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Charity Begins at Home, Doesn’t It? Maybe Not!

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Many celebrities you read about are often generous philanthropists too – many will say that ‘they can afford it’ – donating to specific charities or through their own or communal foundations such as ‘The Giving Pledge’. Some are activists, donating their time and labour for good causes, and many would presumably help a stranger in some way, usually if asked by said stranger. However, how well do you think whole countries rate in their attitude to charitable activities, in one form or another?

The Giving Index for 2015 recently released by the Charities Aid Foundation(CAF) may give you an idea of the attitudes to charity, by nations as a whole. The survey was conducted in 145 countries world-wide, covering 96% of the world’s population, assessing the percentage of the population who had volunteered time, helped a stranger, and/or donated money – the survey related only to the month previous to that in which the survey was conducted, and doesn’t specify the percentage who may contribute to charity in two or all three ways.

So how do you think your country rates in the three areas specified, and also does attitude reflect wealth, or simply a cultural (or religious) norm, inculcated over many years. Certainly, some of the richer countries are the least charitable – only five G-20 countries in the top 20 – while some of the most generous are also some of the most deprived. Men now outrank women in donating, and Iraq scored the highest in helping strangers.

Donations1

Some factors effecting behaviour and the survey:

in some countries, people are asset rich, but time poor;
in countries with a Buddhist majority there is a tradition of giving to monks and nuns;
an opportunity to help strangers, eg few visitors or tourists;
conventions such as Subbotnik – giving a Saturday free – in former Soviet states, but now much less common;
the survey was conducted in some Muslim countries during the month following Ramadan, when generosity is encouraged;
some countries are so rich that the need for charity is minimal!

As with many such surveys, there are some surprises! Remember – columns two, three and four are percentages of the population. These are the top 20 most charitable countries. Read on…

# Country Index Helping Donating Volunteering
20. Germany 47 61 69 32
19. Thailand 48 44 87 36
18. Kyrgyzstan 49 53 57 36
17. Bhutan 49 53 55 38
16. Guatemala 49 68 38 61
15. Norway 49 55 60 32
14. UAE 50 69 59 22
13. Bahrain 51 71 51 30
12. Malta 51 50 78 26
11. Kenya 52 74 39 43
10. Malaysia 52 62 58 37
9. Ireland 56 54 67 41
8. Sri Lanka 56 60 59 48
7. Netherlands 56 59 73 36
6. UK 57 63 75 32
5. Australia 59 66 72 40
4. Canada 60 69 67 44
3. New Zealand 61 65 72 45
2. USA 61 76 69 44
1. Myanmar 66 65 92 50

As the Managing Editor at NetWorthPost, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications. At NetWorthPost, we strive to provide our readers with in-depth profiles that offer valuable insights into the worlds of business, entertainment, and beyond. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, we bring to light the remarkable journeys and successes of individuals who inspire and captivate us.

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Net Worth EXPLODING! Youthful Billionaires

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Warren Buffet they are not, neither in age nor wealth, but you may be surprised to know that there are many billionaires who are less than half the age of the ‘Sage of Omaha’, although only one has net worth estimated to be as much as half his $70+ billion.

Authoritative sources name over 20 billionaires under the age of 40 – Buffett is 85, and still going strongly near the top of the list of ‘richest’, but in this technological age, he may soon be surpassed by any number of bright, relatively young things climbing the ladder of financial success. Most are indeed involved in IT; 17 are American, one Israeli, one Canadian, and one Ukraine-born but a long-time American citizen, although only one is a woman. Interestingly, several companies have spawned more than one of these young billionaires.

Evan Sharp

Just above the cut-off mark on an estimated $1.05 billion is 32 year-old Evan Sharp, co-founder of Pinterest in 2010, ostensibly a photo-sharing site and mobile app company.

Brian Sheth

Brian Sheth founded Vista Equity at the age of 23 in 2000 – the company concentrates on software for start-up companies, and has so far enabled him to accumulate a fortune of $1.1 billion.

Drew Houston

Founder and CEO of Dropbox, a file-hosting, back-up and sharing company, is Drew Houston, whose net worth is now $1.4 billion built from an idea launched in 2007 when he was 24.

Adam Neumann

One of only two non-Americans on the list is Israeli Adam Neumann, who founded WeWork in 2010 as a file-sharing service, and which has so far netted him $1.5 billion at the age of 36.

Ryan Graves

Ryan Graves is one of three persons synonymous with Uber Technologies, an app service joining clients with taxis – actually a car-sharing initiative – which is spreading rapidly around the world, so far putting $1.5 billion in Ryan’s pocket since its start-up in 2010 when he was 27.

Ben Silbermann

Another co-founder of Pinterest is Ben Silbermann, just 27 when the company took-off, and now a rich young man to the tune of $1.6 billion.

Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel

The two young founders of Snapchat, a photo-messaging app, are Bobby Murphy, now worth $1.8 billion, and the youngest on this list Evan Spiegel, whose wealth is now $2.1 billion, who were 22 and 20 respectively when the company was created in 2010.

