La seule différence entre les grands et les petits garçons, c’est le prix de leurs jouets. Dona Rowlands
Celui qui meurt avec le plus de jouets gagne. Malcom Forbes
Michael Corkery, le blogueur du Wall Street Journal, (…) fait ainsi remarquer que George Soros, dont la fortune est estimée à 11 milliards de dollars, ne figure pas dans la liste. John Paulson, le célèbre gérant du hedge fund qui a su tirer profit de la crise des subprimes et de l’effondrement de l’immobilier, non plus. Le gérant de hedge fund David Tepper qui attribue en partie sa réussite à ses testicules en cuivre porte-bonheur, fait aussi partie des grands absents, tout comme son concurrent Paul Tudor Jones. L’autre nom connu qui brille par son absence est celui de Maurice Greenberg, l’ancien PDG d’AIG. L’Expansion
Depuis la récession, les Américains riches sont à la recherche de nouveaux symboles de prestige, Les yachts, jets privés et villas au bord de la mer sont tellement 2007. Etre assez riche et généreux pour avoir son nom dans la liste « Giving Pledge » pourrait rapidement devenir l’ultime badge de prestige. Robert Franck (Wealth Report)
Richesse oblige is part of American culture. The peer pressure to give is great (for donors large and small), which is what makes US givers three times as generous as Britons. The Giving Pledge has upped that peer pressure and set an expectation that only serious generosity gets you into the new A-list of philanthropy. (…) If these billionaire philanthrocapitalists can follow Gates’s example their giving could be world-changing. Editorial du Guardian
Devinez qui se fait encore remarquer?
Suite à la sortie du film de Ferguson sur la crise financière de septembre 2008
Qui faisait la part belle au milliardaire favori de la gauche américaine, George Soros, qui, on s’en souvient, avait fait sa fortune en attaquant la livre britannique ..
Retour sur ces milliardaires qui, après avoir plumé le monde et s’être fait renflouer par l’Etat, brillent encore cette fois par leur particulière radinerie …
Un milliardaire américain sur dix s’est publiquement engagé à verser la moitié de sa fortune à la charité. De quoi mettre la pression sur ceux qui sont encore réticents à répondre à l’appel de générosité lancé par Bill Gates et Warren Buffett.
L’investisseur Warren Buffet est le troisième homme le plus riche du monde
Mike Segar / Reuters
115 milliards de dollars. Voilà ce que vaut la promesse de dons des 40 milliardaires américains qui ont répondu à l’appel de Bill Gates et Warren Buffett. Et ce n’est que le début. Les Etats-Unis comptent 400 milliardaires et les deux philanthropes comptent bien les solliciter. L’objectif est d’atteindre 600 milliards de dollars.
La « révolution du philanthrocapitalisme » a commencé en 2006 quand Gates et Buffett, qui disposent de respectivement à 53 et 47 milliards de dollars, se sont publiquement engagés à léguer 95% de leur richesse à de bonnes oeuvres.
Le mouvement a fait des émules : Bono, Angelina Jolie et Brad Pitt sont parmi les plus connus. Il faut dire que l’exaltation américaine du self-made-man s’y prête. Ceux qui ont construit leur puissance tout seul considèrent souvent l’héritage comme un frein à la création de nouvelles richesses.
Le « peer pressure », une arme redoutable
En juin, les philanthropes décident de passer à la vitesse supérieure avec l’initiative « Giving Pledge ». L’idée est simple : ils demandant directement à leur pairs de les imiter et de s’engager à verser au moins la moitié de leur fortune à une oeuvre caritative, de leur vivant ou après leur mort.
Le « peer pressure » joue à fond. Car en publiant la liste de ceux qui acceptent, ils mettent les autres dans une position pour le moins inconfortable. Michael Corkery, le blogueur du Wall Street Journal, ne s’est d’ailleurs pas privé de citer quelques uns des riches récalcitrants, en se concentrant surtout sur le secteur financier.
