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Bill Gates Regains the Position of World's Richest Person

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the more-money-more-problems dept.

The Almighty Buck 311

jones_supa writes "Bill Gates is once again the world's richest person. He recaptured the title from Mexican investor Carlos Slim, as Microsoft hit a five-year high. It is the first time Gates has held the mantle since 2007. His fortune is valued at $72.7 billion, up 16 percent year-to-date. At the same time, Mr. Slim's América Móvil, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas, has dropped 14 percent this year after Mexico's Congress passed a bill that could quash the billionaire's market dominance. That's helped erase more than $3 billion from the tycoon's net worth. What comes to Bill Gates, most of his fortune is held in Cascade Investment LLC, a holding entity through which he owns stakes in more than a dozen publicly traded companies and several closely held operations. He has donated $28 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."

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Something is wrong (5, Insightful)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year ago | (#43749309)

When the system allows a single individual to amass such wealth into his own hands something is wrong with the system. I have nothing against the rich or Bill Gates and I do think that more capable people should have a reward, but this is going beyond good taste.

Re:Something is wrong (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749347)

This is nothing new, and plays out again and again throughout human history. My greater disappointment is that we're *still* dealing with this after all these years. But unless BG starts taking over countries, or allowing his sex slaves to escape unharmed, live with it.

Re:Something is wrong (4, Funny)

chromas (1085949) | about a year ago | (#43749423)

Not only are we unharmed, he even lets us post to /. from our Windows 9 phones while on the job.

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749861)

Because of MS Windows and its applications assuming all screens are 96 DPI or thereabout no one is making better computer screens while Android devices have had 200 PPI for and more for a very long time if and the current high-end Android Phones are roughly around 450 PPI give or take a few percents.

If not for Microsoft we all would be having much better lives right now.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#43749923)

In 'legacy' software, sure.

But isn't that one of the selling points of Win8 apps that they'll run independent of resolution on phones, Win RT tablets and desktops?

Re:Something is wrong (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750043)

Of course, without Microsoft, the rise and commoditization of x86 would have never happened (this started in the XENIX days, when they were the single largest Unix vendor), which set the stage for essentially creating the home computer market as we know it today. Of cours, it existed before MS got involved, but it wasn't Texas-Instruments, Atari, Apple or Commodore/Amiga/Commodore-Amiga who put a PC in practically every household.

It stands to reason that had Ms not, via their partnerships with Intel and IBM, commoditized the personal computer in the way that they did, the internet probably wouldn't have left academia and become what it is today. The DTP revolution would have still happened (it was born on the Mac, after all) but also wouldn't have grown into what it is today without the accessibility of having Windows, and by extension cheap PCs everywhere. Same goes for gaming and multimedia (previously the barrier to entry for the latter, was being able to afford SGI gear, though Atari introduced it to consumers).

And your gripe is screen resolution? Based on Android devices which xist in a market Microsoft was never at any point a major player in. Never mind that Apple was debatably first to market with that, and was first to market for "traditional" devices with their retina displays. I'd venture that it having took so long is due to the cost of producing the hardware has dropped to where it's affordable only now.

I do, however agree with the conclusion. life before "tech everywhere all the time for everything" was probably better.

Re:Something is wrong (5, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about a year ago | (#43750253)

It has nothing to do with Microsoft and the commodization of the PC. There were home computers in many households before, and most of them were able to work with the Internet before Microsoft enabled Internet out of the box on their OS offerings.

For a long time, Microsoft tried to use their own LANmanager (based on DEC's Pathworks) or its later incarnation as NetBEUI/NetBIOS as the local networking stack, and IP had to be added via Trumpet Winsock or similar third party applications. The Internet Providers thus were giving out installation media to install IP functionality together with the Internet access.

Internet was in many households long before Microsoft implemented it on the "commodized PC platform".

Re:Something is wrong (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43750341)

Of course, without Microsoft, the rise and commoditization of x86 would have never happened (this started in the XENIX days, when they were the single largest Unix vendor),

I used to work on those systems back in the military in the mid 1990s. But I think SCO (the original SCO, mind you) was the maker of XENIX at the time. Fond memories.

Re:Something is wrong (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749369)

The system should never allow a single individual to create a product that touches hundreds of millions of people daily. We should never allow economy of scale or efficiency in that scale. They're both shitbags as people go, but they've done incredible things to move the world forward. Imagine if we were all still trying to use C/PM or if hundreds of millions of poor people in central america didn't have access to an affordable cellphone.

You're a selfish douche.

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749459)

On the other side that would probably make Linux the dominant operating system. Not that bad.

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#43749653)

On the other side that would probably make Linux the dominant operating system. Not that bad.