Grizzlies-Owner Basketball

Ubiquiti Networks, a communications technology company, was founded in 2011 by Robert Pera, who was 33 years old at the time and is now worth a very respectable $2.1 billion.

Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey is the only person on the list associated with the creation and launch of two successful companies: Square, a mobile payment service which came into use in 2010, and Twitter which has become one the major social network sites since its inception in 2006. Jack is now worth over $2.3 billion, which is a tidy amount for a 39 year-old.

Sean Parker

Napster’s co-founder Sean Parker is also associated with Facebook, but the former message sharing service launched in 1999 when he was just 20, is certainly his (half) baby, and has earned him a considerable percentage of his current $2.3 billion net worth.

Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk

Next wealthiest on the list are the three co-founders of accommodation finding/reservation web-site Airbnb, Joe Gebbia, Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk, all with current net worth estimated at $3.3 billion, accumulated since the inception of the company in 2008. The first two named were 27 years-old at the time, and Nathan 25.

Elizabeth Holmes

The only lady on this list is Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, a blood-testing company which has so far boosted her net worth to $4.7 billion since she put her idea into practice at the age of 19 in 2003.

Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick – current wealth $6 billion – and Canadian Garrett Camp, $6.6 billion are the other two names connected intimately with the aforementioned Uber Technologies taxi/car-sharing booking service. They were 34 and 32 years-old respectively at the time of its launch in 2010.

Ukrainian-born computer engineer Jan Koum was the co-founder of mobile messaging app WhatsApp, and just 33 years-old when the company was incorporated in 2009. Facebook acquired the company in 2014 for a reputed $19 billion, so no wonder that Jan’s wealth is now estimated at close to $9 billion.

Dustin Moskovitz

The two richest on the list are both associated with the social network enjoying the widest usage, Facebook, but with very different current levels of wealth. Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is rated by Forbes magazine as the youngest ever self-made billionaire, at the age of 24 – his net worth is now close to $10 billion, even though he left Facebook in 2008 to create Asana.

All the above-mentioned young guns pale into relative financial insignificance in comparison to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who at the age of 31 now has a fortune estimated at over $47 billion which, depending on the fluctuations of the share market, ranks Zuckerberg as the seventh richest person in the world in late 2015, an impressive reward for a little over 10 years creative work!

So what do you think of this list? In particular, who can you see joining it in the near future, or do you know of any others already ‘qualifying’? Please feel free to communicate with us.

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Putin’s Secret Weapon – Not What You Might Think!

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What represents power in the 21st Century? Nuclear weapons or Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), chemicals, illegal drugs, even terrorism itself? Maybe; however, think about it in a wider context, and you may recognise that control of the media may just be it, in particular the ability to formulate and control public opinion through all the various elements of the mass media. This is not simply misinformation, but control of thought and behaviour.

Of course this is nothing new, and is recognised in many countries, cultures, even religions around the world, but where formerly control was vested in the print media, then radio followed by television, today the internet in its various forms reigns supreme, but is far more widespread and difficult to control. This is ever more the case where personal popularity is essential to the continuance of the state as ‘they’ would want it. You may well think that this applies to the smaller, third world or developing countries in Asia, Africa, possibly South and Central America, but it is also the case in much larger countries, and none more so than in present-day Russia. China is a given because it is known as still communist and centrally controlled, but since perestroika in the early ‘90s and the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia is supposedly a modern, democratic state, isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. The façade of a democratic country is apparent in (supposedly) free elections comprising several parties and the right to campaign (and protest), freedom of geographic movement, the ability to change jobs, start your own company, trade internationally, even migrate. However, the hand of central control – especially in the form of influencing public opinion – is actually never very far removed.

The Kremlin calls it the reiting – roughly ‘rating’ which rules supreme over all of the nation’s political and economic decisions, as it purports to measure the most important vital sign of Russia’s body politic: the personal popularity of Vladimir Putin. At a current 82 percent ‘rating’, Russia’s elite relax, but when Putin announced his intention to run again for the presidency in 2011, it dipped to 62 percent, so there was almost indecent haste to reverse the trend at any cost, which manifested itself in recent years from staging a lavish Winter Olympic Games to taking the country to war in Ukraine and Syria.

The overall reiting is accumulated from several sources, but the biggest is a widespread monitoring body created by the Kremlin for the (undeclared) purpose of spotting and crushing discontent. However, perhaps unsurprisingly the most trusted one is independent of those run by Putin loyalists, and the only surviving independent pollster in Russia, called the Levada Center, after Yuri Levada its late founder. Launched in 1988 actually at the suggestion of the proponent of glasnost, the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, it still, just, reports on ‘What are the people thinking?’ – the real feelings of the population, regardless of how unpalatable that might be to those in authority, although now in a very different Russia a generation later, under constant pressure from the Kremlin, and which rouses barely forgotten memories of the state-controlled apparatus of the soviet communist era.

