Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

  • Sophie: And I'm Sophie.

  • Neil: Sophie, I can't get out of my head what Mark Zuckerberg,

  • you know, the guy who created Facebook, said recently.

  • Sophie: Oh, I know, he pledgedor made a serious promise

  • to give away 99% of his shares in Facebook over the course of his lifetime.

  • The shares are currently worth around $45 billion.

  • Neil: Why, oh why did he decide to give his fortune away? It's puzzling to me.

  • Sophie: It's an act of philanthropy �V which means helping others,

  • especially by giving large amounts of money to good causes.

  • Neil: And philanthropy is the subject of this show.

  • Sophie: But don't worry about Zuckerberg,

  • it's probably fair to say that he will remain extremely well off

  • or wealthyeven after giving away his fortune.

  • Neil: Well, that's true. Let me ask you then today's quiz question:

  • Who was the most generous philanthropist in the US last year?

  • Was it ... a) Bill Gates b) Mark Zuckerberg or c) Warren Buffett

  • Sophie: um...I'm going to say... c) Warren Buffett.

  • Neil: Well, we'll find out if you were right or not later on in the show.

  • Now, Zuckerberg was inspired to give away his fortune by the birth of his daughter Max.

  • In a letter to Maxposted on Facebook.

  • In his post, he talks about using the money to advance human potential and promote equality

  • for all children in the next generation.

  • Equalityin other words, with the same rights and opportunities.

  • Sophie: Zuckerberg is the latest in a long line of billionaire entrepreneurs to turn philanthropist

  • and use his money for good causes.

  • Did you know that some of the earliest American philanthropists were robber barons?

  • Neil: Robber barons? What's ... ? Hang on, what are robber barons?

  • Sophie: They're business people who use unethical - or morally wrong - business tactics

  • to gain large personal fortunes.

  • Nineteenth-century entrepreneurs like Rockefeller, Carnegie and Ford were robber barons.

  • They built up huge empires in industryoil, steel, railways, and cars

  • and were largely responsible for transforming the United States

  • from an agricultural nation into an industrial one.

  • Neil: Henry Fordhe's the one who said you can have any colour you want as long as it's black.

  • I like that kind of thing.

  • Sophie: Focus, Neil!

  • Neil: OK. OK.

  • Sophie: But as the barons got older, they decided they wanted to give back to society,

  • and turned to philanthropy.

  • Andrew Carnegie believed that wealth should be spent to make the world a better place.

  • Neil: That sounds too warm and fuzzy for a ruthlessor cruel - robber baron.

  • Sophie: People change, Neil!

  • When he died, Carnegie had given away a total of $350m to the state to spend on public works.

  • That's around $8bn in today's money.

  • Neil: Well, let's listen to Hugh Cunningham, a Professor of History at the University of Kent here, in the UK.

  • He talks about what the average Joe

  • that's you and me, folksthinks about big business and philanthropy today.

  • Hugh Cunningham: The very word philanthropy

  • does not necessarily have 100% positive connotations for the public

  • at large given where we are in terms of the public's attitude towards

  • business or the banks and that kind of stuff.

  • So I think it's in everyone's interests to try and broaden out the concept of philanthropy

  • into a wider notion of giving, making a contribution, making a difference.

  • Neil: Yes, banks and big businesses can easily afford to give away millions of dollars

  • for the public good if they choose to.

  • It is not so easy when you're an individual struggling to pay the rent.

  • Sophie: That's right, Neil.

  • But a lot of people in the UK are super-rich compared to those in the developing world.

  • And we can make a big difference by donatingor giving

  • smaller amounts of money to help improve their lives.

  • Neil: And that's what Professor Cunningham means

  • when he says we should broaden out the notionor ideaof philanthropy.

  • It's not only robber barons who can afford to be philanthropic.

  • Let's listen to Toby Ord, a graduate student from Oxford University

  • talking about how he makes a difference.

  • Toby Ord: I worked out that over my life I'd be able to earn about £1.5m.

  • um...and that I could maintain my current standard of living as a graduate student

  • and still donate about £1m of that.

  • Sophie: So Toby actually gives away any money that he earns above £18,000 a year.

  • He feels that he doesn't need more than this amount to maintain his standard of living.

  • Neil: I'm impressed by Toby's pledge but I don't think I could live like a student my whole life!

  • Sophie: I thought that would suit you extremely well, Neil!

  • Now why don't you give us the answer to today's quiz question?

  • Neil: I asked: Who was the most generous philanthropist in the US last year?

  • Was it... a) Bill Gates? b) Mark Zuckerberg? Or c) Warren Buffett?

  • Sophie: I said Warren Buffett.

  • Neil: Good guess, Sophie! Well done!

  • Buffett, who made his $73bn fortune from investments, donated $2.8bn to charity in 2014

  • bringing his lifetime total to almost $23bn, according to Forbes.

  • That's a tidy sumand that means a large number!

  • OK let's hear those words again, Sophie.

  • Sophie: Here they are:

  • pledged

  • philanthropy

  • well off

  • human potential

  • equality

  • unethical

  • ruthless

  • average Joe

  • donating

  • a tidy sum

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English.

  • Please join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye.

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 UK sophie philanthropy robber zuckerberg buffett toby

BBC 6 Minute English February 18, 2016 - Giving away your fortune

  • 7628 218
    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/19
Video vocabulary