How would you use money to influence society?

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workathome
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How would you use money to influence society?

Post by workathome »

If you were ultra-wealthy or perhaps had control of a very large charitable trust, how would you influence society? Would you pursue the standard items, like fight poverty, feed the hungry, fight disease, etc.? Or would you have an uncommon pursuit, perhaps something that doesn't fit into influencing typical political issues like guns/abortion/homosexual issues? Perhaps a more grand transformation of society?

The second part of the question is, if the goal seemed reasonably achievable for $X dollars, would it be worth it to "give up" ERE and dedicate your life to accumulating enough wealth to satisfy the goal? "Go Warren Buffet" with total dedication?

I know the second part is a little off, as even expensive political consultants don't really know $X == Goal.

I also don't mean something like, "if only I had $500,000 I could start an organic farm", but more like "if I had $50 billion dollars, is there something I would give it/spend it all for?"

chicago81
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by chicago81 »

That's a tricky question, because I don't have anywhere near $50B, yet I still find it extremely challenging to find charities/causes that do not have layers of corruption, and are worthy of receiving a donation from me.

I'm also jaded by big number sums of money like that... which amounts to just a touch over half of what the Federal Reserve is printing every month for QE.

Corruption and monetary policy aside, I would really like to contribute to curing some of the big ailments of society -- (especially the ailments that someone can be afflicted with, despite living a healthy lifestyle) such as cancer.

Tyler9000
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by Tyler9000 »

Interesting question. One I will have to ponder.

My initial gut reaction is that I don't believe in influencing society with money. Many of the big problems I'd most like to find a way to help (such as those related to the soul) are often most effectively addressed by those with the least money to their name.

Perhaps along those lines, with $50billion I could start my own charitable organization similar to the Gates foundation that sponsored smart and inspired individuals to develop their own big ideas or serve others in meaningful ways.
Last edited by Tyler9000 on Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rube
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by rube »

I would buy almost all fossil fuels (oil-gas-coal) that are daily produced.
With that, I would drive the price up to insane levels and we, humanity, would consume way less fossil fuels.
We would become much more efficient with the small portion of fossil energy that is left. Actually it would require everybody to become much more efficient for everything related to consumerism. That sounds like kind of ERE dictatorship 8-) .

This would also make sustainable forms of energy (solar, wind) economical viable and it would drive new innovations regarding sustainable energy and efficiency.

As a ultimate result, we could avoid the (extreme) climate change and prevent most life on earth would be gone within the next few hundred years.

One problem though, where can I store all the fossil fuels? :D
(of course I would buy the fields and mining rights instead and just don't do anything with it)

vivacious
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by vivacious »

Yeah. The environment is a big problem.

Also get America on the same page more with Europe. America is behind a lot of other first world countries in many ways. So move things in that direction.

If we're just talking about America, those 2 things would go a long ways.

Internationally, some of the pollution in Asia is pretty out of control. It needs to be slowed down/stopped.

There are some useful cheap laptop/cheap internet/cheap phone programs in the world also. It's been proven that access to a cellphone and internet can dramatically reduce poverty.

GandK
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by GandK »

If I had a large amount of money like that, I'd put together a foundation that would help addicts get treatment, education, back on their feet, etc.

susswein
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by susswein »

I can think of two things off the top of my head, but I'm not sure exactly how to implement either:

1) Take money out of politics. Offer to fully fund the campaigns of any politician who agreed not to take money from PACs, lobbyists, or anyone, other than limited contributions from individuals, and pay them NOT to become lobbyists after leaving office.

2) Pay people NOT to have more than 2 kids (especially in the developing world).

Riggerjack
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by Riggerjack »

Well, it wouldn't take 50b, more in the 1-10m category. I want to combine land development with cemeteries. I just lost you, didn't I?
Seriously, every land subdivision in a few counties crosses my wife's desk, and I pretty good at reading development patterns. In WA state, we have an awful lot of timberland, and whipped I don't object to clear cutting on principle, I'd rather have old growth forest. Many folks out here are looking to buy lots on the edge of state or federal land, so they know it won't be developed. It may still be clear cut, but it won't be developed, in theory. There's a tax loophole here, and in most states where cemeteries are not taxed property tax.
I want to combine all that, buy up clear cut sections, put in roads, Wells, and utilities, subdivide out a residential lot or two per section (160 acres make a section). Then sell off 1-10 acre cemetery plots. The plots will be maintained by benign neglect. Let the woods come back. Let them burn, when they burn. Let whatever readers itself grow.
For this to work, the cemetery needs passable roads, until full. The residences can deal with road maintenance, and have greenbelts so big, you can't see or hear your neighbors.
Once it is all sold off, use the money to buy the next big clearcut, and start over. That's what I like about this model, once going, it should pay its way forward, continuing until timber is too expensive to clearcut. Each tree will be grown and managed for peak use...
I think this would change society by showing a model of conservation that doesn't require theft of property thru regulation, and allow those who really want to be out there in the hinterlands to be able to live in the hinterlands.

