Why We Should Share the Wealth

Rockefeller did it. The Gateses are doing it. If every billionaire chipped in, it would transform the world

Courtesy of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation / Prashant Panjiar

Bill and Melinda Gates at an agricultural project they're funding in Abuja, Nigeria.

What is the power of one when that one happens to be a John D. Rockefeller or a Bill Gates? If history is a guide, the answer is, quite a lot. I'm speaking not only about the power to reshape an industry like oil or personal computers but also about the ability to improve the world through philanthropy. Rockefeller proved that giving away money is much more than charity. It can be transformative. And if today's billionaires were to pool their resources, they could outflank the world's governments in ending poverty and pandemic disease.

A century ago, Rockefeller decided to put...

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