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Bill Gates Calls for a 'Kinder Capitalism'

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the kindness-starts-at-home dept.

Microsoft 601

Strudelkugel writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates is going to call for a revision of capitalism. He will argue that the economics that drive much of the world should use market forces to address the needs of poor countries, which he feels are currently being ignored. 'We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well,' Mr. Gates will say in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 'Key to Mr. Gates's plan will be for businesses to dedicate their top people to poor issues — an approach he feels is more powerful than traditional corporate donations and volunteer work. Governments should set policies and disburse funds to create financial incentives for businesses to improve the lives of the poor, he plans to say. Mr. Gates's argument for the potential profitability of serving the poor is certain to raise skepticism, and some people may point out that poverty became a priority for Mr. Gates only after he'd earned billions building up Microsoft. But Mr. Gates is emphatic that he's not calling for a fundamental change in how capitalism works.'"

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Commies (-1, Troll)

aedan (196243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166338)

Sounds like Billy has turned into one of those darn commies.

Great News... (4, Insightful)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166344)

Is Microsoft going to stop looking for new ways to be anticompetitive [] , now?

Re:Great News... (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166432)

I guess it is just one way of being anticompetitive (I don't remember Microsoft being the champion of free markets or competiton in the past so it's not really big step)
Or perhaps Mr. Gates has just realized that he actually has enough money?

Re:Great News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166480)

Is that why they sell versions of windows at same rate as in developed countries ? In most 3rd world countries a version of Windows XP prof cost more than Average monthly income of a citizen and it costs pennys to duplicate the OS and sell . Long live Open source ideology .

Re:Great News... (3, Interesting)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166868)

Yeah, because Bill Gates and Microsoft are ONE, like the borg...

People tend to group things illogically. Separate the two, because in reality they are separate.

Re:Great News... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166898)

You know, sometimes things go beyond petty bullshit fanboyism, especially over FUCKING SOFTWARE...

socialist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166352)


Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (3, Interesting)

monxrtr (1105563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166354)

That would do more than anything to eliminate world poverty as everyone in the world has equal access to the world's wealth of information from pharmaceutical recipes to operating systems.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166516)

That'd work great until the next infection comes and wipes us all out, since all of our big pharma companies stopped developing drugs.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (2, Insightful)

hitmark (640295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166710)

err, they already have. or at least for the most likely epidemic sources.

these days its the smaller gene- or bio-labs that come up with new ways to kill the most common threat to out bodies, not big pharma.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166880)

these days its the smaller gene- or bio-labs that come up with new ways to kill the most common threat to out bodies, not big pharma.
But that's the way the system works. Those little labs, and everyone involved with them, are hoping to strike gold and be snatched up by big pharma. They wouldn't get any capital if that weren't the case.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (2, Insightful)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166944)

Even if that were true (and I doubt that it is), doesn't it bother you that the motivation of the people developing drugs is only to make themselves rich? I'd rather have a researcher at a non-profit or a university developing my drugs. That way, the only concern she has is my health, not meeting the bottom line of a corporate ledger book. If Enron, Worldcom, et al. have taught us anything, it's that corporations will do anything in the name of their bottom line. I'm not saying that the public sector is without corruption or things that are done wrong, but there is less of a motivation to cut corners when the only benchmark of your success is accomplishing your goal.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (2, Informative)

crmarvin42 (652893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166992)

these days its the smaller gene- or bio-labs that come up with new ways to kill the most common threat to out bodies, not big pharma.
This is an incredibly ignorant statement. Smaller labs may make interesting discoveries, but how do they get those discoveries to market considering the cost of FDA approval. Smaller labs may on occasion make breakthroughs, but they usually end up either selling the idea/technology to big pharma or end up getting bought up themselves so that it can be further developed. No small independent lab can afford to perform the various levels of animal and human testing required for approval without already having a product that is bringing in money. This is where Big Pharma comes in. They have a portfolio of products actively bringing in revenue that can be used to pay the R&D bills. Now, I'm not saying that Big Pharma doesn't gouge american consumers because of the way our health care industry is set up, but that doesn't mean they aren't necessary. It's the fact that they are absolutely required that they are able to demand we all bend over and take it like a man.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166724)

Some of use will naturally be resistant. It's how evolution works. Sure, a lot of people will die, but some will survive and humanity running. (Note that I did not say "civilisation")

The pharmaceutical companies simply cannot protect us from a pandemic. You never know when and what agent will become active and start to kill humans.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166988)

It's hard to argue that modern medicine (including pharmaceuticals) does not improve our lives drastically. Maybe penicillin wasn't developed by big pharma, but the alternatives that actually still work sure have been. Maybe you don't consider AIDS to be an epidemic, but someone in Africa might disagree. Wanna bet the AIDS cure/vaccine comes from big pharma? Most of the existing treatments do. How about malaria? Guanine stopped being effective a long time ago, and current treatments are becoming less effective.

