Philanthropy is little more than PR for billionaires

If you spent any time on social media over winter break, you probably heard about the Australian brush fires. They have been raging for months, have claimed the lives of 31 people and millions of animals, and more than 27 million acres of land has burned. These brush fires will have a long-lasting impact on Australia and will have a ripple effect around the globe.

The world has come together to try to help Australia try to fight these fires, mainly with monetary donations.  One donator, however, caught a lot of attention for their lack of generosity. That was Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.

Bezos donated $690,000 to the bush fires. Aaron Holmes, a reporter for Business Insider, estimated that for the past few months Bezos has been making $690,000 every thirty minutes. In 2018, Holmes estimated that Bezos made that much in as little as five minutes.

For context, that’s the equivalent of someone donating 80 cents while making a $10 hourly wage. To add even more context, an internet influencer raised $700,000 for the Australian brush fires by selling nude photos of herself.

Billionaires want the other 99 percent of Americans to see them as do-gooders and people working to improve society, so that we won’t start sending them to the guillotine again. They save face through philanthropy, so we don’t question why they live lifestyles that are killing the planet or why they lobby for laws that reinforce income inequality.

It’s time to see through the billionaire philanthropy façade for what it truly is – a means for social control to maintain their unimaginable wealth. Let’s stop the glorification of their donations and quit giving them the positive PR they clearly crave and maybe need. After all, if it were only about the cause or doing a good deed, they could simply choose to give anonymously.