mikeBOS
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by mikeBOS »

I'd probably find someone who already had a cause they were working on, was exceptionally competent, and give it to them. I couldn't be bothered with the hassle of running a billion dollar charitable organization.

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Ego
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by Ego »

I have to admit... I don't know what I would do.

This was an interesting story:
http://pegasus.ucf.edu/story/rosen/

workathome
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by workathome »

For the most part, I think it is a fairly interesting consensus. I think most of the big society-shifting ideas are already discussed and being attempted by larger/rich charities and government organizations. I get the impression there's no reason to pursue being ultra-wealthy, even if it were within the realm of possibilities to achieve (unless you simply have an insatiable drive for power/control).

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Dream of Freedom
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by Dream of Freedom »

I would sponsor the martial arts for young introverted children. When I was is the second grade I was a bit of a runt. I weighed in at a whopping 90 lbs. A classmate topping the scales at 120, big for a second grader, decided he could hit me whenever he liked. The next year my parents enrolled me in Taekwondo lessons. Whoever said that violence never solved anything doesn't know my story.

Dragline
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by Dragline »

Dream of Freedom wrote:I would sponsor the martial arts for young introverted children. When I was is the second grade I was a bit of a runt. I weighed in at a whopping 90 lbs. A classmate topping the scales at 120, big for a second grader, decided he could hit me whenever he liked. The next year my parents enrolled me in Taekwondo lessons. Whoever said that violence never solved anything doesn't know my story.
Roadhouse! (Sorry I couldn't resist another inane reference that has nothing to do with this thread):

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/82150336/

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jennypenny
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by jennypenny »

I think I would buy up all of the abandoned buildings in urban areas and turn them back into green space. Maybe turn industrial areas into those big greenhouses you see in places like the Netherlands.

I'd love to force companies to turn the land back into green space when they abandon the space. It's bad enough to see functioning industrial sites, but abandoned ones break my heart.

riparian
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by riparian »

Is there anything you could do with a bunch of money to actually change society/laws/the norms of the dominant culture, or are you limited to throwing money at the problems rather than creating solutions?

George the original one
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by George the original one »

I'm with riparian... Money influences, but it's ideas and commitment that change the world.

riparian
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by riparian »

Any instructions for changing the world, George?

Felix
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by Felix »

Propaganda usually works.

northman
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by northman »

1. Build a Thorium reactor in the US and Europe.
2. Lobby to stop subsidising farming in First world countries.
3. Develop a Kindle(ish) device, fill it up with the knowledge every child and adult shoold know, and sell it in the "developing" world.
4. Attend TED talks, and get ideas and sponsor those who can change the World.

workathome
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Re: How would you use money to influence society?

Post by workathome »

I'm thinking:

1. Create various holding groups
2. Buy up direct and indirect control of as many media outlets as possible
3. Slowly insinuate idea X into news reports, sitcoms, etc.

For example, instead of making cheesy shows to ridicule "crazy doomsday preppers" and making fun of them, you could slowly indoctrinate the masses to keep a large supply of resources available so they're less dependent on government assistance during a disaster. Instead, make a bunch of "reality" shows mocking how stupid wasteful consumerism is and put a lot of social pressure and expert confirmation on the masses. Make fun of people who drive instead of walking a mile, or buy a leaf blower instead of getting exercise. Then have Oprah bring on a dozen experts talking about how a new trend is sweeping the nation, where all the smart/cool/clever people are using rakes instead of gas-powered noise makers. Or how stupid lawns are to begin with and how wonderful it is to grow your own food garden. Too much of this though and you might lose a lot of TV watchers as they congregate outdoors instead ;-)

For example, not watching TV too often, I've recently seen a few different sitcoms show how difficult it is to have kids and how annoying crying babies are. Subtle attempt at population control? If instead you wanted to boost population growth, it would be easy enough to emphasize other qualities.

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