October 28, 2013;Bloomberg


Apparently, amongst billionaires, the Giving Pledge is being used as a public yardstick of sorts for proof of being honorable. But it is all a bit weird. Billionaires Carl Icahn and Bill Gross have been exchanging insults on Twitter recently, including taunts about one another’s philanthropic commitments.

Icahn, a Giving Pledge signer, is ranked 34th on the Bloomberg Billionaires index of the world’s richest people, with a personal wealth of $21.2 billion. He has been pushing Apple to buy back $150 billion in shares. Gross, whose personal wealth is a mere $2 billion, recently hauled out the Giving Pledge association and tweeted that “Icahn should leave #Apple alone & spend more time like Bill Gates. If #Icahn’s so smart, use it to help people not yourself.”



The next day, Gross wrote: “By the way, I should spend more TIME like Bill Gates too–we all should. He and Melinda are great paragons.”



Icahn tweeted back: “To Bill Gross @PIMCO: If you really want to do good, why not join like Gates, I and many others have?”



Gross, by the way, has endowed a foundation with $293 million of his personal wealth and has raised money for Doctors Without Borders. We are almost okay with billionaires measuring their worth in terms of who gives away more of their income. But, of course, all things being equal (which they are not), we’d like to have a nice big voice in helping to decide where such money ends up.—Ruth McCambridge