back to article World's richest bloke battles Oz catastro-fire with incredible AU$1m donation (aka load of cheap greenwashing)

The richest man on the planet, with an estimated fortune of $150bn, has got his internet company to pledge an extraordinary $1m to battle ferocious wildfires in Australia: that’s Australian dollars, so $690,000 in US bucks. Jeff Bezos, of Amazon fame, has received a lot of blow-back over the offer, which Amazon celebrated in a …

  1. sbt Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

    The problem with large-scale private philanthropy is that it distorts spending in favour of wealthy individuals' pet projects. Worthy projects ought to be supported by everyone, according to capacity.

    But don't confuse taxing 6% of someone's worth with 14% of someone else's income. There needs to be tax reform for individuals to capture capital gains, and corporations to capture revenues and prevent profit stashing.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

      The problem with large-scale private philanthropy is that it distorts spending in favour of wealthy individuals' pet projects.

      Not to mention that such philanthropy is usually tax deductible, thus reducing the taxes paid, directing the money specifically to where the rich bastards wants it to be, and reaping 'goodwill' by advertising the donations.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

        I agree with your sentiments on tax deductible charitable donations, but can you imagine the fuss from the charities if they were no longer able to claim the tax back? Not sure about US, but in the UK we have 'gift aid' whereby you sign a form to say you have paid tax on income that can be reclaimed from your donation.

        1. sbt Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          claiming the tax back

          That's interesting. I don't know about the US, but here down under, donations to registered charities are tax deductable, but the taxpayer claims the deduction from the ATO (local Revenue equivalent). The charity doesn't get the break, only the benefit of the incentive.

          UK 'gift aid' arrangements seem better, except that they're still a distortion of the tax system. I'd rather see these deductions abolished, along with a lot of other loopholes, like family trusts.

          1. AMBxx Silver badge

            Re: claiming the tax back

            It's a tricky to make the argument without sounding like you're against charity.

            From a UK perspective, if a 50% tax payer gives £10m to their pet charity, they get a £5m tax rebate. That £5m would have gone to government spending - effectively taking £1m from the NHS!!!

            1. sbt Silver badge
              Megaphone

              effectively taking £1m from the NHS

              Thumbs up; this is exactly my concern. Particularly when the charity sector (at least down here) is notoriously poorly operated, with waste and duplication. There should be standards for funds raised disbursement vs. consumption in internal expenses in order to maintain charity status. And the religious organisations running profitable services tax-free ought to be reigned in as well.

              Then there's the exploits where the wealthy set up their own charitable foundations, launder in their tax deductable contributions and then take themselves out to expensive lunches on the foundation's dime. There should at least be some 'arm's length' rules to prevent this kind of self-dealing.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: claiming the tax back

              "From a UK perspective, if a 50% tax payer gives £10m to their pet charity, they get a £5m tax rebate. That £5m would have gone to government spending - effectively taking £1m from the NHS!!!"

              I don't believe the issue is as black and white as that - for short-to-medium term objectives and smaller scale requirements, charities often outperform government/public sector in delivering both value for money and successful outcomes. While the NHS may deliver the best value for long term, national projects they aren't perfect.

              While £5m donated to an animal charity (as an example where the money doesn't directly benefit people but may still benefit the wider community) may mean money is taken from the NHS, £5m donated to health, education, welfare and other aid charities does not automatically mean a loss to the tax payer.

              Which leads onto the larger question of charity - can individuals make beneficial decisions around how money they have earned should be spent to the benefit of the wider community or do you leave everything to the wisdom of central/local government and the public sector?

          2. JDX Gold badge

            Re: claiming the tax back

            If you give money to a charity as a UK tax payer, Gift Aid means the CHARITY gets the tax you paid on that income. You don't get it yourself it's just as if you never earned that money for tax purposes. e.g. you give £1000 but the charity gets £1200.

            It's a great system.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: claiming the tax back

              Charities get the basic rate (20%) automatically. If you are a higher rate taxpayer, you can claim the rest back for yourself in your annual tax return.

