You will recall that when Notre Dame cathedral caught fire there was a huge outpouring of horror and concern. One of the few things about it that warmed the heart was the rapidity with which people offered money for the re-building , which President Macron pledged would be within five years. Most notable were the financial pledges from the super-rich families of France, like the. Pinaults of Gucci and Arnaults of Louis Vuitton and their like. Nearly 600 million Euros were promised.
Three months have gone by. A senior official at the cathedral commented, “The big donors haven’t paid. Not a cent”. There have been a lot of small donations, but nothing from the big names, who received all the credit while giving no more than a fraction of the money. And this despite a huge 66% tax relief on charitable giving. There is an annual cap on charity donations, which might be a reason for staggering the generosity, but no one has proffered this as a reason for the total silence. As Aditya Chakrabortty commented in The Guardian they are “all press release and no cheque”.
But then the richest man in the world, who runs Amazon, is said to give absolutely nothing to charity, staggered or not.
Charitable giving is both necessary and a pleasure for those influenced by Epicurus and wanting a better, more just and equal world.