Il fait ainsi remarquer que George Soros, dont la fortune est estimée à 11 milliards de dollars, ne figure pas dans la liste. John Paulson, le célèbre gérant du hedge fund qui a su tirer profit de la crise des subprimes et de l’effondrement de l’immobilier, non plus. Le gérant de hedge fund David Tepper qui attribue en partie sa réussite à ses testicules en cuivre porte-bonheur, fait aussi partie des grands absents, tout comme son concurrent Paul Tudor Jones. L’autre nom connu qui brille par son absence est celui de Maurice Greenberg, l’ancien PDG d’AIG.
Les milliardaires veulent améliorer leur image
Le problème avec cette « liste noire », c’est que ce n’est pas parce qu’ils ne se sont pas engagés auprès de Gates et Buffett qu’ils n’ont pas été généreux. Paul Tudor Jones, par exemple, a quand même fondé le Robin Hood Foundation qui s’applique à lutter contre la pauvreté à New York.
En tout cas, l’approche a le mérite d’être efficace. En à peine un mois et demi, près de 40 milliardaires se sont engagés. Parmi eux, le fondateur de CNN Ted Turner, le maire de New York Michael Bloomberg, le co-fondateur d’Oracle Larry Ellison ou encore le réalisateur George Lucas.
« Depuis la récession, les Américain riches sont à la recherche de nouveaux symboles de prestige, explique le blogueur Robert Franck du Wealth Report. Les yachts, jets privés et villas au bord de la mer sont tellement 2007. Etre assez riche et généreux pour avoir son nom dans la liste « Giving Pledge » pourrait rapidement devenir l’ultime badge de prestige ».
Au-delà de cet aspect lié à l’image, les dons pourraient se traduire par des rentrées de fonds colossales pour les organismes caritatifs. A en croire un éditorial du Guardian, « si les milliardaires se mettent à suivre l’exemple de Bill Gates, leurs dons pourraient changer le monde ».
Voir aussi :
August 4, 2010
Apparently, it’s hard to turn down America’s richest men when they ask for money.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett announced today that 40 signers, including at least 30 billionaires and other wealthy families, had officially made the Giving Pledge–a promise to give away more than half their fortunes.
Many of the names already were known, from Eli and Edythe Broad and Michael Bloomberg to Pierre and Pam Omidyar and Paul Allen. But the list also includes some notable new ones, especially from the world of finance: New York financier Ronald O. Perelman; Citigroup founder Sandy Weill and wife Joan; hedge-funders Julian Robertson Jr. and Jim Simons; and private-equity honcho David Rubenstein.
The technology sector also is well represented, by venture capitalist John Doerr and wife Anne; Pierre Omidyar and wife Pam; and Jeff Skoll.
The list includes a few old-money (or at least older-money) names: Barron Hilton and David Rockefeller. Still, almost all are self-made billionaires or near-billionaires.
The turnout is impressive, especially since the Gates-Buffett-sponsored pledge was just announced a month and a half ago.
Since some of the names already planned to give away half their fortune, the hard part will be persuading additional signers in the months to come. The Gates Foundation plans to hold small dinners in coming months in which signers will try to persuade potential givers to give their John Hancocks.
Some people may write off the pledge as a gimmick aimed at simply improving the PR of the super-rich, which could certainly use some improving. But the list could become a strong financial force for philanthropy, if for no other reason than peer pressure, publicity and the inspiring example of others.
America’s rich have been searching for new status symbols in the wake of the Great Recession. Yachts, private jets, seaside mansions are so 2007. But being wealthy enough and generous enough to get on the Giving Pledge list may quickly become the ultimate badge of status–both in the U.S. and abroad.
Do you think the pledge has been effective at raising additional charity dollars?
The Giving Pledge reminds us how Britain lags behind the US in charitable giving. A push by our super-rich could close the gap
Matthew Bishop and Michael Green
5 August 2010
Could Sir Richard Branson take a lead in persuading super-rich Britons to meet the GIving Pledge criteria of giving away at least half their fortunes?
The figure is $115bn. That’s what the Giving Pledge made by 38 American billionaires on Wednesday could be worth if they fulfil their promise to give at least half their fortunes away. This is serious money and marks another milestone in the resurgence of philanthropy – what we call philanthrocapitalism – over the past decade.