              1. DavCrav Silver badge

                Re: claiming the tax back

                "Charities get the basic rate (20%) automatically. If you are a higher rate taxpayer, you can claim the rest back for yourself in your annual tax return."

                Finally! Someone posts the correct answer after many posts about Gift Aid.

                Personally, I think making charity donations tax deductible is wrong, as it allows the rich to direct their taxes towards pet projects, often with side-benefits for them (think donations to opera houses, museums, etc.).

        2. FIA

          Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

          but in the UK we have 'gift aid' whereby you sign a form to say you have paid tax on income that can be reclaimed from your donation.

          Gift aid is fairly imoral though, and probably should be scrapped, or at least forced to use different wording. It always implies that the charity gets more money at no extra cost to you, however never mentions that the cost is born by everyone else, which most people don't consider.

          If I give a charity 10 pounds, that's money I've earnt and paid tax on and is mine to do with as I see fit, however if I then tick the gift aid box I give a further 2.50 to that charity, which is taken from general taxation, ie, the money that pays for schools, hospitals, the police, etc etc. I am in effect saying that I value the work of the particular charity over the rest of society as a whole.

          So whilst I think the motive behind gift aid is noble, actually when you think about it it's probably not the greatest idea.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

            Is that £2.50 taken from your tax? It's only allowed up to your tax allowance, right? So if you gave 100 million to a charity, it's not forcing 2.5million people to donate £1, because you've blown that allowance.

          2. JDX Gold badge

            Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

            How on earth is it immoral? THat's like saying taking a 20% pay cut is immoral because it means you're depriving the state of tax.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

              "How on earth is it immoral?"

              It's immoral because you have decided that your causes are more important than what society has decided should be paid for. So it's deeply arrogant and egotistical.

              Making a (gift-aided) donation to the RSPCA, which is overfunded, takes money away from schools and hospitals, which are underfunded.

            2. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

              So I pay tax which I hope would go to the NHS and someone else gives their charitable status Opera society a donation and some of my tax goes to subsidise their visit to the same opera and you think that is not immoral?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

                > So I pay tax which I hope would go to the NHS and someone else gives their charitable status Opera society a donation and some of my tax goes to subsidise their visit to the same opera and you think that is not immoral?

                There's a similar argument regarding for-profit companies that fundraise on behalf of charities. They take a percentage but the net result is that the charity still gets more donations than if it didn't use professional fundraisers.

                So the moral question is whether the end justifies the means? What right do you have to limit or put a stop to the activities of a charity simply because you don't like the way it raises funds?

                1. DavCrav Silver badge

                  Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

                  "So the moral question is whether the end justifies the means? What right do you have to limit or put a stop to the activities of a charity simply because you don't like the way it raises funds?"

                  It is raising funds from tax though. Societies function only because of a social contract, which sees everyone who is able (i.e., earning) chipping in and then society decides on which things should be paid for. Tax-free charitable giving bypasses the bit where the rest of society gets a say.

                  Fundamentally, tax is the payment you make to society for being allowed to live in it and enjoy its benefits. You personally shouldn't be able to dictate how your tax money is spent.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

        hard facts don't register (sorry) with people, because we're too lazy to look past the headline of "1M DONATED!!!!". We also PREFER to believe that a fairytale of A Most Generous King REALLY happens. Never mind it's a mac burger, it does APPEAR real - if you don't focus on the taste too much.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

          Wile that's generally true, I'll bet you'll find it tricky to find even a single story about how generous Jeff is being with his donation in this case.

          Every single thing I've read about it has been pointing out how ridiculously tight he's being.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

        That is if it ever comes through.

        When Notre Dame church was ablaze last year french moneybags fell over themselves to declare the intent of making the biggest donation in the moneybag bunch.

        Very little of that money has already seen a transfer to the reconstruction effort.

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

      The other problem is if everyone waits until ALL the supposedly relevant rich persons have donated to something to see if they need to donate then we enter a dangerous situation.

      Which is why rich citizens usually don't fund all of local fundraising targets for a new medical widget for the children's hospital even they can and they want to, it would lead to the community relying on them to step forward for everything.

