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What Would You Do With a Billion Dollars to Give Away?

Written by Gary North on March 31, 2014

The following exercise will give you a way to examine what you really think about the world around you, and how to improve it.

Let me sketch a plausible though highly unlikely scenario. A billionaire is told by his physician that he has a terminal disease. He is going to be dead in 18 months.

This man is nobody’s fool. He knows that if he sets up a foundation and gives his money to it, that foundation is going to be staffed by upper-middle-class college graduates who have spent their careers as bureaucrats in the world of nonprofit charities.

It doesn’t matter what this guy believes in, or what he wants to do with the money; he will probably not be able to do it in 18 months. Some team of bureaucrats is going to do it, and he is sensible enough to know not to turn a billion dollars over to a bunch of bureaucrats who are the products of the system of higher education in the United States, which is mostly an indoctrination system to produce liberals.


So, he decides that he wants to get rid of a billion dollars over the next 12 months, so he can see some payoff from it. He has asked you to tell him what to do with the money. This is an Apollo Creed/Rocky Balboa situation. He picked a run-of-the-mill person to handle the giveaway. He really does believe that Bill Buckley was right 50 years ago, when Buckley said that he would rather be governed by the first 200 names in the Boston telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard University. So, he picked your name out of the phone book. He makes you the following offer: he will pay you $1 million to help him give away a billion dollars over the next year. He does not even require that you quit your present job. If you can set up a system in your spare time that will enable him to give away the billion dollars, you get the million dollars. Would you take the deal?

This would be a huge responsibility. There will be consequences for giving away this kind of money. You do not have time to investigate 1,000 charities to which you are going to give a million dollars. You surely do not have enough time to investigate 10,000 charities to give $100,000 to each.

Here is the problem. It is basically the problem of investing. You want to diversify. If you give away a gigantic chunk of money to some organization, you can be sure that this amount of money is either going to paralyze the organization or else corrupt it. I don’t care what kind of track record the organization has had in the past for doing good things. If you write that organization a check for a billion dollars, the organization is not going to perform at anything like the efficiency at which it has performed in the past.

Could you find 10 organizations that could take $100 million and not squander it? You could probably do it if the organization is very large, such as the American Red Cross. But then the money would simply be marginal. The outfit probably wouldn’t waste the money, or least not waste too much of it, because it would simply spend the money on the same sorts of things that it has spent money on the past. It will be business as usual. It will be more of the same. It will be the same tune, but played by a larger orchestra.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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11 thoughts on “What Would You Do With a Billion Dollars to Give Away?

  1. I'd give it all to the Mises Institute.

  2. Patrick Duffy says:

    You could use the money as kindling in a fireplace, because that's what it is – paper. It has no 'real' value, so you are not giving away anything other than a false promise created by the 'fed'. 'Money' is a concept created by man. Christ had no use for money because he loved God and relied on him. Man needs money because he does not love his neighbor. To serve your neighbor requires a price, but to the righteous they need no price to be of service to their fellow man. The money is paper for a reason, it's 'corruptible' because it's corrupt.


  4. Great article . . . . food for thought!

    Off the top of my head: $250 million each (1) Institute for Justice; (2) Foundation for Economic Education; (3) Mises Institute; (4) Independent Institute.

  5. Applying it ALL to seeing that George Soros is incarcerated, for the crimes he has already been found guilty of.

  6. "What Would You Do With a Billion Dollars to Give Away?"

    I wouldn't. I'd keep it. Well, except for an annual donation to the Mises Institute and antiwar.com. 🙂

  7. harvey melton says:

    hard to say but for sure provide myself a nice retirement, i would have to study the rest out, probably make a lot of anonymous donations and outright gifts.

  8. I would use the money to buy out politicians or retire them and put in ones that think like me.

    *Eliminate income tax.
    *Buy guns for every citizen that wants them and who are able.
    *Go back to the gold standard.
    *Repeal the unconstitutional and illegal amendments.
    *Eliminate the federal reserve.
    *Forbid liberals from government and civil positions that require authority.
    *Eliminate all ABC agencies of the government and downsize.
    *Encourage Christianity in our lives.

    Many more I can’t think of right now but you get the gist.

  9. Virgil Hilts says:

    Put out a HIT on Soros!

  10. Use it to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Putting it to any other use will only yield temporal results that will vanish in a few years, but giving a person the message of the Gospel will yield eternal results. What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but loses his soul?