Over 40 U.S. billionaires have pledged to give away
at least half their wealth to the charity of their choice as part of
"the Giving Pledge," a campaign by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates urging
the rich to make "a moral commitment" to "make the world a better
place." Each pledge requires a public letter explaining their decision.
Warren Buffett pledges
to give 99% of his wealth to philanthropy, notes that the pledge will
leave "untouched" his and his children's lifestyle, and cites his luck
in being born male, white and "in a market system that sometimes
produces distorted results," like "rewarding a great teacher with
thank-you notes...In short, fate's
distribution of long straws is wildly capricious. The reaction of my family and me to our extraordinary good fortune is
not guilt, but rather gratitude. Were we to use more than 1% of my claim
checks on ourselves, neither our happiness nor our well-being would be
enhanced. In contrast, that remaining 99% can have a huge effect on the
health and welfare of others."