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Priscilla Chan: Philanthropy or Hypocrisy

Written on October 26, 2018   By   in Blog

More and more wealthy CEOs promises to make contributions to charity, trying to iron out corporation’s crisis. A certain amount of people called the strategy as “philanthrocapitalism”. Is that belonging to corporate hypocrisy?

In 2017, almost all headlines of media are swept by Mark Zuckerberg’s charitable activities. The Initiative was proposed by the well-known tech billionaire and his wife Priscilla Chan, donating over $3m to alleviate housing crisis in the Silicon Valley area. The president of of the Initiative David Plouffe says, “Those work aims at helping families stuck in temporary crisis. At the same time, they also launch some research to find long-term solutions. Those two-step tactics will guide those policies and projects moving forward.

Above guidance is only a tiny part of the Zuckerberg’s philanthropic projects. In addition, the Initiative also promised to allocate billions of dollars to solve social problems, like science, medical research and education. The whole package plan started from December 2015; at that time, a letter from Zuckerberg to his baby also was diffused to every corner of the world, producing a worldwide sensation at that time. In the letter, they also promised to advancing human potential and improving equality over the course of their lives by donating 99% of their shares. Those shares were valued at $45bn or so at that time.

Of course, the housing intervention is connected to houses closely. It’s well-known that there are substantial income disparities in San Francisco, in which the most expensive properties are towering there. Their Initiative tries to intervene the real estate market to ease social and economic problems. Even a tech workers on six-digit salaries are hardly to wade over the difficulty problems. Those on more modest incomes would have more problems in the respect. The main factor contributed to high-rising rents and house prices is boom of tech industry in the area, especially boom of Facebook.

Peter Cohen, a member of Council of Community Housing Organizations, says that one would get themselves involved in the slosh of tricky matters, such as concentration of wealth and real-estate money. Wading into housing as real-estate commodities means speculation. The tech tycoon’s generosity seems only a small drop of water of the sea, which could not be a sound solution for the large problem. To a certain extent, the housing grants could only alleviate thirst instantly. It seems like reallocating a fraction of benefits in the name of generosity. For the purpose of addressing problems incurred by inequality, it may be caused by an unfair social and economic system.

Most people may take Zuckerberg as a hero of the world, just like a genius person made him rich first and decided to use the benefits to compensate others. It seems like he intends to help others for self-interest in a holy and stainless image. But the hidden nature of the Initiative could be perceived only after slightly scraping of the surface, the Initiative itself conveys numerous values beyond charity, which cemented his corporate in a intangible manner.

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