      I often wonder if Andrew Carnegie, the Besos of his day, ever regretted starting to endow libraries. He ended up funding quite a few. He could afford it but it demonstrates the slippery slope. Here in Scotland many of those buildings are still there, still solid, still hosting libraries. Here in Dundee none of the network of suburban libraries have closed. The central facility continues to be very good. Because our politics are diferent and ScotGov cares about such things. Oh and we have had an SNP controlled council for quite a long time now.

      Those silly enough to elect Tory councils might have different results. More shamefully in several places up here Labour has formed coalitions with the Tories despite the SNP being the largest party simply to stop the SNP. The group in Aberdeen even got suspended by the party, but only because they didn't seek central office (Scotland branch office) sanction for the details of the deal. So even if the SNP are returned as the biggest party as it is in many places default Unionism takes over despite Labour and SNP policies being highly compatible.

      There is even a name for this: the Bain Principle after Willie Bain who first articulated it. Thou shalt never back an SNP measure even when it is in your manifesto and you support it 100% and have campaigned for it for decades.

      Note the UK Labour party has been promising to abolish/reform the HoL since its inception. Up here it has resurrected the Federalism Fairy once again. This entity looks a lot like Gordon Broon only more moth eaten and less credible.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

      It also allows governments to outsource their social responsibility to charity, meaning they are beholden to rich people's desires to provide public services that should be paid for by tax money. Better model is higher tax and good social services. Even a marginally higher rate combined with strong enforcement would boost government revenues enormously.

      Of course there is also validity to the argument that government might not be so efficient in using additional resources wisely, but this is solved by transparency and good governance not by starving government of resources and leaving them beholden to the ultrarich

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

        beholden to rich people's desires to provide public services

        Wasn't that Oor Margaret's solution? If we let the very rich hang on to more of their money, then they'll be struck by a sudden urgent desire to fund libraries, schools, hospitals ...

        Rather than, as it turned out, simply buy themselves another helicopter and a bigger yacht.

    4. anonanonanon

      Re: The problem with small-scale private philanthropy by the wealthiest is that it achieves little

      Pet projects staffed by family members with very generous salaries, buying very valuable artworks that other family members can borrow to decorate their mansions

  2. MrDamage

    Cheap Cunt

    The arsehole could buy us a couple of water bombers with the loose change from down the back of his couch, but nah, lets just make is a measley tax-deductible greenwash attempt to look good.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Cheap Cunt

      I am replying to your comment just to get a repeat on the title for Jeff.

      1. Maximum Delfango
        Thumb Up

        Re: Cheap Cunt

        Me also.

        1. Kane Silver badge

          Re: Cheap Cunt

          Ditto

          1. mr-slappy

            Re: Cheap Cunt

            Likewise.

            Here's what a generous (whatever the opposite of cunt is) would have done:

            1. Donated a much bigger amount of money.

            2. Donated it himself rather than from his company.

            3. Not gone straight to social media to boast about it in order to boost sales.

            1. Major N

              Re: Cheap Cunt

              Generous Johnson?

  3. Denarius Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Nothing new

    A century ago Oz cattle baron (and he earned it) Sydney Kidman, used charity shaming to raise funds for disasters and the WW1 effort. He was disappointed by the stinginess of other rich Oz citizens.

    1. john.jones.name

      Re: Nothing new

      kidman was the same as bezos, all talk no donation but at least he had to pay tax...

      how about you never charge the fire service for their AWS usage ? oh yeah thats what I thought...

      1. Denarius Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Nothing new

        @JJN: How do you know that ? Kidman had many detractors. Tall poppy syndrome and the Yellow Press of the day are just the tabloids of today. He gave his returned soldier stockmen jobs on return, pensions to the widows of the non-returned. Read "The Forgotten King"

      2. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Nothing new

        Charities and non-profits often get services like AWS for free.

        Fire services are part of the state, why on earth should the government be given services for free? They have to pay for fire engines and buildings and protective gear, why wouldn't they pay for IT?

        1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

          Re: Nothing new

          "Fire services are part of the state, why on earth should the government be given services for free?"

          Because there is a world of difference between Fire services and politicians.