Yeah, we'd only have to remove everything influenced by Linus. Not just what he wrote, but also what he let in as the maintainer gate-ward. Ooooooops.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749509)

Linux still runs more servers, am I right? Whats more influential? Windows is simply more visible and the defacto OEM standard, through syndication, not competition.

Bill Gates has a monopoly on low level DoD informations systems, and business culture. That is all.

I would be interested to know what some of his closely held holdings are. But I'm sure the money trail around those disastrous African drug trials is nice and loose.

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749915)

> The system should never allow a single individual to create a product that touches hundreds of millions of people daily

A SINGLE PERSON, never has.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749955)

You should read what President Roosevelt did (which you will never learn in any history class) before the 2nd WW
to save this country from its impending loss of democracy. It will sicken you how that has been, little by little,
systematically undone by the Republicans to the point that the wealthy pay virtually no tax at all.

The Borg tries to appear repentive, but point of fact is that he has done very little in this country and has not "given"
much away at all.

CAPTCHA = 'positive', yup - I try to be as much as possible.

Re:Something is wrong (4, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43749411)

Who gets to decide how much is too much? The problem isn't that some people are too rich, the problem is that way too many people are incredibly poor, which is most people outside of developed countries. This isn't a problem that can be fixed by arbitrarily picking a number and confiscating any wealth above that, it's a problem that gets fixed by people in those countries getting rid of their corrupt politicians and levying taxes on their own wealthy. Not to say each country is a discrete unit of course, we can help them in many ways, but ultimately the decisions need to be made domestically.

Re:Something is wrong (5, Insightful)

Twanfox (185252) | about a year ago | (#43749489)

Who gets to decide how much is too much? ... people in those countries getting rid of their corrupt politicians and levying taxes on their own wealthy.

Something tells me you answered your own question just there. And if it is 'the people in those countries' deciding when too much is too much, then the GP poster commenting he feels Gates has too much is certainly within his rights to say.

Saying that the problem isn't that some people are too rich, it's that some are too poor is trying to make excuses why being overly successful (in some cases, abusively successful) is desirable and 'them good for nuthin' lazy poor folk' are in the wrong for not being successful enough. The whole game is set up so that a few accumulate a lot that could otherwise be feeding the many. The phrase 'you have to have money to make money' didn't come about because it's a cute saying. I can't imagine that anyone that's rich now continued to slog away on the assembly line until they were rich. At some point they stopped doing manual labor and let their funds work for them through investments. Even still, SOMEONE needs to slog away on that assembly line, don't they? Why can't they be paid commiserate with the total value their work brings in, just like those awesome investors that ponied up a little dough but didn't otherwise put forth ANY effort for their return? It'd certainly keep them unsuccessful poor from being so poor, wouldn't it?

The simple fact is that people are greedy assholes no matter which end of the 'rich' spectrum you're on. It's just that those that have (money, skills, power), they get to flex their greed more strongly than the rest. If everyone played fair on their own, sought balance instead of their own aggrandizement, we wouldn't feel the need to put in such silly things like regulations and limits and 'how much is too rich' and such because you just wouldn't have that problem anymore.

Re:Something is wrong (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749519)

Well the difference is when the few decide what is to much vs the many. Thats democracy, or rule by majority. For the distribution of wealth and power, majority rule is fine by me.

For other things concerning race or beliefs rule by majority is terrible.

Our system does not currently make much of a distinction. And is run mostly by the wealthy.

Re:Something is wrong (2, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43749529)

No, you're making the same mistake as the OP, treating all places as if they were the same. The bottom line is that even the poorest in developed countries have a standard of living far beyond most of the rest of the world mostly due to open and clear political systems and more importantly taxation.

There are two sentiments at work here, a kind of moralising piety that tut tuts at Bill sitting on his pile of cash as people in poor countries starve, and an attitude that really wants to see the lot of poor people get better and understands how to do so. Yours and the OPs are the former.

Re:Something is wrong (5, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#43749781)

Another mistake they are making is not distinguishing between wealth and income. Taxing wealth amounts to punishment for not spending, and it can only be done once.

96.9% of the people in India (1.18 billion people) live on less than $5 per day (adjusted for purchasing power.) Confiscating 100% of Bill Gates wealth will only give each of them a one time payment of $61.61, less than a month of income.

The upshot of realizing these things is that you see that wealth disparity is a pretend problem, and the closest thing it is to a real problem is the fact that so many people can be so easily fooled into droning on about it like it actually was a problem.

At the end of the day no matter how the handful of people like Bill Gates became so rich, neither their wealth nor their income holds a candle to what governments throw around on a daily basis. The frustrating part is that those than drone on about wealth disparity were basically handed marching orders to drone on about it by members of the very governments that so easily throw around much larger sums of money. It only takes a week for the U.S. Federal government (responsible for only about half of all government spending in the United States) to spend more than Bill Gates entire net worth.