The architects of the Giving Pledge, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and uber-investor Warren Buffett, kickstarted the philanthrocapitalism revolution in 2006 when they made a public commitment to give their fortunes away. Now, through the Giving Pledge, one in 10 of America’s 400 billionaires has committed to join them and make philanthropy a vocation.
If these billionaire philanthrocapitalists can follow Gates’s example their giving could be world-changing. Through his own philanthropy (and cajoling of governments), Gates has driven a step change in the world’s efforts to take on killer diseases in the developing world. As a result of these efforts, annual research spending on malaria has soared from $60m a decade ago to nearly $2bn today, which means that there is a real possibility of preventing the million deaths a year from this disease within the next decade. With their business nous and willingness to support innovative ideas, as well as their money, these philanthrocapitalists could become the world’s leading problem-solvers.
Critics have pointed out that many of the names on the list are already veteran philanthropists – like New York mayor and media tycoon Michael Bloomberg or real estate magnate Eli Broad – and may have already planned to give it all away. Yet it is still a big step that they have done so publicly. There were also surprises on the list, particularly Gates’s great rival in business Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, who has blown hot and cold about philanthropy in his public statements in the past.
In the past, Gates has always focused on the enjoyment he gets from giving rather than heavy moral arguments to persuade his billionaire peers to join him in stumping up to save lives in Africa or fix America’s broken school system. The Giving Pledge marks a change in strategy as he and Buffett turn up the heat on the super-rich to join them in doing good.
Richesse oblige is part of American culture. The peer pressure to give is great (for donors large and small), which is what makes US givers three times as generous as Britons. The Giving Pledge has upped that peer pressure and set an expectation that only serious generosity gets you into the new A-list of philanthropy. More billionaires are expected to sign up in the coming months.
Could a Giving Pledge have the same impact here in Britain?
According to the lastest Forbes magazine listings, Britain is home to 40 billionaires but only one of them, Lord Sainsbury, has given enough away to qualify to sign the Giving Pledge. Others, such as the Duke of Westminster, are prominent supporters of charity but their publicly declared giving is not of a scale to get into the new Buffett and Gates philanthropy elite.
Some of Britain’s billionaire donors may protest that they already have plans to give half or more of their fortune away. Perhaps. But that may be the point of the Giving Pledge – putting the question that polite society is reluctant to ask of the rich: exactly how generous are you?
The Charities Aid Foundation has estimated that a similar pledge by Britain’s billionaires would release £60bn of new giving. With the government broke, such a surge in generosity by the super-rich may be just what this country needs to finance the « big society ».
So who should front up a British Giving Pledge?
Lord Sainsbury is the obvious choice, since he has already got there, but he doesn’t have the media pulling power or charisma of Gates or Buffett. There’s really only one British billionaire with the profile to carry this off – the media-friendly Sir Richard Branson.
Despite his impressive track record on doing good – from investing in new technology to tackle climate change to trying to stop the war in Iraq by flying Nelson Mandela to Baghdad to persuade Saddam Hussein to slip away into exile – Branson has not been a big giver of his personal fortune.
What better PR opportunity for Britain’s best-loved billionaire to take the lead with a big pledge of his own? Even if he does insist on calling it the Virgin Giving Pledge.
Charles E. Cohen
March 19, 1990
Malcolm Forbes Owned Castles and Yachts, Ran with Bikers and Movie Stars, and Almost Proved His Maxim: « He Who Dies with the Most Toys, Wins »
In a way, it was a fitting salute to a clamorous life. As mourners gathered in the hushed sanctuary of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City, and gawkers and photographers clawed for position on the steps outside, the haunting screel of a lone bagpiper gave way to a rising thunder of motorcycle engines. Incongruously, deafeningly, some three dozen leather-swathed bikers gunned their hogs in an impromptu procession up Park Avenue. The discordant moment elicited little surprise from the arriving luminaries. For those who had passed through the orbit of Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, cultural clashes were commonplace. And what could make a more appropriate funeral dirge for this self-styled Leader of the Pack than the wail of bagpipes and Harley engines throbbing through the Byzantine-style church in New York City’s silk-stocking neighborhood?
