It’s great that philanthropists are pouring money into environmental causes. But it would be better for the planet if billionaires didn’t exist at all
In a flashy press conference this week, Michael Bloomberg announced that he’s spending $500m to help the United States move closer to a carbon-neutral future. We should be very grateful that Bloomberg isn’t running for president: the money he’s pouring into Beyond Carbon will fund some great and necessary work, like his injection into the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign several years back. But it would be much better for the planet if billionaires like him didn’t exist at all.
As Axios recently reported, the 1% and the world’s biggest companies have more money than they know what to do with, and they’re either hoarding it or pouring it into things like stock buybacks to make the wealthy even wealthier. Hedge funds and private equity funds are snapping up privatized public goods like water and electricity, while rich households are spending their extra cash on asset managers who’ll help them place bets on the next Theranos. Corporate profits have grown as wages have stagnated, all while some of the most useless and destructive parts of our economy balloon.