The problem in India is mainly rooted in the lack of the sufficient capitol base necessary for the percentile growth of the economy to keep up with western nations. The problem in America is too many people don't realize that the government already spends more than enough, and because of that they even the worst off of us already have it better than the average man ever had it ever in the history of the world.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749841)

even the worst off of us already have it better than the average man ever had it ever in the history of the world.

This is the only thing I take issue with. I am sure I could probably find an example of people in dire need in this country in recent times. I'm thinking the end result of Katrina. Or generally frozen and starved homeless people. Or people subject to gang violence. The fact is even in this "utopia" people still starve to death. Some earn that starvation, others don't really. I suppose in a 3rd world country people would have just been left to riot for themselves vs loose their homes due to insurance fraud. But you probably can still find frozen homeless people all over. How about some of those floods in the Midwest and southern U.S. due to poor urban planning because of corrupt politics. These are small abuses adding up to create horror that the majority is over looking.

If I were to loose what little support I have now from my family, I would be out of luck. I would most likely have to submit myself to our countries prison system. At that point what you say holds true again, our prisoners are pretty well taken care of. But might as well be a legitimate and civil means of going into posh slavery.

I suppose if life was great for poor and poverty stricken people they wouldn't resort to doing things that got them incarcerated for prolonged periods of times. They wouldn't kill their own children and commit suicide. They would look after themselves at least. We would see less domestic violence. Drug addiction. etc... But that isn't the case as again I would like to point out our wonderfully unique prison system.

I don't know if you can convince me that the worst of us live like Arabian kings or even Mongol lords.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749843)

Well heck. If you take the average, it's probably a neolithic subsistence culture. And they had more freedom then some of our richest do. Shorter life spans. But hey quality of life is highly subjective.

Re:Something is wrong (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43749859)

Confiscating 100% of Bill Gates wealth will only give each of them a one time payment of $61.61, less than a month of income.

And if we lived in a system where tax money was literally handed to people, you'd have a point, but that's not what tax money is used for on all but the smallest scales. Economics has shown time and time again that the impacts on quality of life from spending money on social infrastructre are disproportionately large. Suppose you built tens of billions of dollars worth of hospitals, which is a lot of hospitals by any measure, as well as the infrastructure to set up medical schools. Suddenly you've not only created a promising new career avenue, you've also made the nation healthier and, as a consequence, more productive, and as a consequence, raised their incomes.

Bootstrapping, essentially.

Re:Something is wrong (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750361)

The bottom line is that even the poorest in developed countries have a standard of living far beyond most of the rest of the world mostly due to open and clear political systems and more importantly taxation.

I see this trotted out in nearly 'rich vs poor' thread. Why? Are you proud of this standard? Here in the US we still have homelessness. A good friend of mine is a public defender in a mid-size city; she just lost a client to cancer because he couldn't get chemo due to lack of health insurance (an no, the ER doesn't do chemo) and he fucking DIED. We've got food deserts in major cities where you cannot buy fresh vegetables and fruit; only prepackaged preprocessed shit masquerading as food. You want third world? Take a look a the pollution in East St Louis.

I've got some very good friends in Australia and Chile, and they mock us. Get back to me with our poorest having a decent standard of living when we have real safety nets for when the bankers fleece us and the economy tanks again.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about a year ago | (#43750317)

Who gets to decide how much is too much? ... people in those countries getting rid of their corrupt politicians and levying taxes on their own wealthy.

Something tells me you answered your own question just there. And if it is 'the people in those countries' deciding when too much is too much, then the GP poster commenting he feels Gates has too much is certainly within his rights to say.

And that's what the tax code is supposed to settle.

In a capitalistic society there is a need for some individuals to have excess capitol/money to invest in new ideas/companies. Gates just seems to be the richest.

And you know what? It has to be someone. Why not him. At least he seems to make an effort to give away some of the money towards his charity.

Do I like what he did with the Microsoft OS monopoly? Of course not. But what he's done with the money isn't as disgusting as just putting it into big oil or buying his own island or something like that.

Re:Something is wrong (3)

ta_gueule (2795275) | about a year ago | (#43749641)

Extremely rich people are a threat to democracy. If you don't take action they become richer and richer, faster and faster and end up controlling your nation. The risk would be greatly mitigated with a cap on inheritance for instance.

Re:Something is wrong (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year ago | (#43749667)

If extremely rich people are buying politicians or something then I would suggest the problem again lies with your political system and a lack of serious consequences for corruption. Although I do agree that inheritances should be heavily taxed, in fact I think they already are in many places.