          Fire Services are part of the state and 'the state' gets "its" money from THE TAXPAYERS, but unlike the Tax Office or Immigration Services, Fire services - like the other emergency services - SAVE LIVES. Why on earth would anyone think that, just maybe, they need more money than is raised by taxes?

          I don't recall any firefighter ever saying "Oh no Mr Politician, you've given us too much money. We have enough personnel and kit, we don't need more." Given my druthers, the only things they would ever need to do is rescue cats from trees or lounge around the office and make calendars to keep (some) people happy, but unfortunately they have to keep putting their own lives on the line to help others. Some people might not be able to see a difference between that and refuse collections or road repairs but the difference is there...

        2. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Nothing new

          "Fire services are part of the state"

          Most Australians currently fighting the fires are volunteers.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Nothing new

            Most Australians currently fighting the fires are volunteers.

            I think that's one of the biggest challenges with charity drives, making sure money goes to the right place. Which can be complicated by the charities involved and what the donation was for. So fire depts may end up with fleets of new fire trucks, but it would be a Good Thing(tm) if money was also going to volunteers to cover lost wages, expenses etc.

            Then there's possible wider issues, like perhaps converting volunteers to full time firefighters who could then do more cool-burning and fire prevention.. But that would also require policy changes.

  4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

    Cheap stunt for a company that doesn't pay the correct amount of tax

    How to pay $20 million tax on more than $1 billion in revenue — ask Amazon Australia

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Cheap stunt for a company that doesn't pay the correct amount of tax

      No fan of Bezos but remember revenue != profit. Tax is paid on profit, not revenue.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Cheap stunt for a company that doesn't pay the correct amount of tax

        And profit is disguised as re-investment and minimised by buying branding rights from another territory.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Cheap stunt for a company that doesn't pay the correct amount of tax

      Unless they are breaking the law, they are not paying in the incorrect amount. Just not the amount we think they should.

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Cheap stunt for a company that doesn't pay the correct amount of tax

        As long as the same people who frame the tax laws for governments also provide consultancy on tax avoidance to corporations, rest assured they will never break the law

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”

    Andrew Carnegie.

    1. Getmo
      Angel

      When he's eventually six feet under like the rest of us, he'll have the shiniest pair of shoes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >When he's eventually six feet under like the rest of us, he'll have the shiniest pair of shoes.

        You've got shit shoes on, you shitty shoe bastard.

        See Paul Calf's Video Diaries for explanation.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”

      Andrew Carnegie.

      And like most of the so-called robber barons of his era, look at the nasty and ruthless ways he made his money. Rich men buying their way onto heaven.

      (Atheist here, but back then, few were.)

      1. Albatross! Al-Ba-Tross!

        Much like the nasty and ruthless ways many of the Tech Bros are making their fortunes. However, it seems to me the so-called "robber barons" were considerably more generous than the current crop (Carnegie-Mellow, Carnegie Hall, Rockefeller Center, etc).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not exactly a reasonable comparison

    "Bezos [...] would pay [...] six per cent of his worth. The average American pays 14 per cent of their income in taxes."

    Those things are not equivalent measures and are pretty hopeless as a comparison.

    As an example, my mum bought a house in the 1990 worth £15k. Now it's 10x that. She gets no extra cash out of it, and had no say- or interest- in how house prices change.

    You're suggesting that she should be paying an extra £9,000 a year in tax because a house valuation says the materially unchanged house is worth more?

    You know what, I'd like to buy your home for $1Mn.

    Your home now has a market price of $1Mn. You think 14% is a reasonable rate, so go pay 14% of your asset value every year to the taxman. $140k this year, $140k next year, $140k the year after- forever paying but never actually realising that $1M value.

    Or just pay 14% of your income, with the money you save going to a math textbook.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

      You want to pay $1m for my home? Come here and make me that offer in writing, in legally binding form, and then it'll be a market value. Words on the internet are too cheap to count.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

        make me that offer in writing, in legally binding form, and then it'll be a market value

        Not necessarily. There are rules against over- or under-valuing things you sell in order to minimize your tax liabilities.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

          "There are rules against over- or under-valuing things you sell in order to minimize your tax liabilities."

