That's what T.J. Rodgers, founder of Cypress Semiconductor, thought when Turner gave $1billion to the United Nations, a bureaucracy famous for squandering money. "What he said is patently stupid," Rodgers told me. "What he should do is take his money and invest it. And to have the companies and buildings and plants that are created with his investment create jobs and wealth and products for other people. So running around giving his money away is a way to maybe make himself feel good. But it sure as hell isn't a good way to help people!"
It's a shocking comment in this season of giving, but it's also a good point. We lavish praise on the philanthropist, but you can't give away what hasn't been created.
Philosopher David Kelley put it this way. "Why do we think that giving away money is better than making money? Giving away money is a lot easier than building a new business or a new industry where you've created something that didn't exist before. I have a lot more respect for Ted Turner for building CNN at a time when no one thought it was possible than I have for any possible good he could do as a philanthropist."
I'll still give 20 percent of my income to charity, because I'm not good at building businesses. But for those of you who are, no need to apologize for creating wealth.