May 5, 2014
Alibaba’s Jack Ma and the company’s co-founder Joseph Tsai are following the path taken by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in creating a philanthropic trust.
An article entitled China’s Carnegie in The Economist, [May 3rd, 2014. P12] outlined this further example of creative capitalism.
The article traces the philanthropic ‘conversion’ of business pioneers and wealth generators from the days of Andrew Carnegie to today’s Jack Ma who has recently [April 2014] announced the formation of a $3 billion trust.
A cynical view of giving
The Economist is suspicious of altruism if a self-interested explanation comes to hand. It tests the ethical orientation of Ma’s actions and implicitly those of Bill Gates by suggesting that a cynical view that might be ‘straight out of a Silicon Valley public relations play-book ahead of Alibaba’s expected public offering this year which could value the company at $150 billion.’ Regardless of such imputed motivation, the initiative could add impetus to China’s efforts at environmental sustainability.
The Gates Foundation
Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have been leaders in a movement for the wealthiest capitalists to pledge sizable proportions of their assets for charitable purposes. The Gates foundation is admirably led by Biil and Melinda Gates.
From Silicon Valley to Shanghai
The movement has spread into other parts of the world including India. Jack Ma is overcoming reluctance of the wealthiest Chinese entrepreneurs to reveal their wealth as the country develops its new mixed socialist/capitalist political economy.