          In the UK that's true for transactions unless at 'arms-length'. So HP can't use that argument for Autonomy.

    2. HildyJ Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

      I am not in the billionaire class but I am in the 7 figure class. I bought my house for $200k 30 yesrs ago and it's now worth about $1.5m (partially thanks to Bezos - I live in about 5 miles from the planned east coast Amazon HQ).

      I support raising the tax rates on the wealthy, including me. I would support a wealth tax if the money could go towards overhauling America's woeful health system. And my charitable donations, while they don't match Jeff's dollar amount, are significantly high than his on a percentage basis.

      People have heard the term "Noblesse oblige" but they forget, if they ever knew, that it means privilege entails responsibility.

      “The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the state because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government.” Teddy Roosevelt

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

        >> I support raising the tax rates on the wealthy, including me.

        In the UK, you can voluntarily pay extra tax. I assume it's the same in the US. I assume you take advantage of this option to pay extra tax?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

          The Queen has this arrangement. As one of the richest people in the UK she can decide to pay tax or not. Also you never get to see how much it is. Isn't Royalty grand?

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

            Her majesty's situation is different she recives payment from the Government as per the civil list act of 1760 (yes older than the US) in return, the state got the Crown Estates which generate considerably more than that infact the value of the civil list is now set at 25% of the income from the crown estate.

            and currently HM is only 356 on the UK rich list with a personal fortune of £370 million not even a 100th of Jeff Bezos $116bn

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

        @HildyJ

        If the health system is something that concerns you then dont wait for the gov to sort it out (they got it into this mess) instead donate to a hospital or pay off some peoples medical bills or something. If you give the money to the gov to spend as the gov pleases they will do what they want, not what you want. They believe they can spend your money better than you and more tax will go the same way.

        However you in your freedom to make a difference can do so. If it matters to you go ahead and do something. If your belief is that the gov should have more money give them more, they wont turn it down.

    3. MonkeyBob

      Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

      "As an example, my mum bought a house in the 1990 worth £15k. Now it's 10x that. She gets no extra cash out of it, and had no say- or interest- in how house prices change."

      If this was you mum's second house she would have to pay capital gains tax if she sold it on the £135,000 profit. Same rules don't apply to first homes tho cos we all need a roof over our heads so can't realise the gains unless you make yourself homeless.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

      There is a lot of confusion in the article. If the donation is from amazon, the donation as a percentage of bezos' personal wealth doesn't mean anything. Yes, Amazon might be greenwashing and reducing their tax bill, but if their 'real' tax rate is 15% that's still an 850k donation. Better spent on a good cause than on an ad campaign.

      Secondly, though not a Christian, I am completely with Jesus' words on charity. Give anonymously because you do it for the cause, not for virtue signalling. Bezos didn't publically donate a cent of his own money, that doesn't mean that he didn't do so privately. And whether he did or not, in any case it is his prerogative and his choice. Others might be unhappy with that, but dissing bezos for it doesn't achieve anything.

    5. jmch Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Not exactly a reasonable comparison

      Not getting into "yo' momma" discussions...

      Technical people understand that...

      Acceleration is not the same as velocity

      Power is not the same as energy

      etc

      So why is a measure of "Net Worth" being compared to a measure of "Income"???

  7. Pete4000uk

    Thing is

    What's needed is long term spending on prevention, such as not having forests right up to towns and a fire service that is able to contain fires that break out. But you don't get that from donations like this.

    In saying that there are plenty of agencies that will appreciate such money (those trying to save and rehabilitate the nicer types of animals)

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Thing is

      Don't you mean, don't take towns right up to forests.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Thing is

        Both versions can be correct. Just not at the same time in the same place.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Thing is

          And yet the same global warming being blamed for the more intense fires is being challenged by planting more trees in urban areas to absorb pollution. Decisions, decisions.

    2. theblackhand Silver badge

      Re: Thing is

      "What's needed is long term spending on prevention, such as not having forests right up to towns and a fire service that is able to contain fires that break out. But you don't get that from donations like this."

      And what if the towns build right up to the edge of forests? Part of the problem is increasing populations and encroachment on existing forests as much as building too close to forests.