Re:Something is wrong (2)

ta_gueule (2795275) | about a year ago | (#43749903)

You are assuming the politicians have the power, which is debatable. The too rich people actually end up with more power than the politician. He controls the industry more than the politician does. He can set the direction of the economy. He can hire or fire people. He can relocate factories, he can remove a city from the map and build it elsewhere with his money. This is not about buying politicians, it's about where the real power lies. If you let the extremely rich people get too rich, they become kings. Their power exceeds the one of the elected politicians. They are a threat to democracy.

Re:Something is wrong (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43750199)

The problem with your argument is thus: You can move a billion dollars around the planet in seconds. this means that you would have to fix EVERY country and ALL the politicians on the entire planet to do anything about the problem of too much wealth giving too much power, and that simply isn't realistic.

Just look at T. Boone Pickens who has said on several occasions he intends to own every drop of water in the United States, even if YOUR state refuses to sell to him all he has to do is find one upstream who will, now picture that on a global scale because that is what we are talking about here.

The simple fact is money is power and power corrupts, end of story. With the ability to move wealth at a push of a button the ability to just "fix politics" just doesn't exist because the wealthy can use the fact that they can move billions in a second to turn nation against nation.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year ago | (#43750591)

In theory yes, in practice once you got enough money you dodge the tax system through offshore accounts.

Re:Something is wrong (3, Informative)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#43749797)

The risk would be greatly mitigated with a cap on inheritance for instance.

The U.S. Federal government grabs 40% of any substantial inheritance. What the fuck are you smoking?

Re:Something is wrong (2)

ta_gueule (2795275) | about a year ago | (#43749869)

With all respect, this is not a cap. Let's do some maths here.
If your stockpile of dollars increase by 5% a year, which is very conservative when you have billions of dollars, even when inflation is considered. Let's say a generation lasts 20 years. After 20 years, your extremely rich has 265% of the money he inherited, minus what they spent, which is negligible for the extremely rich. You tax it 40%. The next generation will be left with 160% of the money left by the grand father. This is very conservative. Anyway, the family (or should we call it a dynasty?) will still multiply its wealth forever, faster and faster.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43749873)

If your definition of "any substantial inheritance" is $1,000,000+, sure, Mr. Ten Thousand Dollars Doesn't Mean Anything To Me.

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750351)

You are proposing an odd 'cap' on inheritance when you don't let it cover funeral costs...

Re:Something is wrong (5, Interesting)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#43750039)

Put this into perspective. In 1970 a man earning $35,000 a year could afford to own a home, a car, and afford to have his wife stay at home to raise the kids. If the wife worked too then they probably had a second summer cabin somewhere.

in 2010 a man earning $35,000 is barely living above the poverty line.(depending on location) you can't support a wife to raise the kids, let alone anything else.

The average worker in the USA in 1970 earned $19.20
In 2010 the average worker earned $19.70

In 1970 the average CEO earned $500,000
in 2010 the average CEO earned $5,000,000

Now tell me what is wrong with that picture? Circuit city is my favorite example. in 2008 after a year of bad sales the CEO of circuit city came up with a plan to save $10 million over 3 years. He fired the top 3,000 highest paid non mangers and rehired new people in their place earning minimum wage. Wall street was happy, and he and the board paid themselves $5 million in bonuses immediately.

With in a year Circuit city was gone completely. why? because he fired the top 3000 sales people. He could have saved $10 million dollars immediately that year by cutting his and the rest of the executive boards salaries. They weren't doing anything anyways.

executive and upper level bonuses have gone out of control. Goldman Sachs had to borrow money from he US Government so it could pay bonuses. I always thought that if the company did poorly bonuses were to be cut first not last, but for the rich they payout bonuses and then close the company down.

Re:Something is wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750513)

I'm sorry, but while reading you post, I read the following things:

Put this into perspective. In 1970 a man earning $35,000 a year could afford to own a home, a car, and afford to have his wife stay at home to raise the kids. If the wife worked too then they probably had a second summer cabin somewhere.

in 2010 a man earning $35,000 is barely living above the poverty line.(depending on location) you can't support a wife to raise the kids, let alone anything else.

"I don't understand simple things like inflation!"
A nickel used to buy my grandmother a gallon of milk AND a loaf of bread. Please see http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl [bls.gov] . $35K in 2013 dollars is the equivalent of $5,840.08 in 1970 dollars. Also note that an individual making $35K in 1970 is the equivalent of $210K in 2013. Your entire point is invalid, as it is based in a world without inflation.

