During my trip of U.S., I discovered behind the prosperity of art, culture and science is the donation system. The schools are donated – Harvard is among the most well known donated schools. There are enough charity organizations to support the homeless, and the artists are well sponsored to contribute on music, painting, theatre, dancing… (Well. I don’t think movie industry is donation based.) If someone has a great idea to do research, it is easy for him/her to find some foundation and get the money they need.
In China, there is a long way to go. As consultant for Smiling Library, I posted two articles on how donation works in China (Night with Smiling Library, Any Advice for Smiling Library). No matter it was in 2004 or 2005, the path for charity organization like Smiling Library is not easy. There are legal constraints (they still don’t know if they can do it legally) and management constraints (how to operate it?)
Donation is a great way to distribute the common wealth of the society. It is better than government budget, which can reach to the smallest area in the society and there are less chances of corruption. More importantly, the joy of donating, seeing the change and get respect are the real meaning of being rich.