      Combine that with fuel reduction measures being restricted by properties, changes in water/land usage within affected states resulting in dryer areas and increasing temperatures due to regional and global changes and the extent of the issue becomes clear. The comparison I would make with the UK is flooding - the causes of flooding are as much due to changes in river management and land use as they are to property locations.

      Donations will allow the immediate effects to be reduced (i.e. replacing damaged or lost property) and increasing preventative measures because the wider environmental issues are likely to take 10-30 years to address assuming the Australian government has the cajones to tackle the issues rather than just let rich industrialists (of which Bezos is not one) ride roughshod over the environment to allow them to make a few more dollars..

      As for the animals, the worst types of animals - politicians - appear to have been largely unaffected by the disaster.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Alternatively...

    He could head over to Oz along with other zillionaries and do a collective piss on the first wildfire they encounter. Direct action to where it is needed.

  9. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Amazon Prime Wildfire Service

    For only $$$ order a delivery of 1 litre of water treated with fire retardant to be dropped by Amazon drone to a wildfire location of your choice.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great Southern Land...

    Sang Iva Davies.

    Just wanted to leave that with you all.

  11. James Hughes 1

    Much jealousness here

    At least, that what I assume this is. Whilst Bezos is strikingly rich (and deserves it; his company, he started from a garage), he has, at least, donated some money. Surely the percentage is irrelevant?

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Much jealousness here

      As the article says Amazon has donated, not him personally.

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Much jealousness here

      Does he deserve it all though?

      Amazon didn't get where it is today solely because of Bezos.

      It also got where it is by paying shitty wages to its workers, and it got where it is by taking advantage of publicly-funded infrastructure.

      The idea that Bezos works 10,000 times harder than other people or is 10,000 times more talented than them is wrong.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: Much jealousness here

        @Roj Blake

        "Does he deserve it all though?"

        Yes. He earned it.

        "Amazon didn't get where it is today solely because of Bezos."

        Not only Bezos gets paid by amazon

        "It also got where it is by paying shitty wages to its workers, and it got where it is by taking advantage of publicly-funded infrastructure."

        So people chose to work there and the public infrastructure thing is no different from everyone and every business.

        "The idea that Bezos works 10,000 times harder than other people or is 10,000 times more talented than them is wrong."

        The proof would need to be numerically calculable. Like maybe worth, income. Of course anyone can prove themselves his equal, by going earning it.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Much jealousness here

          "the public infrastructure thing is no different from everyone and every business."

          Most business can't afford to pretend they are many smaller businesses paying huge amounts of licensing fees to off-shore companies registered in tax havens such that they turn over billions but make no taxable profits because they can't afford the lawyers to create find and take advantage of the tax loop holes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Much jealousness here

        > The idea that Bezos works 10,000 times harder than other people or is 10,000 times more talented than them is wrong.

        We know from the divorce case that MacKenzie contributed significantly to creating Amazon, ergo Jeff only works 5000 times harder and is only 5000 times more talented. ;-)

        [joke icon]

  12. Korev Silver badge
    Flame

    CO2 from Amazon?

    Amazon in both its goods and AWS arms causes a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. 1mAUD probably doesn't even begin to start compensating for the damage

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: CO2 from Amazon?

      In AWS's defence, cloud computing is generally more energy-efficient than doing things on-prem.

  13. JDX Gold badge

    I have no issue with a billionaire "only" donating a million but then to tell everyone about it is in poor taste.

    Equally I find a lot of the "charity auctions" a bit said - someone really rich gets other people to give their money.

    Of course there are ALWAYS disasters so even a billionaire can easily end up skint of they go in big.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      I don't mind the "charity auctions" and I don't might the rich getting a tax rebate for donating to charity. Both help each other. The rich get to have a party and feel better about themselves, even if they continue to be tits, the charity gets their donation. Same with the tax rebate. Encourages the rich to donate so they can get less tax, they benefit so then does the charities.

  14. TheProf Silver badge
    Devil

    More than

    Say what you like about Bezos but he's donated more to the Australian disaster fund than I have.

    I can't wait to see that bad press I get now. Time to have a quiet word with Her Maj about withdrawing from public duty.

