Re: Fwd: Proposal on extropian philantropy

From: Stirling Westrup (
Date: Tue Feb 15 2000 - 09:14:50 MST

Sasha Chislenko wrote:

> Nick wrote:

> >The hordes of new internet millionaires throwing their money away to
> >the usual charities represent a new philanthropic impulse than we can
> >channel to important extropian research.

This is of interest to me, since I'm one of the folks working hard in the hopes
of ending up on the list of Internet millionaires (why do I suspect I am not
the only one on this list?)

> >(1) A clearinghouse for important, underfunded science. People could
> >go to a web site, find appealing science and make donations. The
> >organization would be a middle man making it very easy for both
> >philanthropists and scientists to use the site and provide the
> >"non-profit" legal status needed for tax purposes, etc.

A friend of mine recently made a suggestion to me that we might consider going
into this buisiness (although he was thinking that it should support as many
charities as possible, suitably categorized). What do folks think of the
viability of this idea?

> >(2) A foundation that raises money and distributes it according to
> >its board's decisions. This is a turn-key solution for the
> >philanthropist; he can write a check, feel good and forget about it.

There are any number of philianthropic foundations set up like this. The
difficulty is ensuring that the vision of the board of directors stays
optimistic and eager to embrace new technology, while having enough technical
savvy not to be taken in by things like 'collapsed hydrogen'.

> >(3) An philanthropic incubator or venture fund. This is perhaps the
> >most novel idea. People will not be giving away their money, but
> >will be making an investment in a good thing that might or might not
> >pay off. The problem with this is that you may have to focus more on
> >profits in some cases than you'd like. The benefit is a potentially
> >huge endowment through the IPOs of some of the ventures.

This is the idea that I have been leaning towards. I'm just enough of a
Libertarian that I think that most charities could be better replaced by
institutions that make investments in the infrastructures that charities merely
prop up. In a similar manner, if I'm going to give money to strangers, I would
like to think that there *might* be a profit in it somewhere. Still, we all
know how being profit centered can stifle innovation, so I curious to see if
anyone on this list have any ideas on how to provide scientists the freedom to
fail, while being able to capitalize on any successes.

 Stirling Westrup  |  Use of the Internet by this poster       |  is not to be construed as a tacit
                   |  endorsement of Western Technological
                   |  Civilization or its appurtenances.

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