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Oct 3, 2019

Zuckerberg: No one deserves to be a billionaire, but it's useful

Zuckerberg met with criticism, engaged in 'constructive dialogue' in D.C.


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Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, the fifth-richest person in the world, was asked by an employee to respond to an assertion by U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that billionaires shouldn’t exist. Zuckerberg conceded that they probably shouldn’t.

“No one deserves that much money,” Zuckerberg said. “I think if you do something that’s good, you get rewarded, but I do think some of the wealth that can be accumulated is unreasonable.”

Zuckerberg, who has a net worth of US$69.4 billion, was speaking late Thursday at an internal question-and-answer meeting that he decided to stream live to the public, after audio of similar Q&A meetings earlier this year was leaked. The employee at Thursday’s meeting said he was asking Zuckerberg “as the only billionaire with whom I can consult on this matter.”

The Facebook co-founder went on to explain that his philanthropic investment arm, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has been making bets on scientific advancements with the goal of eradicating all disease in the next century. The firm’s investments might happen more slowly or might never happen through public money, Zuckerberg said, so he is trying to make his billionaire status useful.

“The suggestion that this should all be done publicly, I think, would deprive the market and world from a diversity of different attempts that can be taken,” he told employees.

On Tuesday, Sanders unveiled a proposal for a steep tax on billionaires, taking aim at a person’s accumulated wealth, not just income.