Is Philanthropy Driven by the Human Desire to Cheat Death?

George Bernard Shaw quipped that a rich man ‘does not really care whether his money does good or not, provided he finds his conscience eased and his social status improved by giving it away’. Was he right?

Bill and Melinda Gates watch their daughter Jennifer perform during The Hollywood Reporter Trophy class at Longines Los Angeles Masters. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Masters Grand Slam Indoor)

In Socialism for Millionaires (1896), the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw quipped that a rich man ‘does not really care whether his money does good or not, provided he finds his conscience eased and his social status improved by giving it away’. Was he right to be so cynical?

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