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Jobs vs. Charity? World’s Richest Man Responds

Carlos Slim

Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who Forbes lists as the world’s richest man, does not believe in charity. He believes that the only way to fight poverty is through employment.

“Trillions of dollars have been given to charity in the last 50 years, and they don’t solve anything,” Slim told an audience at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney. His point is that society would benefit more if the rich directed their abilities toward building businesses that would create jobs rather than donating money. Carlos Slim’s net worth is $53.5 billion.

Slim’s stance on charity brings up questions about what a wealthy person in his position should do with his or her money. Slim’s idea of creating jobs for the poor is generally a good idea but it’s far more complicated than that.

On the one hand, how long will it take for those jobs to be created and for the vast majority of the poor to be employed? On the other hand, to give to charity is to donate directly to the cause but how much does that help the people get out of poverty?

Do you believe rich people have a commitment to help the poor? If so what should people in Slim’s position do with their wealth?

Natalie Rondon
Fifth-year, political science

“Yes, I believe rich people have a commitment to at least help the poor in their own country…you should want your country to be well-off. Just as a person you should have compassion.”

Mia Davis
Third-year, Afro-American studies

“Give to the poor, but at the same time, if you can make a way for people to be self-sufficient, that’s also a good thing too. With charity you may be able to reach out to more people, but with employment there’s only so many people you can hire.”

Luis Rondon
Fourth-year, political science

“Yes, by creating more jobs you will help people the most. It’s not about giving because people are going to get used to receiving [benefits] without working for them.”

What do you think? Let us know with your comments!

Jobs vs. Charity? World’s Richest Man Responds

Carlos Slim

Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who Forbes lists as the world’s richest man, does not believe in charity. He believes that the only way to fight poverty is through employment.

“Trillions of dollars have been given to charity in the last 50 years, and they don’t solve anything,” Slim told an audience at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Sydney. His point is that society would benefit more if the rich directed their abilities toward building businesses that would create jobs rather than donating money. Carlos Slim’s net worth is $53.5 billion.

Slim’s stance on charity brings up questions about what a wealthy person in his position should do with his or her money. Slim’s idea of creating jobs for the poor is generally a good idea but it’s far more complicated than that.

On the one hand, how long will it take for those jobs to be created and for the vast majority of the poor to be employed? On the other hand, to give to charity is to donate directly to the cause but how much does that help the people get out of poverty?

Do you believe rich people have a commitment to help the poor? If so what should people in Slim’s position do with their wealth?

Natalie Rondon
Fifth-year, political science

“Yes, I believe rich people have a commitment to at least help the poor in their own country…you should want your country to be well-off. Just as a person you should have compassion.”

Mia Davis
Third-year, Afro-American studies

“Give to the poor, but at the same time, if you can make a way for people to be self-sufficient, that’s also a good thing too. With charity you may be able to reach out to more people, but with employment there’s only so many people you can hire.”

Luis Rondon
Fourth-year, political science

“Yes, by creating more jobs you will help people the most. It’s not about giving because people are going to get used to receiving [benefits] without working for them.”

What do you think? Let us know with your comments!

Forbes First Mexican

Carlos Slim is the first Mexican to top the Forbes list of billionaires, one of the few from outside the United States or Europe. He controls the majority of Mexico’s telecommunication and his telecom business Telmex is described as one of the highest in cost.

The 70-year-old son of a Lebanese immigrant attests to being incredibly frugal by living in the same modest home that he has resided for over three decades in Mexico. He uses Mexico City public transportation and can be seen eating at his restaurant chain, Sanborn’s.

Slim, the “humble man,” should not only be aware of his social responsibility but be held accountable for it. I can’t help but feel unnerved when the wealthiest man in the world come from a developing country. His increase in wealth over the years brings to the public eye the stark contrast between him and the rest of Mexico. The existing disparity between the rich and poor, the unstable economy, the red tape, and the corruption in Mexico all bring to mind one question: how will he redistribute his wealth?

The bulk of his wealth has been obtained through his companies, which include the mobile phone company America Movil and the infrastructure development company Impulsora del Desarrollo y el Empleo. Slim’s companies have caused economic strife in Mexico. His control of Mexico’s telecommunications, restaurants, construction and industrial companies make it impossible for Mexican consumers to not contribute to his amassing wealth. Telmex alone has successfully prevented competing communications companies from entering the Mexican market, keeping Mexico from economic development.

Should Slim’s rise to the top affect Mexico’s economic future? He technically doesn’t owe anything to Mexico. But because a large portion of his fortune has been garnered through his national phone company monopoly, which affects almost all Mexicans, he should give back. Pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into education, health, and aid programs may answer many of Mexico’s needs.

Although Slim’s fortune allows him to make donations to good causes, it is his business practices that need to change. His monopolistic systems are harmful to the economy. A competing market would better facilitate the growth of the Mexican economy, but because he is the biggest employer and the biggest taxpayer in Mexico it is wishful thinking to want to challenge him.

Interestingly, Slim’s massive success comes during Mexico’s historic bicentennial. Perhaps his success serves as an indication of a better economic future for Mexico. A part of me wants to believe that he will stop reaping the benefits of a market that he has successfully dominated over the past 20 years.