The average worker in the USA in 1970 earned $19.20
In 2010 the average worker earned $19.70

In 1970 the average CEO earned $500,000
in 2010 the average CEO earned $5,000,000

"I don't understand how to compare salaries against wages, or how to back up my data".
I am not able to find a source for these figures. If the average worker made $19.20/hour in 1970, this is worth $115.07/hour in 2013 dollar. You contend that, in todays' terms, the average person made $239,350/year worth of buying power in 1970. This claim is... dubious. Your point does not have validity because you did not back up your figures, and the reader is not able to reproduce your data. Your point also does not have validity because you did not express why this is bad, wrong, or detrimental.

Now tell me what is wrong with that picture? Circuit city is my favorite example. in 2008 after a year of bad sales the CEO of circuit city came up with a plan to save $10 million over 3 years. He fired the top 3,000 highest paid non mangers and rehired new people in their place earning minimum wage. Wall street was happy, and he and the board paid themselves $5 million in bonuses immediately.

With in a year Circuit city was gone completely. why? because he fired the top 3000 sales people. He could have saved $10 million dollars immediately that year by cutting his and the rest of the executive boards salaries. They weren't doing anything anyways.

"I don't understand how businesses work!"
Please note that the CEO of Circuit City (or any corporation, typically) has vested interest. This is so that they don't get rewarded for destroying the company. You point out a person who ran a business, made mistakes running this business, and destroyed it. Please note that Circuit City went out of business, and no longer has a CEO position (he's fired!). Please note that the CEO in question is James Marcum, who now makes $50K/year, according to Forbes (http://www.forbes.com/profile/james-marcum/). Your point of a single technology company which bankrupted itself is not supportive evidence of the point that "CEOs make too much money!". It is especially invalid when your example CEO now makes 10% higher than the national average salary (http://www.ssa.gov/oact/cola/AWI.html).

Executive and upper level bonuses have gone out of control.

"I make arguments without justification or evidence!"

Goldman Sachs had to borrow money from he US Government so it could pay bonuses. I always thought that if the company did poorly bonuses were to be cut first not last, but for the rich they payout bonuses and then close the company down.

"I don't understand how loans work!"
The way that "borrowing money so that they can pay bonuses" works is that they have to pay it back. Please note that they did!. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/economy/2009-04-14-tarp-repay-bank-bailout_N.htm?csp=34 [usatoday.com]

I agree with your point that the middle class is shrinking, and that economic wealth in America is primarily being transferred to the rich, and to other countries. However, you make it in such a poor way that you actually make the opposite point. Please refrain from future arguments on the internet.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year ago | (#43749571)

Just to let you know you're not the only one, I absolutely agree with you and anyone I've ever spoken to about this also agrees (parents, partner, friends, colleagues). The accumulation of wealth ought to be limited, nobody with a discrete income of over a million dollars a year can honestly say he needs more money. The ironic thing is that classic economic theory supports this view as well by presuming the Principle of Diminishing Marginal Utility - which in case of money has been confirmed well empirically.

However, just forget about making such heretical remarks on /. You'll be modded flamebait or troll and can expect an extreme amount of irrational hate. (I don't know why, perhaps the majority of people on /. are super-rich? Then there are also some US Americans who think that every political position they don't know and don't agree with must be socialism or communism without having the slightest clue what they talk about.)

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749607)

I absolutely agree with you and anyone I've ever spoken to about this also agrees (parents, partner, friends, colleagues). ...

  who think that every political position they don't know and don't agree with must be socialism or communism without having the slightest clue what they talk about.)

Ah the irony of someone who admits living in a secluded echo chamber mocking people without a broad political perspective. You go to Eastern Europe or the former Sov Bloc countries and preach it there, brother, they won't be long telling you what they think.

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749909)

Contrary to what you appear to believe I know plenty of people from the former Soviet Bloc very well, including e.g. my girlfriend and many former colleagues. You really have no clue what you're talking about.

Re:Something is wrong (3, Insightful)

chrismcb (983081) | about a year ago | (#43749625)

Why is there something wrong with the system when one person does better than everyone else?

Re:Something is wrong (2)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749657)

It's when that better then everyone else is by an arbitrarily decided amount. Mostly due to politics, economic trends, luck, and fiat currency over other factors. Such as actual contribution to the "tribal" group. National group. Persons colloquial fellows who helped that one individual get there.

If it were not for us all contributing to the society we have now. There would be no pile to be on top of.

Bill Gates by that logic owes his countrymen a great deal.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749671)

Specifically his achievements were in owning and selling the right things at the right times. Not even actively inventing them. You can maybe attribute some minor refinements to preexisting ideas to him.

Re:Something is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749795)

The point of such wealth, is that the people who get it aren't after the wealth by-and-large. They're empire builders. Its just that along with an empire comes a boatload of money.