  15. fpx
    Angel

    Taxes versus Philantropy

    When rich people claim that philantropy is better than taxation, their argument is essentially that their causes are more worthy and/or that they can manage them better than governments. They are putting themselves over governments. These are the arguments of kings. Sure, there may be some benevolent ones, but history has proven that they more often than not invest in causes that are more important to them, their family, and their friends, and not the needs of the pauper.

    It's sure nice that some bazillionaires donate to worthy causes like eradicating tuberculosis, measels or cancer, but if we hauled in more tax money, we as a society could invest more in those efforts as well.

    Let them blow their money on rockets and flying taxis, and donate to issues they believe in, but only after proper taxation.

    1. holmegm Bronze badge

      Re: Taxes versus Philantropy

      I'd say that his gift here is a better choice than yet another Robert Byrd Pig Research Center (literal pork barrels). So there's that.

      But that's not even the point. It's his money. Why *shouldn't* he decide where it goes?

      Just how much of a special tax do you think Americans should be assessed to pay for Australian bush fires anyway? He handed over a huge chunk of cash to a need that isn't even in his country. The mature response is "thank you".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Taxes versus Philantropy

        It is but any corporate donation is instantly diminished when used as marketing like those posts. Or UKFast's Pride float for example (mentioning that only because mates who are activists told me what the whole atmosphere around the cooperate participation in the parade was at the time)

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Taxes versus Philantropy

      @fpx

      "When rich people claim that philantropy is better than taxation, their argument is essentially that their causes are more worthy and/or that they can manage them better than governments"

      Which is generally demonstrated as true. Since the earned money being directed towards a cause vs the gov borrowing even more on the heads of its population for whatever it desires spaffing money on.

      "They are putting themselves over governments."

      Good. There was a time of kings over people but the concept of people over government has been hard fought for a long time as tyranny is not considered a good thing. People should be over government to reign in the excesses and retain the freedom governments would take away. Wars have been fought over this.

      "Sure, there may be some benevolent ones, but history has proven that they more often than not invest in causes that are more important to them, their family, and their friends, and not the needs of the pauper."

      That there is the very description of government as well as people. But individuals can direct what they have, govs direct what they take from individuals.

      "It's sure nice that some bazillionaires donate to worthy causes like eradicating tuberculosis, measels or cancer, but if we hauled in more tax money, we as a society could invest more in those efforts as well."

      Yet wouldnt. Governments are massively in debt, they waste money on fiefdoms and pet projects for their mates and gratification.

      "Let them blow their money on rockets and flying taxis, and donate to issues they believe in, but only after proper taxation."

      Proper taxation? What is that? Obviously its not a figure nor method nor anything tangible. Should it be to extract the most from people? Should it be to encourage more economic growth which increases the tax income? Should it be for the government to make everyone the pauper?

      1. Tabor

        Re: Taxes versus Philantropy

        @codejunky : I understand where your coming from, but this one is, frankly, cattle excrement :

        “Since the earned money being directed towards a cause vs the gov borrowing even more on the heads of its population for whatever it desires spaffing money on.”

        Amazon (not Bezos, Amazon), will deduct this from the taxes they hardly pay and thus the government will need to borrow whatever amount that can be deducted by Amazon anyway.

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Taxes versus Philantropy

          @Tabor

          "Amazon (not Bezos, Amazon), will deduct this from the taxes they hardly pay and thus the government will need to borrow whatever amount that can be deducted by Amazon anyway."

          So the gov who spends more than it takes would take less if it stole more? That has never been demonstrated. The gov spaffing money on shiny toys and their pet projects has been demonstrated. Amazon putting the money where they consider it needed by their own choice.

          Put another way you consider your money well spent looking after you and your family? Is anyone dumb enough to think if the gov had that money they would think the same?

  16. Jeff 11

    If Bezos hadn't *publicised* his/Amazon's donation then there'd be no blowback. But for a lot of us, it looks like a very opportunistic, and very cheap publicity stunt that's taken advantage of an environmental catastrophe.

    Cheap cunt, indeed.

