Skip to content

Slim and slim-chance

9 March 2012

Two rich guys, who inherited fortunes from their immigrant dads and turned it into real money… compare and contrast:

Kerry A. Dolan (Forbes) on Carlos Slim:

His biggest goal is a fight against poverty—but not for the usual reasons. “It’s good economically. In the past it was something ethical and moral,” he asserts, speaking like the rational capitalist he is. “To take poor people out of poverty and put them in the modern economy is very good for the economy, for the country, for society and for business. It is the best investment.”

It’s not something that should be left to the government, either. “I think that businessmen and entrepreneurs have more experience managing resources, and we can more easily solve the problems than politicians, who have other views. They are thinking about elections, they are thinking about popularity,” says Slim. “I don’t think that giving money should be something done for personal ­popularity.”

But how to do so? Slim is skeptical of traditional charity. “I am convinced that the private sector needs to give support, not money, because charity has not solved poverty in hundreds of years.” He believes the best course for chipping away at poverty is using digital tools for education to, as he says, “create human capital.” That’s where Telmex, the Carlos Slim Foundation and the Telmex Foundation come in.

The latest endeavor of Slim’s two foundations and Telmex is a system of digital libraries. “Now, instead of going to the library, you go to a digital library where you can navigate [computers] completely free,” says Slim. “Instead of lending a book, we’ll lend a laptop for 15 days.” There are some 3,500 digital libraries. Slim’s aim is to enable 60% of Latin America to have access to computers by 2015—the same timeline set by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. So far these newfangled libraries are only in Mexico, which means he’s got a lot of ground to cover.

Slim won’t say how much of his fortune he plans on giving away eventually. So far he’s put a total of $4 billion into the Carlos Slim Foundation—via $2 billion installments in 2006 and 2010, funded by dividends. Its main areas of focus are education and health. “It’s about the development of people’s potential. He wants to make it easier for people to generate wealth,” explains Alejandro Soberón, the chief ­executive of entertainment company CIE and a longtime América Móvil board member. “I travel all over Latin America, and I don’t think there’s another businessman who’s had the impact he’s had on health and education.”

David Firestone (New York Times) on Mitt Romney:

The high school senior who stood up at Mitt Romney’s town hall meeting here today was worried about how he and his family would pay for college, and wanted to hear what the candidate would do about rising college costs if elected. He didn’t realize that Mr. Romney was about to use him to demonstrate his fiscal conservatism to the crowd.

The answer: nothing.

Mr. Romney was perfectly polite to the student. He didn’t talk about the dangers of liberal indoctrination on college campuses, as Rick Santorum might have. But his warning was clear: shop around and get a good price, because you’re on your own.

Empower the poor, or forget about them…
Earn your fortune from investing in goods and services, or from moving money around?

No comments yet

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: