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Блог Михаила Прохорова
Благотворительность и "социальная ответственность" бизнеса. 
29th-May-2008 04:46 pm

Добрый день,

По итогам комментариев ряда предыдущих постов у меня появилась идея обсудить сегодня с вами интересную, на мой взгляд,  тему - благотворительность. Об этом сейчас много пишут и говорят. Но вот лично у меня возникает чувство недосказанности от прочитанного и услышанного.  Зачастую  эмоции (особенно в связи с социальной ответственностью бизнеса) напрочь перекрывают логику происходящего. Вопрос об отношении общества к благотворительности и благотворителям является одним из фундаментальных показателей его зрелости - радоваться успехам сильного и проявлять милосердие к слабому очень непросто. Поэтому предлагаю все это обсудить. Очень интересно узнать ваше мнение.

Хочу в инициативном порядке поделиться своим отношением к тому, что у нас определяют термином "социальная ответственность бизнеса". С  учетом моего опыта работы в "Норильском никеле" я выделяю в этом процессе три части:

1. Бизнес должен быть эффективен: платить налоги и достойную заработную плату на долгосрочной основе. Это вообще главная и обязательная задача бизнеса (в том числе и социальная), и уже за это можно ему сказать спасибо.

2. «Чистая» благотворительность – помощь тем, кому трудно, кто нуждается в заботе и опеке. Это  – естественная человеческая потребность творить добро. Здесь успешный бизнесмен может проявить себя просто как человек, у которого больше возможностей помогать людям.

3. Системообразующая помощь бизнеса социальной сфере.  Важно научить социальную сферу быть эффективной, т.е. потратить время, человеческий и денежный ресурсы для ее развития. Хорошим примером может стать участие бизнеса в регионах своего присутствия в реформе ЖКХ, где сочетается не только экономика, но и идеология – решая значимую для общества задачу, бизнес завоевывает общественную значимость и необходимость как главная движущая и креативная сила общества.

А вы как считаете?

С лучшими пожеланиями,

Михаил Прохоров

3rd-Jun-2008 01:35 pm (UTC) - Re: the subject of charity (Charity and Taxes)
Mr Prokhorov.....

I just wanted to add to my previous posts and touch further on Charity and Taxes.

I don't think we should be mixing the two together, for they are not one and the same thing.

Taxes are a requirement set by Government legislation and to be paid by Companies and Individuals. It is a statutory and civic duty. The taxes are used by the government to build the infrastructure and for the use of public services of the particular country you pay your taxes in. If you don't pay, the worse case scenario is you go to jail. End of Story.

Charity however is going above and beyond your "civic duty". Charitable giving is not a requirement by law in countries

You are wrong.
Governments are supposed to organise a certain kind of charity:
In every country there are those who can't work (severely ill, very old but no pension...) and these people have to be sponsored by the government.
You can call that social attitude or solidarity or human rights.
No government should be allowed to let its people starve.
There are also these people who get very ill and whose medical treatment is very expensive.
For this ALL people should pay. Wheather by free medical treatment sponsored by taxes or wheather by some kind of solidary health insurance (everyone pays some percent of his income, everyone gets the treatment he needs).
- nutrition
- health/medical treatment
- clothing and living
- education

These are the services a government is supposed to provide and that is what you are paying taxes for.
Imagine a government did not organise meidal treatment of its citizen and only the wealthy could afford medical treatment. What would happen? Due to less vaccinations many infections would spread (measels!, polio!) also many STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) would spread. The citizens labour performace would decrease. In the longer run this leads to a productivity decline. If you don't believe this just look at those problems African countries have with their defunct health systems and the spreading HIV rates.
Goverments should care for their citizens and they should cover essentials.

If a government works properly there is no need for lots of charity.
If there is a huge need for charity (underfinanced orphanages my a**) something in the system is seriously wrong.

8th-Jun-2008 06:58 pm (UTC) - Re: the subject of charity (Charity and Taxes)

Only technically speaking your statement is correct - all individuals and businesses residing/doing business in a country (and hence using the governmentally provided benefits of any kind as well) pay their taxes on a mandatory basis, so that the government will be able to support the functionality of the state in all its sectors. But in this specific case you were describing as well a situation where the state functions perfectly well and in the condition where enough funds were segregated and used accordingly and properly for these same social programs. Is there such a state in the world nowadays? How do we make sure that a welfare state won't be created? Sweden had a very good social program at certain point, but didn't it backfire?

All this depends on a very large presumption about the developmental stage (economic and other) of the country and its demographics also. Can you compare Ethiopia to Canada or Germany ? No country will almost ever be able to pay for all the needs of its low-income citizens and this is where the pure charity comes into place and it does have a voluntary character – wealthier people might or might not decide to transfer a portion of its wealth to the less privileged. The distinction point is their good will or lack of it.

So, going back to point 1 on MDP’s post - Should we really thank the business that it pays its taxes? – That is their obligation and Governmental tax agency auditors should make sure that they pay the needed prescribed amount, not the chosen amount achieved via financial engineering and elaborately setup tax evasion schemes. But then again – if the government has left tiny doors in the tax code open, how can anybody reasonably expect that they won’t be used. So, shouldn’t we start with the point of creation of the tax law and why were these loop holes left in existence? Should we thank the business for this as well ? Lobbying, right ?

Point 2 calls for people with some level of sensitivity and not everyone can have it.

P.S.: Don’t feel any obligation to respond
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