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Globe Editorial

Philanthropy: The sage of Omaha strikes again

December 12, 2010

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Even for those who shun the website that made Mark Zuckerberg a billionaire, it should be welcome news that the Facebook founder has signed onto Warren Buffett’s “Giving Pledge,’’ which asks signatories to donate more than half of their wealth to charity. But it never would have happened if Buffett himself hadn’t become such a staunch advocate for the rich doing their fair share for society.

A giant in the investment world, Buffett has famously said that a tax system in which he pays a lower effective rate than his secretary is seriously flawed. In stoking philanthropy among the wealthiest Americans, the Giving Pledge (which he co-founded with Bill Gates) will direct huge amounts of money toward broader public needs.

Buffett’s charitable work offers a reminder that the fortunes even of hard-driven entrepreneurs are possible only in a healthy society. It’s reassuring that many of America’s wealthiest business people seem willing to step up and answer the call. And Buffett, in both demonstrating and calling for fairness, is the most impressive of the bunch.