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What Is This Concern About Transparency?



A rather American manner of walking around the truth of what is actually being said:

Jeff Bezos turned over a few more cards on Tuesday, revealing a bit more about his $10 billion commitment to address the globe’s climate crisis, one of the world’s most ambitious philanthropic projects.

Since he announced the Bezos Earth Fund a year ago, the Amazon founder has offered few details on how exactly the money would be distributed, and that ambiguity troubled some voices in the nonprofit sector who want to see more transparency from these megagifts.

These folks expressing the concern. What actually is that concern?

This money belongs to Bezos. He gets to spend it as he wishes. That’s what personal property means, that you get to dispose of it as you wish.

Sure, there’s a sector out there that spends that money for other people – those NGOs. But it’s that there is that sector which tells us what this demand for transparency is.

“Where’s mine?”

If Bezos gets to spend his money as he wishes then there’s no manner of influencing who gets to spend it. If Bezos has to lay out his plans for spending it to be approved by the priestly caste then there is a chance to so influence and some of it can be diverted to paying those Lordly salaries on offer in the sector.

Which is what the concern being expressed is. Without the transparency there is not the possibility to influence and without that influence then how can sticky hands be dipped in the money pot?

The precise structure matters because an LLC, while more nimbly allowing for for-profit investments, is not required to file public tax documents that offer regular disclosures.

If we don’t know where he’s investing then how can we demand our share?



  1. Perhaps we should require those working in a NGO charity to take a vow of poverty. Come to think of it, given recent NGO behavior, a vow of chastity would also be appropriate.

  2. Exactly and good for Tim pointing this out. Most of this transparency bleating is really about “let me see where the lucre is going so I can get my grubby mitts on “my” share”.

  3. The concern is that Bezos might claim to be donating money to worthy causes, and getting kudos for it, but that the donations were either less than stated (possibly by recouping some money) or not going to the stated causes (which includes giving in a wasteful manner so the cause benefits by less than expected).

    • “not going to the stated causes (which includes giving in a wasteful manner so the cause benefits by less than expected).”

      Doesn’t that just kill the idea of government spending…..


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