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Bill Gates的年書揭:他為何放棄財富

每年一度Bill Gates兩夫婦嘅「比爾暨梅琳達蓋茲基金會」(Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)都會寫一封年書,講述理念同概況。

新一年嘅年書剛剛發佈,題為「10條不易面對的問題」,當中回答為何當初他們會放棄Microsoft的財富,成為焦點。

根據彭博資料,今年61歲的比爾蓋茲在1999年捐出價值160億美元微軟股票,2000年捐出51億美元,到2017年再捐出了6400萬股微軟股票,價值46億美元。

為何會放棄財富,內容大致係講,Bill覺得,回饋社會係有錢人嘅基本責任,同埋佢真心從慈善與科研工作中找到樂趣,佢已經諗唔到,除咗咁,仲可以點使錢。至於Melinda就話,主要係父母教導下,想令世界變得更好,加上自從認識巴菲特之後,就更懂得反思某些價值了。如今這份「工作」,已佔去他們婚姻生活的大部份。

20年前,也許他們可以有其他方式運用財富,但到了今天,他們已無法想像,如果當初沒有捐錢,生活又會如何?或者他們,也不是今天的自己了。

關於財富的原文如下:

Bill: It’s not because we think about how we’ll be remembered. We would be delighted if someday diseases like polio and malaria are a distant memory, and the fact that we worked on them is too.

There are two reasons to do something like this. One is that it’s meaningful work. Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy. We think that’s a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you’ve taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society.

The other reason is that we have fun doing it. Both of us love digging into the science behind our work. At Microsoft, I got deep into computer science. At the foundation, it’s computer science plus biology, chemistry, agronomy, and more. I’ll spend hours talking to a crop researcher or an HIV expert, and then I’ll go home, dying to tell Melinda what I’ve learned.

It’s rare to have a job where you get to have both a big impact and a lot of fun. I had it with Microsoft, and I have it with the foundation. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the bulk of my time.

Melinda: We both come from families that believed in leaving the world better than you found it. My parents made sure my siblings and I took the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church to heart. Bill’s mom was known, and his dad still is known, for showing up to advocate for a dizzying number of important causes and support more local organizations than you can count.

When we got to know Warren Buffett, we discovered that he was steeped in those same values, even though he grew up in a different place and at a different time. When Warren entrusted us with giving away a large portion of his wealth, we redoubled our efforts to live up to the values we share.

Of course, these values are not unique to the three of us. Millions of people give back by volunteering their time and donating money to help others. We are, however, in the more unusual position of having a lot of money to donate. Our goal is to do what our parents taught us and do our part to make the world better.

Bill and I have been doing this work, more or less full-time, for 18 years. That’s the majority of our marriage. It’s almost the entirety of our children’s lives. By now the foundation’s work has become inseparable from who we are. We do the work because it’s our life.

We’ve tried to pass on values to our children by talking with them about the foundation’s work, and, as they’ve gotten older, taking them with us on trips so they can see it for themselves. We’ve connected to each other through thousands of daily debriefs on learning sessions, site visits, and strategy meetings. Where we go, who we spend our time with, what we read and watch and listen to—these decisions are made through the prism of our work at the foundation (when we’re not watching The Crown).