wouldn’t want anyone to tell me what to do with it, or to think that they have the right to tell me. I think that if I spend my whole life working then some government official shouldn’t be able to one come in to my house and tell me that I have to give it to others. I am not saying that I wouldn’t donate most of it, but that should be my choice, not someone else’s. I believe it is the responsibility of a millionaire to donate their fortune before there death. There is no reason they should give all their money to their kids because the kids will most likely waste it all. A person who has spent their whole life getting rich will know how powerful money is, so they will give it to charities or other causes that deserve it.
    There are a few causes or charities that I think deserve my money. I would donate to the Salvation Army because I believe that they help people to get clothes and other essential things they may need. I would also donate to the Marine reserves because they are the ones that go out to countries that are hit by natural disasters and help them. I would also donate to the Red Cross so that they can continue sending food and other essential life sustaining things to countries that need them. I would also donate to diabetes research. Diabetes is a disease that many people are inflicted with, and to find a cure, or make life easier for them is something that would help many people.

  16. Indya Sanders

    Blog 8.
    1. I would not want anyone to tell me how much money to give. I wouldn’t want anyone to tell me how much money to give because giving should come from the heart. Only you know how much you want to give, so if your heart tells you to give half of your income then that’s up to. But if you feel like no one deserves anything or if you are just that selfish then that’s your own problem. I also feel as though it doesn’t mean as much if you’re given a set amount to give. I think that it is our own personal responsibility to give as much money as we please. People shouldn’t give a set amount because you might want to give your money to a certain foundation, or you might want to build a foundation for charity, and as I stated before if you feel like giving then you should give and not be forced.

    2. I think I would donate to a women’s shelter, to an orphanage, scholarship foundation, a college, and/or to a family of my choice. I would donate to a women’s shelter because I feel like to e beaten or whatever circumstance that put them into a shelter takes a lot of courage, bravery, and I have a lot of respect for them. I would give money to a foster home because a lot of orphanages have horrible living conditions. I feel that the kids their do not deserve those conditions and should live a good life.
    I donate to a colleges with low incomes/or finances to teach the kids, and I would give to colleges that I feel has a lot of potential that was not given to them. I would give to a scholarship foundation because if I couldn’t afford college I would need all the colleges I get. I would donate to a family in need because they need the money, or need help paying for their bills.

  17. Devan Moosherr

    I really dislike the idea of anyone telling me what to do with my money. I feel that If I worked for it, I should be able to do with it what I want to. I feel that it annoys me when I see all the ads for charity, even though they are doing good, people should not be hammered into doing something that they do not want to do. And lots of times the ads make you feel bad about yourself if you do not donate. It just seems that the companies do not care about the hard earned money that everyone is making now a days.

    Some charities that I could see myself donating to would be mainly charities focused around diseases. I would donate to those charities because I truly do feel bad for those people. They can’t help what has happened to them and I think that they need to be helped out. I would also give to charities that help the homeless. I would give to those charities because the economy has a lot of problems right now and a lot of innocent people are losing their jobs.

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