The memorial service was really the last of Malcolm’s legendary parties—a land-locked yacht ride for dignitaries, titans of industry and show-business celebrities. Where else would former President Richard Nixon find himself stuffed into a pew cheek-by-jewel with Forbes’s frequent escort of recent years, Elizabeth Taylor? Many of the 2,000 who gathered to praise Malcolm, not to bury him, later streamed through the limestone Forbes Building on lower Fifth Avenue for a New Society-style wake featuring cocktails, pate and smoked salmon. On display were selections from Forbes’s vast collections of art and artifacts, including antique model boats, toy soldiers and manuscripts. At the time of his death, estimates of Malcolm’s wealth ranged from $400 million to $1.25 billion, though Forbes magazine itself coyly declined to pin down the exact total in its annual list of richest Americans. He owned eight homes, including Timberfield, the 40-acre Far Hills, N.J., estate where he died in his sleep on Feb. 24; a palace in Tangier, Morocco; a chateau in Normandy; and the island of Lauthala in Fiji, where Forbes had directed his ashes be buried under a marker with the epitaph WHILE ALIVE, HE LIVED. In addition to the family’s feisty business magazine, which media analysts estimate may be worth as much as $600 million, Forbes also held 400 square miles of real estate, 2,200 paintings and 12 Russian Imperial Faberge eggs, more than even the Soviet government.
Still, it was not money that made Forbes a household name, but the way he flaunted what it could buy. He entertained royalty on his 151-foot, helicopter-equipped yacht, The Highlander, and jetted around the world in his private 727 (named Capitalist Tool). He set six world records in hot-air ballooning—he was the first person to fly coast-to-coast in a single balloon—and led « goodwill » motorcycle and ballooning tours to unlikely destinations including the Soviet Union, Thailand, China and Pakistan. Only last August, his $2 million 70th-birthday bash in Morocco sparked an acrimonious debate about the morality of such conspicuous presumption.
Though he appeared to be a natural extrovert, Forbes’s expansive personality was late in developing. Not until middle-age did he make the metamorphosis from financial duckling to the flamboyant media prince the public came to know. « He was originally and basically a very shy person, uncomfortable with people, » says James W. Michaels, the editor of Forbes and a 36-year associate of its publisher. « Over the years, he more or less remade his persona. He realized that in both business and politics, it was very useful to have a public image before making a call and trying to sell something. »
A Princeton graduate, Forbes received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart after the Battle of Aachen, then, at the end of World War II, joined the family publishing business run by his taciturn Scottish immigrant father, B.C. « Bertie » Forbes. He also tried his hand at politics, winning the Republican nomination for Governor of New Jersey in 1957, but was soundly defeated in the general election by Democrat Robert Meyner. The loss marked one of the few times his children remember seeing Forbes downcast. « What struck me was when something went wrong, he looked as if you had punched him in the face, » remembers his eldest son, Malcolm S. Forbes Jr., 42, known as Steve. « But he very quickly went on to the next thing. » After the death from cancer of his older brother Bruce, in 1964, Malcolm put politics out of his mind for good and took on the top job at Forbes, Inc.
It was then that his personal transformation began. Far from engaging in the lavish entertaining that became his trademark, Forbes was known at the time mainly for his conservative politics and solitary habits. His daily custom was to withdraw to a luncheonette across the street from the Forbes offices in Manhattan, accompanied only by a book. Then gradually he discovered a flair for self-promotion and warmed to the spotlight. When, by the early ’80s, Wall Street was booming, Forbes was ready to present his magazine—and himself—as the very embodiment of the limitless success possible in America.
The Forbes trappings—the yacht, the plane, the parties, the giant balloons bearing the magazine’s logo—were all part of a strategy of megapromotion. Wherever he went, much of Malcolm’s entourage consisted of potential Forbes advertisers, and the boss was known to sell a sizable percentage of the magazine’s ads himself. Revenues increased enormously under his guidance. But Forbes editorial staffers complained that Malcolm sometimes overused the prerogative of ownership, engaging in the journalistically suspect practice of softening or killing stories to protect friends or advertisers. And there was persistent speculation—officially denied by the magazine—that Forbes’s widely read « Fact and Comment » column was produced by a ghostwriter.
