Negative Reaction to Charity Campaign: German Millionaires Criticize Gates' 'Giving Pledge'

SPIEGEL: But doesn't the money that is donated serve the common good?

Krämer: It is all just a bad transfer of power from the state to billionaires. So it's not the state that determines what is good for the people, but rather the rich want to decide. That's a development that I find really bad. What legitimacy do these people have to decide where massive sums of money will flow?

SPIEGEL: It is their money at the end of the day.

Krämer: In this case, 40 superwealthy people want to decide what their money will be used for. That runs counter to the democratically legitimate state. In the end the billionaires are indulging in hobbies that might be in the common good, but are very personal.

This multimillionaire has an interesting point of view, though a very non-American one. A German has every right to expect the state to best serve the needs of the people, because it often does fulfill most of them -- from education to healthcare to roads. Not so in the States.

What's curious is that he still encourages wealthy Germans to donate, but "not in this form. It would make more sense, for example, to work with and donate to established organizations" -- presumably the Gates Foundation, which no doubt is a recipient of funds from the 'Giving Pledge' counts as an established organization...