In his essay “the Allure of Luxury” author James B. Twitchell concludes that “maybe poverty will be the new luxury…competitive philanthropy has its allure” (110). This is a nice thought but the possibility that the mega wealthy will tire of their money and luxury to a point when the only thrill left is becoming the biggest contributor to charity does not seem likely to happen. The wealthy who are already in the largest donor race have exhibited no interest in bleeding their accounts dry for the sake of the greater good. Furthermore, it appears as though when these large contributions are made it is in the expectation of some type of ostentatious gesture on the part of the recipient, or at least, in the hopes of garnering some really good
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Lavish as it may be, the contribution will certainly not put Blavatnik in the poor house. His quote states nothing of how this donation will irrevocably affect his net worth. Furthermore, it is important to mention that the new school will be called the Blavatnik School of Government (“Biggest Gifts Announced by Individuals in 2010”). This seems like a rather small amount reciprocity for such a large gift but the idea of reciprocity at all makes many of these large gifts suspect. Having a school of government named after him at Oxford University is undoubtedly great public relations for the founder of an international company. Access Industries must routinely face government regulations. Maybe the back end intention of the gift was to make it easier to cut through some of that bureaucratic red tape.
Another one of 2010’s top donors was Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the popular social networking site Facebook. He pledged one hundred million dollars to develop “Startup: Education” an educational program that will help fund the Newark, NJ public school system (“Biggest Gifts Announced by Individuals in 2010”). Zuckerberg famously has no college degree and is a Harvard University drop out. Even though he lacks a degree he sites education as one of the primary reasons he has been able to achieve so much success. In a blog post he made on his own Facebook profile Zuckerberg states “I feel very