I think he deserves is. He was at the right place at the right time with the right idea, had the ability to execute and now that he has the wealth, he is putting it to good use. In addition its not like he has that in cash. Its in a mix of holdings the majority of which are securities - therefore its a perceived value of another company that is defining his wealth. In other words, if you had a piece of worthless land and suddenly they found unobtainium on it, your reasoning would force you to give up that land because its value has suddenly skyrocketed.

Give it up, you just sound jealous.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43749877)

Bah I don't like the idea of "land ownership per see" because that is very draconian way of looking at things.... You might as well go back to feudalism. Clearly land ownership is not the most ideal solution. It's just what were using right now. It changes as sovereignty changes.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43750111)

Also what happens when there are no more empires to build? Or empire building is not sustainable for the greater good?

If the very rich and powerful were investing madly in Aerospace to the point the common man was getting a chance at the stars and we were seeing the whole Dune golden path thing play out that would be fine.

But I think we might have stalled out somewhere after Apollo. Which was mostly funded by everyone and not just a few people. However I might be able to believe some very rich intellectuals greatly influenced it, possibly in a good direction.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

iZC (1063372) | about a year ago | (#43750509)

you cannot make the weak strong by making the strong weak.

Re:Something is wrong (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about a year ago | (#43750511)

Something is wrong indeed.... with your reasoning. There is no "system." Indded - the lack thereof defines capitalism.

The Rothchilds never make the list (4, Interesting)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about a year ago | (#43749323)

Even still he'll never be as rich as the Rothchilds... who for some reason never grace the inside of Forbes top #100 rich people
  (maybe because they own the magazine and don't want to draw attention to themselves...., just a guess)

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749431)

Is any one Rothchild's fortune >= Bill Gates'?

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (3, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year ago | (#43749523)

Probably not, they have dynastic wealth, rather than individual wealth. Individually they're still wealthy, but not on the scale as individuals like Bill Gates.

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43749719)

If you're going to do that, why not allow religions into the list, or corporations?

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749745)

Interesting. How about other quasi-non-individual corporations.

What I'm getting from all this discussion is that after a certain point money is less relevant then association.

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43749757)

Precisely. I'm not sure that having $100 Bn tied up in one person is really all that different than having it tied up in some other monolithic entity which can be expected to direct all its resources in the same direction.

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749775)

less thAn, if thEn

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year ago | (#43749785)

I suspect there's already a list for companies, it's almost certainly dominated by banks and other financial institutions (HSBC has over $100 Trillion in assets, for example). The Vatican Bank is probably near the top of the list, if you figure out how much money it actually controls (it's a private institution, so its records aren't public).

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750019)

If the Vatican literally has a Bank, something must be figuratively wrong in the state of Denmark.

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749693)

They are not on there as it is about individuals not combined wealth of families. Though I suspect even if it was about families they would be reluctant to include themselves.

Re:The Rothchilds never make the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750251)

This was from Bloomberg which makes their own list. Are you saying there is some massive conspiracy to not list them anywhere? I like how ridiculous stuff like this gets modded up.

first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749329)

first!

Re:first (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43749429)

Something is wrong with either your cardinals or with your ordinals.

yeah! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749337)

I'm glad to see Gates back on top. As a philanthropist he rocks.

Re:yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749461)

I have to agree. I can't for the life of me understand why people are so against what Bill Gates did, has done and will do. I would have done exactly the same at the time.

Re:yeah! (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43749905)

I have to agree. I can't for the life of me understand why people are so against what Bill Gates did, has done and will do. I would have done exactly the same at the time.

Bill?

C'mon, Slashdot (1, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#43749339)

"News for nerds, stuff that matters". Is this news ? Does this stuff matter ? Just askin'....

Re:C'mon, Slashdot (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#43749389)

This is rather interesting I'd say: considering that BG has vowed to give away 95% of his wealth to charities, and already does give away a shitload of money every year, I find it interesting that his net worth should increase rather than decrease.

Me, when I give money to a charity, I find myself poorer afterward. Not him. That seems like a nerdy enough phenomenon to be worth mentioning.

Re:C'mon, Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749391)

The Gatesmeister regains top spot and you're surprised it's featured on /.? Think of all the useless pieces that have appeared here over the years, this is prime fodder in comparison.

#1 wealthiest vacillates between OS and cell phone kings, this really is the 21st century.

Re:C'mon, Slashdot (1)

Kawahee (901497) | about a year ago | (#43749441)

"News for nerds, stuff that matters". Is this news ? Does this stuff matter ? Just askin'....

Where are these words from? Last time I checked, Slashdot described itself as Slashdot is a Dice Holdings, Inc. service.

