June 27, 2022

MrBeast, the YouTuber Saving Our Oceans and Beaches Through Voluntary Action

YouTuber MrBeast and his 14 million followers are showing that individuals working together can tackle even humanity’s biggest problems.

MrBeast is a 24-year-old YouTuber who is far more than a content creator—he’s a change creator. While best known for producing game-style challenge videos and pranks for his 53 million YouTube subscribers, that’s not the only type of content he makes. He also makes charitable videos for environmental causes.

MrBeast has expressed his desire to leave the Earth better than he found it. And how exactly is he doing this, you might ask? By engaging his massive reach to rally his supporters to help fund and volunteer for social causes.

For example, MrBeast’s first viral initiative, #TeamTrees, tackled the environmental problem of deforestation. The project’s is to plant 20 million trees by December 2022, and according to the website teamtrees.org, they are on track to meet that goal. After successfully raising millions and planting 10 million trees to date, MrBeast’s followers encouraged him to take on another environmental cause.

Once again, MrBeast rose to the occasion, using his massive YouTube reach to launch #TeamSeas. The initiative attempts to solve the massive trash problem in the oceans.

As Leonard Read pointed out in his classic essay I, Pencil, creative human energies come together “naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human masterminding.”. And that’s precisely what we have witnessed with #TeamTrees and #TeamSeas.

With the help of Mark Rober, another popular YouTuber and inventor, and MrBeast’s 53 million YouTube subscribers, they have helped remove 32 million pounds of trash.

The results are impressive considering the initiative was spearheaded by one individual, but what’s fascinating about these two initiatives is the voluntary collaborative actions of millions of individuals are fully driving them.

How exactly did his latest initiative unfold?

On October 18, MrBeast asked his 13.6 million followers if there were any influencers willing to help save the ocean. He followed up by tweeting that hundreds of influencers had reached out to him willing to help. And in December, MrBeast tweeted that #TeamSeas had removed 25 million pounds of trash from the ocean. This was possible because of the thousands of creators who helped promote the initiative with videos supporting #TeamSeas.

Many people have a misconception that these dynamic results only come from government policies. They assume that, without the government, the issue would go unresolved. That’s not true at all, as MrBeast has proven.

Unlike government initiatives, like taxpayer-financed cleanup crews or bans on plastic bags and straws, everything in #TeamTrees and #TeamSeas is voluntary. Instead of taxing people, MrBeast and Mark Rober are raising voluntary donations. And with those voluntary donations, MrBeast is funding pre-existing charities, clean-up crews, and building robots to clean the sea.

MrBeast and his network have tapped into the power of voluntary human action. He has demonstrated once again that humans are capable of tackling social issues without the need for government to step in.

With a single tweet and video, MrBeast was able to rally his followers to physically show up and volunteer for the clean-up. He launched a successful donation campaign where millions of his followers donated their money to fund the project. He was able to avoid wasting millions of dollars on unnecessary overhead, which has translated into every dollar donated going directly to the project.

Because of the voluntary nature of the project, Mr. Beast and Rober have incentives to make the operation efficient. The more efficient it is, the more impressive the results they get to report, and the more enthusiasm, views (tens of millions, so far), donations, and ad revenue (resulting from voluntary ad clicks and purchases) they earn. They even promoted efficiency in the fundraising campaign itself, promising $1 donated = 1 pound of trash.

Compare this to most bureaucracies, which don’t need to worry much about achieving efficiency and results to garner support because they can count on the involuntary support of the taxpayers, no matter how they perform. As Joel Lim has written for FEE.org:

“…studies have found that 70% of the money spent on budgeting for government assistance gets spent upholding the bureaucracies, with only 30% actually going to the poor. Private charities, on the other hand, give over 70% of their proceeds to the poor. There are a ton of really good examples of this, like Feeding America, which can turn $1 into a shocking 12 pounds of food for the poor, or ten large meals. In fact, raising half as much money from voluntary private charity instead of forced taxation is estimated to produce the same impact as the government, if not more.”

The results of MrBeast’s projects showcase how individuals are fully capable of tackling world issues in the most efficient way and without coercing individuals to contribute. History has shown us that if these projects were left up to the government, waste and inefficiency would block progress.

As Murray Rothbard explains: “…the government bureau acquires its income from mulcting the long-suffering taxpayer. Its operations therefore become inefficient, and costs zoom, since government bureaus need not worry about losses or bankruptcy; they can make up their losses by additional extractions from the public till.”

Incentives matter.

Voluntary cooperation provides good incentives and great results. Involuntary relationships, not so much. Imagine what we can accomplish if the government got out of the way and let each individual use his or her money to fund whatever initiative they feel drawn to fund voluntarily. The truth is, we do not need the government to tackle any issue because when it is left to the individual, the individual will rally to tackle that issue and do it far more efficiently than the government.

MrBeast is proving this with planted trees and cleaner seas. We cannot wait to see what other initiatives MrBeast is ready to tackle. And whatever that might be, you can rest assured that he will be more efficient than the government.

This article, MrBeast, the YouTuber Saving Our Oceans and Beaches Through Voluntary Action, was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education and appears here with permission.  Please support their mission.