Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are parents, and they welcomed new baby daughter Max to the world with one hell of a Facebook post.
In north of 2,000 words, Zuck outlines his hopes for his daughter and all of the other kiddos being born out there today: for a better and more equal world. To that end, he and his wife have pledged to give away 99 percent of their Facebook fortune — meaning something like $45 billion, with a b — during their lifetimes.
Zuckerberg “will gift or otherwise direct substantially all of his shares of Facebook stock, or the net after-tax proceeds from sales of such shares, to further the mission of advancing human potential and promoting equality by means of philanthropic, public advocacy, and other activities for the public good,” the traditional Securities and Exchange Commission birth announcement reads. “For this purpose, Mr. Zuckerberg has established a new entity, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC, and he will control the voting and disposition of any shares held by such entity. He has informed us that he plans to sell or gift no more than $1 billion of Facebook stock each year for the next three years and that he intends to retain his majority voting position in our stock for the foreseeable future.”
This is a good and noble thing to do. In his Facebook post, Zuckerberg indicates that much of his fortune might be spent on medical research, providing internet access to the world’s poor, and promoting social equality. Good on him. Let it be a lesson to other rich people reaping tax benefits for sprucing up their backyards and setting up museums that nobody can visit and throwing hissy fits when they cannot name things after themselves and the like.
And let it be a lesson to all of us about “fractal inequality,” the phenomenon by which the stinking rich have gotten way richer than the merely quite rich, who have gotten richer than the merely rich, who have left us all in the dust. Even if he gave 99 percent of his fortune away today, Zuck would still be in the top 0.01 percent of all households, wealth-wise. He would still be worth about twice as much as bona fide rich guy Mitt Romney. So don’t worry too much about Max.