Re:C'mon, Slashdot (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year ago | (#43749535)

They dropped that epithet ages ago.

Re:C'mon, Slashdot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750027)

Not entirely - from the source code of the front page:

<title>Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters</title>

Its hard to notice since the javascript changes it fairly quickly, but it is still there.

Re:C'mon, Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750523)

How come this exact reply is left for every goddamn article on this site? Seriously, every damn day it's someone else going HERR DERR DIS DOESN'T MATTER TO MEEEEEE

Re:C'mon, Slashdot (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43750547)

Given that the news stories are picked by either the Slashdot editors directly or the Slashdot readership by the Firehose, it's safe to assume that some proportion of nerds consider this news and/or something that matters.

Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749409)

What a surprise. Once a con man, always a con man.

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about a year ago | (#43749579)

Combined, he and his wife have given away nearly $30bn to charity, how in the hell is that not working? They've also stated that they intend to donate at least 95% of their wealth by the time they die.

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749619)

This guy is rich enough to simultaneously create and cure HIV with the advanced technology he so has his hand in the most elegant hackers back door of. Are you seriously naive enough to trust him because 1/3rd of his supposed "extra wealth" above and beyond anything necessary to live above the means of most people has gone to charities...

Your delusional =)

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43749731)

You're hopelessly naive about how much a cure for HIV is going to cost to develop. The resources involved in performing medical research make Gates' entire business empire seem like a child setting up a lemonade stand.

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749789)

I still find it faulty to trust one man based on solely two facets of his public life. One of which is necessary but demonstrably evil in excess which is what it is, in excess.

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43749803)

What exactly is it that you don't trust him about? That he'll actually donate that amount, or that he won't blow it all on some ridiculous supervillain scheme to steal the moon?

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749929)

I trust no one by default. Your argument is that I should trust him more because of something I considered flawed logic. You have to earn my trust.

I value something other then $$ for that trust.

I do not look to him as a role model. I will never point and say he is a great guy. That would be like me pointing at a random person on the street and saying, hey what a great guy this guy is. May be true. He might also be into all sorts of things I disagree with.

I disagree in general with the politics and economics which has allowed him to amass his wealth. That creates further distrust.

So exactly: I do not trust people just because they are wealthy and pay for good will. What is not to like?

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#43750495)

You still don't explain what kind of trust you're talking about though. I trust my chair to support my weight, but I don't trust it to pay my rent. It's not even a sensible question in that context.

So, what sort of trust are we talking about here?

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749649)

You fail at reading comprehension. (They laid the trap and you walked right into it...)

What it says is Billy G has given 30B to the Billy G foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gates_foundation#Criticism [wikipedia.org]

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (1)

neverwhere9 (2597405) | about a year ago | (#43749787)

...Which is a charity, despite what you believe. It's done far less harm than most aid charities, and has done quite a bit of good. And some of those criticisms, specifically those under "Education," are fairly subjective. Personally, as far as HIV/AIDs goes, I'd be more likely to donate to Elton John's foundation, which gives money to local projects that need it. It seems more "grassroots." But it isn't like shit isn't getting done at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749809)

And some of those criticisms, specifically those under "Education," are fairly subjective.

It's well-known that standardized testing is absolute garbage when it comes to determining whether or not students actually understand the material.

Of course, public education in the US was awful even before NCLB.

Re:Sounds like his "philantrophy" isn't working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749823)

"Which is a charity"

Yeah you're talking in legal terms. And you're correct. We are not talking in legal terms though :)

Bill Gates Regains the Position of World's Richest (0)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43749451)

I was worried...

He gave away $28 billion (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#43749735)

and he STILL has enough to be the richest?

Maybe he should give away some more.

Re:He gave away $28 billion (3, Interesting)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43749983)

and he STILL has enough to be the richest?

Maybe he should give away some more.

I think him and Warren Buffet are doing it more slowly. Non profits are required to spend a certain part of their endowment yearly - by holding on to it and investing it and donating a trickle (a billion dollar trickle... he made several billion in one year just from having money) which could last indefinitely. I think they pledged to give much more upon their death.

I wonder why they don't set up some kind of non-profit investment group where all proceeds yearly would then fund a charity. One big donation could do $70 billion of good once, or $3-7 billion dollars of good yearly, forever..

Your Microsoft Tax dollars at work... (2)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43749747)

Well, he gets a lot of stick here for the "evil empire" he created, but let's not forget he started out as a programmer.

He gamed the system for all it was worth, in a very smart manner, and pretty much stuck to the letter of the law, if not the spirit.
Along the way, DOS & Windows, with Intel, became the foundation of the "open" PC marketplace that radically transformed the computing marketplace.

