You may have read about Mark Zuckerberg’s big idea for getting the remaining two thirds of the world’s population online. To achieve this, Facebook has tied up with a host of companies but noticeably not Google, Apple and Microsoft.

Many are cynical, but are they right? In an interview in ‘Wired’ magazine, Zuckerberg said: “Criticism is kind of crazy. The billion people who are already on Facebook have way, way more money than the next 6 billion people combined. If we wanted to focus on just making money, the right strategy for us would be to focus solely on the developed countries and the people already on Facebook.”

Perhaps of more interest is Zuckerberg’s view on why his plan is so important. “An industrial economy,” he said, “is zero sum. If you own an oil field, I cannot go in that same oil field. But knowledge works differently. If you know something, then you can share that — and then the whole world gets richer. But until that happens, there’s a big disparity in wealth. The richest 500 million have way more money than the next 6 billion combined. You solve that by getting everyone online, and into the knowledge economy — by building out the global Internet.”

So there you have it. Zuckerberg is an idealist who obeys a greater purpose.

He is not unusual. Most entrepreneurs say they are not just about making money but they want to in some way contribute to making the world a better place. Is that naivety, arrogance, or should we take some comfort in knowing that that the rich and powerful care about little old you and me?

© Investment & Business News 2013