Dear liberal billionaires

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I know that many of you donate a lot of money to progressive causes and candidates, but I recently got an idea for another avenue for societal progress you might pursue. The idea is a general one about a kind of action you can take that combines business, philanthropy, and political activism, but in this post, I’ll describe it in terms of a specific type of business.

The business

It could be anything, but for the purposes of this post, let’s say it’s solar energy. You start a business that involves placing solar panels on homes in some way. Maybe you’re manufacturing them. Maybe you’re installing them. Maybe you’re renting rooftop space to install panels you would own, and then you sell the electricity to the homeowner for less than they’d pay their power company.

The philanthropy

This particular business idea is not new, but not as many entrepreneurs are embracing it as one might hope, and I assume the reason for this is that it’s not profitable enough in enough places at this time, due to the tech or the local energy regulations or public awareness or whatever not quite being friendly enough yet. But this is where the philanthropic aspect comes in. You’d swallow what losses there were, considering them the equivalent of a donation to some good cause. And you could also consider them to be political donations, because…

The politics

You’d concentrate your efforts on economically distressed areas of the country, which also tend to be in red, or at least purple, states. Aside from improving the economic security of struggling Americans, which all by itself could make them less susceptible to GOP manipulations, you might even get some of them believing in climate change!

The possibilities

This is the idea, and one way it might be incarnated. There are others: low cost tutoring or child care centers, low priced food coops, summer camps, science clubs, etc. Ventures that would improve society and possibly shift the ideological divide leftward, except that they aren’t quite viable as business ideas, or could only be viable by costing more than the average American can afford. But you could provide the extra bump needed to make them happen after all.


This has been a “Politake,” a brief take on politics by Freeman Ng.