So, kudos to him, especially if he dumps a few more $Bn into his foundation.
(I mean, $76Bn, do you really need that much money?)

Re:Your Microsoft Tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749811)

That you give kudos to him, for shovelling money between his businesses, means that the trick is working.
There are actually sheeple on this earth who are SO FUCKING STUPID, that they believe that this
degenerate human, who has accumulated an insane amount of resources for him, is an actual philanthropist.

Oh yeah... I forgot, when he dies he won't leave much to his children and the rest will go to his
"philanthropic" foundations. WHY OH WHY ARE PEOPLE SO FUCKING STUPID? Always ants. Always slaves. :(

Re:Your Microsoft Tax dollars at work... (2)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about a year ago | (#43750045)

(I mean, $76Bn, do you really need that much money?)

I would buy a bunch of 747s and run them between major international airports around the world - with no one on them. It would be an kinetic art project about unsustainability.

Note: Mr. Gates is worth about 2.1 times more than the endowment of the school he dropped out of (Harvard).

Re:Your Microsoft Tax dollars at work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43750543)

You'd need every cent if you're going to build a moon base.

bill gates windows system (-1, Troll)

okmarket (2925653) | about a year ago | (#43749749)

i like bill gates who increative windowns system, all our website okmarket.com use windows 8 system for test customer result.so the windows 8 is mainly trend.

Philanthropist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749755)

"He has donated $28 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation"

LOL... so basically he withdrew it from its left pocket and deposited it
in his right pocket.

Just sayin' (1)

FORTRANslinger (950850) | about a year ago | (#43749817)

$640K ought to be enough for anybody. /* Sent from my iPhone */

Re:Just sayin' (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43750593)

Don't you mean:

C     SENT FROM MY IPHONE

??

"Anonymous" money? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#43749959)

Given the fact that microsecond trading data centres are mostly anonymous (you will have a hard time finding out who they belong to, who is doing such trading and those firms want to keep it that way), this must be a tip of a snowflake, not even a minor iceberg. While this is an insane amount of money, the real richest people probably own a Godzillion more, but have "structured it away" to keep it secret.

Wasn't he supposed to give it away? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43749973)

I distinctly recall him claiming he was going to give his fortune away. It seems he's not doing a very good job of it...

Hello, Editors (1)

Raenex (947668) | about a year ago | (#43750325)

What comes to Bill Gates, most of his fortune is held in Cascade Investment LLC

That should read, "When it comes to Bill Gates..."

He trashed good code for his ladder to the top (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year ago | (#43750505)

I really wish I'd pirated a copy of MacBasic instead of buying Microsoft's lame BASIC for Macintosh ( http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=MacBasic.txt [folklore.org] ).

Every time I pick up my Fujitsu Stylistic ST-4121 running Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, I wish it were running Go Corp.'s PenPoint ( http://www.amazon.com/Startup-Silicon-Adventure-Jerry-Kaplan/dp/0140257314 [amazon.com] http://www.amazon.com/ThinkPad-Different-J-Gerry-Purdy/dp/0672317567/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1368791379&sr=1-1&keywords=thinkpad [amazon.com] )

It kills me that I can't buy Creaturehouse Expression for a new version of Mac OS X ( http://www.creativemac.com/article/Microsoft-Buys-Creature-House-Assets-21443 [creativemac.com] )

Or that I can't upgrade my copy of Altamira Composer or that the plug got pulled on Altsys Virtuoso for Windows NT.

&c.

Not Giving Enough Away (1)

sudon't (580652) | about a year ago | (#43750567)

Clearly he's not giving enough of his money away.

77 billion is a lot of money, but... (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#43750579)

Adjusted for inflation, or seen as a percentage of GDP, or as a multiple of median income of the country etc, Bill Gates fortune is dwarfed by the rich men of early 1900s. I think Andrew Carnegie, when he sold USSteel for some 450 million dollars in 190X, he got 2% of the GDP of the country or something. John D Rockefeller became richer, but the country also grew faster than his personal fortune and he did not top that percentage, if my memory serves me right.

There is nothing wrong with any one person amassing that level of wealth, and it might even serve as a motivation for lots of people. But the society has to be on guard. But SCOTUS has ruled money is speech and rich people can out shout poor people, that would be damaging to free exchange of ideas. Even if the top rich men did not care, they have many hangers on, suck ups and brown nosers. They might get the confidence of these rich people, do enormous collateral damage to the society in their quest to peel of a measly million or two from these billionaires.

Many of our academic institutions are actually running on very little money comparatively, newspapers and other such institutions are struggling. So some rich dude dropping a million dollars a year could corrupt and poison such foundations of democracy easily, sometimes without even meaning to.

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