Maybe you are content to just let a pandemic sweep over us, but I'd like a fighting chance - or at least go down fighting.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (2, Interesting)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166818)

What type of infection would that be?

The only types of infections that could wipe us all out aren't likely to be treatable with the sort of drugs that big pharma is interested in patenting - the anti-obesity, anti-cancer, antidepressant and other sorts of anti-whatever-social-disorder-is-trendy drugs.

It's likely to be a viral infection of the influenza type, for which the technology to create an effective vaccine already exists, and for which no lengthy clinical trials are needed.

There will always be a market for such vaccines with or without patents, so your FUD is badly aimed in this case.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (1)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166878)

Why should private companies be developing drugs any way? Have the government either subsidize or control that industry. Make health for the public good, not to line private coffers.

Re:Eliminate Copyrights and Patents (0)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166568)

Yeah that would really work, I can just see all those people working for free and governments spending billions on research which they can then put out on the net for other governments to copy without spending a penny! I would like to subscribe to your mailing list.

Cue the libertarians.... now! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166368)

The commentary on this article is going to be a non-stop Ron Paul campaign. Sheesh.


Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166398)


Bwaa? (2, Insightful)

Liberaltarian (1030752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166392)

The imposition of markets is at the very root of so many of the ills facing impoverished countries. I can't help but see the same tortured reasoning that I see in Homer Simpson's classic explanation that beer is "the cause of -- and solution to -- all of life's problems."

Re:Bwaa? (4, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166554)

Well, one of the first things to do here is to stop aid or at least make sure that only structural aid comes through. Any non-structural aid like "free food, free clothing, etc" should be stopped.

Classic examples are food aid which has all but killed the local farm industry in many African countries along with dumping unused clothing and shoes which has done the same to the local textile and shoe industries. We drive a local tradesman onto the street and make him forever dependant on foreign aid every time one of us gives a piece of clothing to one of those "collectors" which leave a leaflet and a bag every week.

While at it, Billy the Robber is as guilty of killing indiginous industries as anyone. He has made everything in his power to kill local competition everywhere he stepped. We live in a world where there is one or two indiginous word processing products left as final hold-outs in the losing battle against MSOffice. Navision has been doing the same to indiginous accounting packages and so on.

Bollocks (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166604)

The imposition of markets is at the very root of so many of the ills facing impoverished countries
Bugger all to do with markets.


Re:Bollocks (3, Insightful)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166984)

No - it has a lot to do with markets, just not in the way that the idealistic GP thinks.

It has lots to do with, for instance, perversion of the markets by the protectionists of the developed world who subsidise their agrobusiness interests and thus artificially depress the market price for the very cash crops that would allow third world economies to sustain themselves.

It has a lot to do with the ultimate market Big Lie that is GATT - structured to allow parasitical 'service' companies from the developed nations profit from the loans given to developing nations by their friends in the World Bank and IMF.

It has a lot to do with Invisible Property laws and treaties that restrict the ability of developing countries to use knowledge for their own benefit without paying over the odds to some shyster patent troll or well padded pharmaceutical executive.

A free market system would benefit the developing world hugely - but there are too many vested interests in the developed world that would suffer in such a market, so it isn't likely to happen.

So is that... (4, Funny)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166426)

"Kinder" as "nicer" or "kinder" as in "garten"?

In other news... (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166440)

Ron Jeremy calls for porn with less spooge.

I'd settle for... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166444)

a kinder version of Microsoft Office!

Re:I'd settle for... (2, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166606)

I'd settle for...a kinder version of Microsoft Office!

Tried it, name was Clippy, now residing in the Dumb Idea Retirement Home with Jar Jar Binks.

so bill (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166448)

wheres my million bucks? i'm poor.

what? go fuck myself?

that's what i thought.

community response (2, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166452)

To Mr. Gates:
Helping poor people sounds like a great idea. There are lots of "poor" (compared to you) people that need help... me for example. Could you shoot me five or six, maybe seven million bucks? Thanks bro!

Reality Translation (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166456)

"We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people let us continue to rip off poorer people,' Mr. Gates will say in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 'Key to Mr. Gates's plan will be for businesses to dedicate their top people to locking in the poor an approach he feels is more powerful when tied into traditional corporate donations and volunteer work. Governments should set policies and disburse funds to create financial incentives so that businesses can profit when they "improve" the lives of the poor, rather than giving money to the poor, he plans to say "The poor would just waste it on non-essentials like food and medicine.". Mr. Gates's argument for the potential profitability of serving the poor via government pork-barrelling and corporate tie-ins is certain to raise skepticism, and some people may point out that tapping the poverty-ridden became a priority for Mr. Gates only after he'd earned billions building up Microsoft. But Mr. Gates is emphatic that he's not calling for a fundamental change in how capitalism works - as long as he continues to get his.'"

