Wall Street
Does making millions really help the world’s poor? Many Wall Street employees who earn more than the average worker are making the argument that it is more important and worthwhile to make a lot of money first to be able to donate a lot of money later. These people point to billionaire do-gooders like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg to prove that those who give the most are those who have the most to give.

At first it seems logical that Wall Street could end global poverty. Take a simple scenario of a Wall Street employee. If that person earns hundreds of millions of dollars per year, for example, they could choose to donate all but a few million to charities that help alleviate global poverty. They and their family would still be able to live a very luxurious lifestyle, and millions of people around the world would reap enormous benefits from all the donated money. Now, imagine if every millionaire and billionaire did the same thing. It would make a huge difference. But the important question to ask is will Wall Street end global poverty with employee earnings?

John Paulson, a hedge fund manager, earned $5 billion in 2010. While he did donate a portion of that money to charity,  most of the money went to organizations that were less about social change. Paulson’s largest donations went to a business school in New York ($20 million) and the Central Park Conservancy ($100 million). Those donations aren’t bad, since giving any money to any charity is certainly commendable, but that $120 million may have gone further if it had gone to help starving children or provide clean drinking water to the poorest areas of the world.

Paulson certainly isn’t the only person to do this, since many people (billionaires and everyday employees) choose to give money to charities that are closest to them personally. Whether it’s the college from which they graduated, an animal shelter, or even a videogame organization, many people feel compelled to give back to charities or organizations that helped them, and may not consider the fact that there could be better uses for their money. So while it’s certainly not a bad thing for Wall Street millionaires and billionaires to donate to charities that touch their personal lives, in order to benefit the most number of people in the most significant ways, it could be wiser to donate to a charity that focuses on saving lives.

Katie Brockman
Source: New York Magazine
Photo: American Security Project

Isabel Dos Santos Africa's First Female Billionaire
Isabel Dos Santos, the daughter of Angolan president Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, is Africa’s first female billionaire. Dos Santos is an Angolan investor, and according to Forbes, she has become the Africa’s wealthiest female, reaching a net worth of more than a billion USD. She ranks in at 736 richest person in the world overall and thirty-first in Africa.

The president’s daughter works to keep her prowess as a businesswoman separated from the political field. However, she has received sharp criticism as to how she acquired her wealth. President Dos Santos has been accused of enriching his family at the expense of normal Angolans- a country where a majority of the population lives on $2 a day.  Problems come into play here because it is nearly impossible to trace the sources of her funds. There is a complete lack of transparency and many of her business transactions are approved and transferred by her father.

Dos Santos has invested in several publicly traded companies in Portugal as well as Angola. She has significant shares in a cable TV firm, as well as assets in at least one Angolan bank. Although, exactly how she got the funds remains unknown.

Dos Santos commands the biggest percentage of shares in Zon Multimedia, which is the largest cable TV operator in Portugal. She also holds 19.5% holding at Banco BPI- one of Portugal’s largest publicly traded banks. In Angola, Dos Santos sits on the board of Banco BIC and is reported to own as much as a 25% stake in the bank.

Angola has emerged from a civil war and developed into one of Africa’s largest economic contributors. This economic growth, however, has not come without problems. Angola has been criticized for its dramatically unequal society, ranking 148th of 187 countries on the U.N Human Development Index. Additionally, they have ranked 157th of 176 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

– Caitlin Zusy
Source Forbes, Guardian