  17. holmegm Bronze badge

    "And while none disclosed whether they had personally donated money to the same cause, that’s not the point."

    It's not?

    That's $690K (or whatever it was) more than I've donated to the bush fires (my donations have stayed closer to home).

    He didn't have to give a dime, and had he not, we probably wouldn't be hearing about it on El Reg.

    People need to grow up. Envy is a sad thing to let consume you.

  18. steviebuk Silver badge

    The ending comment was spot on

    "Because there’s only one thing more annoying that a billionaire seeking credit for charitable giving and that’s a pointy-fingered Twitter twat complaining about it in order to make themselves look better."

    The annoying part is the pimping of Amazon to donate to Blazeaid's "Wish list" the wish list that knob head himself could fully fulfil himself.

    Oh, have I'm just become like one of the Twitter Twats?

    1. Mark Zero

      Re: The ending comment was spot on

      Yes

  19. codejunky Silver badge

    Wow

    I bet he now wonders why he bothered. Hopefully the people in Aus will be more grateful than this lot. So many green eyed *so many options* who want to put their grimy fingers in someone elses pocket.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow

      Thank you, I was hoping someone would post something like this. Envy is very ugly.

      I would suggest to one and all to be gracious and simply say "Thank you" to anyone willing to help Australia out in her time of need.

  20. NiceCuppaTea

    Anyone do an analysis of how much money Amazon isnt making in AU due to the fires?

    If his donation brings the fires under control a day sooner than if he hadnt made the donation then im sure amazon.au will rake in at least an additional $1m.

    Paying some nice tax deductable donation to be able to make more money from his operations in the area. Im sure if the cost benefit analysis matched up he would be more than happy to donate a few billion to stop the fires.

  21. Tabor
    Joke

    one meeeeellion dollars ??

    Am I the only one that thought of Dr. Evil ? Really ? Is this still El Reg ?

  22. Banjovi

    Be reasonable

    1 million dollars, last time I checked, is precisely 1 million dollars more than nothing. I'm sure there are lots and lots of very wealthy people who have donated $1M less.

  23. Buka

    Socialism again

    It is his money, isn't it? Unless he has stolen Amazon from someone. Instead of praising him for sharing, the jealous complain. And it is not his job to take care of Asutralia. Some even want to pay more taxes! (I don't, paying half of my income in taxes in UK already.) But I also know how this money is spent by public services and how people work there (first hand experience). Throwing more into that bottomless pit, haha, good luck. I have proposal for the jealous ones: pay the extra amount you would like to pay in taxes to help Australia. You will be happy, you will make Australia happy and won't make me to pay more taxes.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Australia is a rich country, there are far poorer countries out there that could benefit from that kind of money. Or perhaps they can redirect some of the money they spend on locking up kids in awful camps on Nauru towards fixing the problem (that probably wouldn't have existed had it not been for all the coal they've exported).

  25. veti Silver badge

    Good grief

    So, he should just have kept the money then? Since making a donation attracts nothing but vitriol...

    OK, it's not much. It's still a lot more than I've heard of from, say, Bill Gates, or Larry Ellison, or Mark Zuckerberg, or Elon Musk. Why aren't we piling on to them? While it's true that they've all made huge donations to other, no-less-worthy causes, for all we know the same is true of Bezos. There's a lot of problems in the world, it shouldn't be up to a handful of billionaires to fix all of them, or even any of them exclusively. That's what governments are for.

    I'm personally very impressed that, in particular, Pink and Ms Jenner, as celebrities with no obvious connection to Australia, have given of their plenty. But one thing I learned from Negotiation 101 is that any concession, no matter how small, should be accepted with grace, gratitude and smiles. That makes it much easier to extract more, later, and harder to take back the concession you've already got.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do not want nude selfies of Jeff Bezos

    Ick.

  27. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "AU$1m "

    A tiny amount indeed - one Australian millidollar (a thousandth of a dollar). According to international standards, million is abbreviated with a capital M. All multiples greater than unity have capitalised abbreviations. Lower case abbreviations are only used for submultiples (less than unity).

  28. rskurat

    sounds like Kieren has been drinking the Kool-Aid

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