Friday, March 23, 2007

Rich Men and Poor Governments

“All Santa Clauses Bill Gates and Warren Buffett Included” Carlos Slim.

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Who said “if you have money donate it”, whoever he be the Mexican tycoon Mr. Carlos Slim does not agree with it. Mr. Carlos Slim with an asset base of $ 49 billion is the third richest man in the world as per the recently published “Forbes list” and fast catching up with the other two who are placed above him. It was not fashionable to say such words poking fun at the billionaires who spend billions of dollars to charity. The venue where the above comments were passed was also of interest, he was inaugurating the billion dollar hospital sponsored by none other than himself!

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“You people go and build stronger companies instead of roaming the world with pockets full of cash and distribute it like Santa Claus” was his wise remark in a lighter vein. Rich people generally do not talk in such plain languages and give any chances to unwanted controversies.

Mr. Slim being an altogether different rich man, and never regret of being rich can express his opinions as it is felt whether it is diplomatic or not. He is of the view that rich people too have place in the world and they have a duty to perform remaining as rich men itself and not by losing their “rich-ness”.

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Mr. Slim candidly remarked that “poverty cannot be solved by donations” and businessmen can better handle the money themselves rather than giving away as donations to some or other body not appreciated for prudence in spending the same as efficiently as the donors.

These statements should be read in the context when Mr. Bill Gates the #1 is flying around the world offering large amounts to charitable organizations and the # 2 Mr. Warren Buffet is proclaiming a dead-line when all his money would be fully handed over to charities! By calling them “Santa Claus” Mr. Slim had been really very kind and diplomatic to his peers.

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Rich people have a role to play in the world and they should grow richer and nurturing the corporations they own. There should be more and more corporations to serve the world, the more the merrier. A corporation should be there to provide good products or service to people, job to its employees, good business to its venders, tax to the government and profit to the owner like a banyan-tree which gives shades to the travelers, food and shelter to birds which live on it.

When a rich man or a corporation pays the taxes as per the law its responsibility towards charity is complete, each pence paid extra is extra itself and the corporation is not morally bound to do it. By indulging in extra charities corporations make the government machinery complacent in performing its actual duties. As usual a complacent government machinery resorts to waste the amount it collects. Such governments go on urging corporations to build roads, flyovers, hospital etc without any sense of shame as a spoilt child which look upon mother to everything persistently and refuse to grow.

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If there are corporations to do all these jobs why should government do this is the mindset of the ministers they have nothing to say about the money they collect as taxes.

The fact is that amidst poverty company owners live in luxury and it is the guilt feeling make them donate more and more, in this process they spoil an already lazy and corrupt government. The company owners deserve a good life as they are the back-bone of an entity that supports so much people.

Can giving generous alms lessen the number of beggars? An emphatic “no” is the answer, more alms will only attract more people to begging thereby increasing the number of beggars, so is charity, it will only increase the number of crooks who thrive upon charities and pocket a lot of money. There are many crooks that have minted money by forming charitable organizations.

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Companies are not governments they don’t collect taxes and its owners need not be Santa Clauses. The rich have a right to live a life of luxury as long as the money they earned is through proper business and all taxes are duly paid. They playing government’s role is not desirable and is comparable to populism exhibited by politicians.

The owner of a company has one duty to the nation “pay taxes honestly” one to the public “render quality goods and services”, one to his family “be a good home-maker”, one to the staff who work for him “be a good pay-master”, and one to the company “enrich and let it grow more and more”. If company is comparable to a tree, charity is like cutting off its branches to feeding it to lazy cows which refuse to graze!.

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