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I’m not sure I agree with him, but Google founder Larry Page has an interesting thought. From Business Insider:
Google CEO Larry Page has an unusual idea about what should happen to his billions should he die.
Instead of giving it to a philanthropic organization, he’d rather hand over his cash to Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity.
In a conversation with Charlie Rose at a TED conference on Wednesday, Page said he wanted his money going to capitalists like Musk — those with big ideas for changing the world — according to a report at Wired.
He thinks Musk’s vision for going to Mars “to back up humanity” is inspired. He said, “That’s a company, and that’s philanthropical.”
I have zero idea what Page’s politics are — I suspect they’re of the off-the-shelf Silicon Valley variety: heavy on naive, tech-confident entrepreneurial capitalism, light on traditional, grubby Republican Main Street concerns, devoid of any interest in the culture or the family. Page hasn’t donated anything to politicians, but his partner Sergey Brin is a reliable Democratic fundraiser, and Google has hosted major Obama fundraising events.
It’s interesting though that non-profit charities seem, to Larry Page, like hidebound small-timers. That may be true — for some of them, anyway. But there’s something about the smug “we’re changing the world” attitude I hear from Silicon Valley types that rubs me the wrong way.
Yes, some companies can change the world. And yes, if Elon Musk manages to get to Mars, that would be cool. (It would be cooler if he could figure out how to make the Tesla go further than 250 miles…). But Page and his colleagues are rich enough — vastly so — to do something that wouldn’t change the world and wouldn’t get us to Mars but just might have a greater and more lasting impact.
They could start a school. Wouldn’t have to be a big one. Maybe something in San Francisco or Oakland, open to all, free, rigorous. Something for other zillionaires to see and maybe duplicate, wherever they are. Something that addresses a very real problem — a problem amplified and extended by their chosen party’s and favorite president’s misguided and corrupted slavishness to the current public school establishment.
Stop changing the world. Teach math and writing and science instead.Published in