Majority control of the Forbes empire now falls to son Steve, who will receive 51 percent of the estate. The rest will be divided among the four other children: Robert, 41, who oversees the family real estate properties; Christopher (Kip), 40, who is curator of the many Forbes family collections; Timothy, 37, the president of the Forbes-owned American Heritage Magazine, and Moira Forbes Mumma, 34, who works with the physically handicapped. While alive, Malcolm had discussed his will freely. He said he feared that dividing his estate equally among the children would lead to infighting and leave the company rudderless. His offspring now insist they are all pleased with the way the pie has been cut, though some observers worry that the cerebral Steve may lack the panache necessary to fill his zestful father’s shoes. Others take comfort from the fact that similar criticisms were once directed at Malcolm. And Malcolm’s father had himself developed his more pronounced eccentricities—including growing his hair long—only later in life, suggesting perhaps that Forbes men become more interesting with age.
Naturally, Malcolm Forbes’s wealth and relentless self-promoting ways made his personal life the object of considerable attention. In 1985 he and his wife of 39 years, Roberta Laidlaw Forbes, divorced. She now divides her time between a small New Jersey house and a ranch in Colorado. Sources close to the family say the split was due primarily to Mrs. Forbes’s longtime disdain for publicity and Malcolm’s increasing hunger for it. (At the memorial, Liz Taylor took the place of honor—the aisle seat on the first row. Mrs. Forbes ended up buried in the middle of the row.) Forbes’s subsequent friendship with Taylor was a source of endless fascination to the tabloid press, though the two announced often—and persuasively—that they were simply good friends. Some suspected Forbes’s relationship with Taylor was one of mutual convenience. Getting onto the gossip pages helped Malcolm sell magazines and Liz her perfume, Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion.
In recent years, Forbes’s exuberant nightlife generated persistent if unproven rumors of his homosexuality, especially on the New York City club scene and in the magazine publishing world. In a soon-to-be-released unauthorized biography of Forbes, Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Winans will reportedly substantiate stories that Forbes, father of five and grandfather of eight, was at least bisexual. « There are going to be some very startling details in this book, » says Winans’s agent, Jane Dystel. Meanwhile, Out Week, a New York magazine published for gays, was scheduled to feature Forbes on its cover this week and to name at least one former lover.
For their part, family members have either denied such rumors or declined comment. Asked about the rumors, Robert Forbes told PEOPLE, « Well, I don’t like to see things about people’s private lives in print. I don’t really have any comment. »
Rather than speculate about reported relationships, the Forbes heirs preferred last week to recall their own bond with their father. « He not only enjoyed us, but he was really interested in us being happy, » says Moira Forbes Mumma, who, unlike her brothers, has never worked for the family company. « He had an intuitive sense of allowing us to find our own lives. » (Before his death, Malcolm and author Jeff Bloch completed the manuscript for What Happened to Their Kids, a book about the unhappy adult lives of the children of the rich and famous. In 1988 they shared credit for They Went That-a-way, a collection of anecdotes about how the famous and infamous died.)
At Forbes’s memorial service, the five children took turns sharing their memories of the man who raised them. Timothy, who is in charge of the company’s new pop-culture magazine, egg, described his father’s unauthorized balloon flight over Beijing in 1982, which ended unexpectedly in the middle of a Red Army installation. Christopher spoke about his father’s love of his Scottish heritage and his insistence on sharing it with his children. « If you and your siblings had had to go to church dressed in kilts, your friends snickering at the sight of you all in skirts… you could begin to understand why all of us are close, » he observed. Son called some of his father’s set-backs, including the painful divorce and his previously undisclosed cancer in the early 1980s. « These, and other experiences he had can harden people, » he said. « But with Pop they simply deepened his already considerable empathy for others. »
The most widely shared sentiments about Malcolm Forbes, though, were probably expressed by his son Robert. « It’s been a hell of a party, Pop, my special friend, and such fun, » he said, his voice breaking. « Thanks for the trip. »
—Charles E. Cohen, with Robin Micheli, Sam Mead and Mary Huzinec in New York City