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> They really don't care that much about making the world a better place...
This betrays a serious lack of research on the part of that person you quoted. Improving the world is totally a big part of the hacker ethos ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_ethic ). They have a different vision of what a better world looks like than old-money types; specifically, they care about getting the greatest result possible with the least expense (as you noted), which fine art institutions and really even most actual charities can't make a good claim to. As for why they don't seem to donate as much money, one common argument I hear is that they can (pretty reasonably) expect to make almost all of their money in the later part of their life, so it makes more sense to start getting used to a lifestyle they can always support and wait a decade or two to start giving away their fortunes.
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