In a democratic society which Russia purported to become, it was essential to understand the concerns, fears, likes, dislikes of the majority of the population, of which Soviet governments had no knowledge of, or indeed interest in. “The study of public opinion was meant to become an institution on which a democratic society could be built.” says Natalia Zorkina, an original member of Levada. To survive, a democratic government needed to understand its people, however, in a very short time, ‘public opinion’ as shown to the government was extremely antipathetic to President Boris Yeltsin by the mid-1990s, indeed advocating that the government should be thrown out. A panicked Kremlin even considered canceling elections, however, a small group of media moguls and self-described “political technologists” persuaded the Kremlin that it was possible to shape public opinion, instead of bowing to public pressure.

“All politics is information politics; there is no difference for us between facts and perceptions.” says Gleb Pavlovsky, a political technologist, one of the original key architects of the alliance of pollsters and media owners who also brought Putin to power in 2000. So the thinking that became today’s Putin regime was born: public opinion was something to be controlled and shaped, not something to be listened to. (Sound familiar?)

In short, the people running the Kremlin had changed, but the basic philosophy had not – formulate and shape public opinion, don’t listen to it. Dissuade people from making a democratic choice between different political ideals, and persuade as many as possible to support the national leader, supposedly in the national interest. For a few short years, public opinion had been the foundation of democracy, but now it became a tool of authoritarianism.

The Levada Center has followed Russia’s transition from democracy – however flawed – to an autocracy tolerated by a resigned population, and utilising the methodology Yuri Levada thought would bring Russia freedom—the careful monitoring of what ordinary Russians think about everything, from the price of petrol to western capitalism, from social security and trash collection, to nuclear armaments and … God.

The Levada center is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) funded by economic surveys for universities, commercial market research, and media organisations; a small amount of revenue comes from foreign clients. 3,000 pollsters nationwide question Russians by ‘phone, internet and in person; they believe in getting the real data, not just telling the people who fund them what they might prefer to hear. However, one veteran (anonymous) Russian TV host describes Levada as ‘former people’ (an ex-Bolshevik term used for aristocrats and bourgeois who had no place in Soviet society), who  are important for identifying the real picture of Russia, not the one that appears on official television screens.

Conversely, the Kremlin also produces data on public opinion, though the methods it uses are at best questionable. The Federal Guard Service – similar to the US Secret Service in primarily protecting the president – deploys thousands of state employees to monitor media and social networks for any sign of discontent, of potential political or social unrest. The All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, or VTsIOM and the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), act similarly. However, such state-sponsored polls pose questions in such a way that respondents are effectively asked – ‘do you agree with the norm, the majority?’

One example – following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Crimean Tatars had effectively cut electricity from Ukraine, on which Crimea is totally dependent for energy, and which Ukraine refused to restore unless Russia conceded that Crimea remained part of Ukraine. VTsIOM polled people as to whether they preferred the darkness to agreeing to Ukraine’s demand. Apparently 96 percent preferred to suffer, interpreted by Russian TV as a sign of the locals’ wishing to stay part of Russia. In reality, it was not an opinion poll, but an invitation to prove loyalty…. people were afraid to answer honestly, fearing the consequences of a disloyal answer.

This type of leading-question polling is the basis of decision-making in the Kremlin. A former editor-in-chief of the opposition channel Dozhd TV, Mikhail Zygar, states that “Every [Kremlin] action is based absolutely on this polling – these polls confirm that everything they’re doing is right, that Putin is popular and the people love him.”

As described by the authoritative magazine “Newsweek”, ‘… the system is a kind of magic circle: ‘opinion polls’ shape official television coverage, which in turn shapes public opinion.’ Boris Berezovsky first understood the might of television; he took over Russia’s Channel One, the main TV channel, and used its influence to generate money and establish power. However, it was Putin who swiftly took that power into the Kremlin, disposed of any potential rivals (including Berezovsky), and shut-down all non-state media. Consequently, Levada’s Zorkina, identifies that the Kremlin has control unprecedented since perestroika over what Russians see, hear – and think.

Concurrently, the Kremlin (Putin) has recreated the Soviet siege mentality, that the country is surrounded by enemies, and that all problems are the result of foreign conspiracies. This is now imbedded to the extent where two-thirds of the population are said to believe that this is true. As Zorkina says “Putin has also rekindled the old Russian imperial idea, with its superiority complex and the idea that we are on some special historical path.”

Since Putin controls the Kremlin, he also has control over this not-so-secret – but devastating and all-powerful – weapon, public opinion shaped by state-sponsored media. Today, a microscopic proportion of Russians are actively involved in any political activity, partly because they are savvy enough to believe that they can’t change anything. The vast majority of activity is effectively confined to the support of the state, which is in the form of President Vladimir Putin, who has unprecedented (democratic?) control over what Russians see, hear—and think! At the moment, there is no credible alternative in either a political movement or a personality able to challenge the status quo. However – watch out! As has been demonstrated in many countries around the world, the population can only be subjugated so far, and for so long, and with the Russian standard of living dropping alarmingly in the last three years, based on the value of the rouble being halved in that time, no amount of propaganda can sustain such popularity indefinitely, particularly when it is based on fear-mongering, and costly wars, and in a society where what people REALLY think is either unknown or ignored by the supposed powers that be!

You might be interested in Vladimir Putin net worth.

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