Intent--Alternate reality translation (3, Insightful)

duggi (1114563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166704)

Fundamentally, there is no difference between what Grameen bank does in Bangladesh and what the sup prime mortgage industry in US does, sell to poor. The key difference is that of intent, Grameen is genuinely interested in helping the poor, but the moneylenders in US are trying to make money. Note that Grameen is not in for charity, but not in for money either. I guess this is what Bill Gates was referring to, when he said "Kinder Capitalism".
I don't think we should discriminate based on who said it, but what was being said. All of us can see the irony here, but how many of us are willing to see the point? I guess this is a good turn of events, A rich businessman focusing on (helping) the poor. This is like a strong statement of intent, and I sincerely hope to see some form of action plan from Microsoft towards it( well, I know this is not gonna happen , but still...). Somebody, please take the lead.

Really Bill? (3, Insightful)

folstaff (853243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166458)

This is guilt and arrogance. "I have so much, I am so smart, let me device a plan to improve capitalism."

Note to Bill, its been tried at least twice in the past 100 years and they were called communism and socialism. The only change for the poor in those systems is there is more of them.

To paraphrase Churchill: "It has been said that capitalism is the worst form of economy except all the others that have been tried."

Re:Really Bill? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166610)

To quote your hero, now on the subject of gassing Arab villages in Iraq
I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes ... [to] ...
spread a lively terror

Nice hero.

Re:Really Bill? (1)

Magada (741361) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166928)

Must be something about those Kurdish womean&children that positively screams out "gas me! gas me!" (it was a kurdish uprising that he was talking about; later on, Saddam did exactly what Churchill's minions hadn't).

Re:Really Bill? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166628)

Captialism is like mutt (the mail user agent) -- all economies suck, capitalism just sucks less.

Re:Really Bill? (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166640)

To paraphrase Churchill: "It has been said that capitalism is the worst form of economy except all the others that have been tried."
Sad but true. Unfortunately there will always be a substantial lower class. It's just how things work. You can't have a high without a low. Capitalism is not perfect, just like nothing is, but it works better than anything else we can come up with.

Re:Really Bill? (1)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166846)

1)Why do we need a higher class?

2)If yes, how extreme do the differences need to be between the classes?

These are serious questions. Your assertion that we have to have a high, and so the low must exist bothers me.

Re:Really Bill? (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166952)

Statistically speaking the low is always in flux. The idea that the poor get poorer or even stay poor is not based in fact, rather is one of those things that gets said a lot so people accept it. In the U.S. at least, those who were poor 20 years ago are not any longer. Yes, there are exceptions, but statistically speaking the vast majority move up and this happens year by year. Think of the "classes" in the U.S. more like an escalator than a series of tiers with no ladders or even limited ladders.

Re:Really Bill? (2, Informative)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166904)

Remember that socialism works quite well in Sweden (that pirate country everybody is talking about).
And communism has never been implemented (soviet union had socialism). I have heard of a tribe or something in Israel that works that way, but I don't have my facts with me.

Oh, well if someone's already tried to fix things (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166994)

Then clearly there's no reason to ever, ever, ever attempt to try again.

Was communism a successful economic model, at least in terms of it's implementation in the Soviet Union or China? Certainly not. Was it an attempt at addressing some very serious problems with economic disparity and problems in the previous economic systems? To some degree, yes. Do serious flaws exist in the way the world economy distributes wealth and resources around the world? Unless you're utterly blinded by doctrinaire views of capitalism, absolutely.

World Bank Loan Sharks (4, Informative)

ThoreauHD (213527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166460)

The World Bank and IMF loan these countries money, which is then paid out to contractors specified by the WTO. These contractors then give a piece to local officials and do nothing. Where you now have a 3rd world country with a 4 Billion dollar loan at 30% with nothing to show for it. Which means that they borrow another 4 Billion to actually do the work they paid for the first time, and the cycle continues. Unless Bill Gates controls the world bank, he's going to have to find another hobby. You can't save the poor on this planet. The rich own them.

Hold on a minute.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166466)

Didn't Bill make his fortune by being opportunistic and ruthless in business?
Hardly the sort of person I would have thought as credible when it comes to argue for something like this

Re:Hold on a minute.. (2, Funny)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166740)

Didn't Bill make his fortune by being opportunistic and ruthless in business?

Yeah, it's kinda like Hitler calling for a kinder, gentler genocide. Ok, well not exactly, but this story was ripe to be Godwined.

OK Bill (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166468)

Thats funny. I remember how Gates screwed over everyone he could when he was in charge of Microsoft. Can anyone imagine Steve Ballmer giving a shit about helping poor people? Microsoft don't even care about individual customers if they're not a corporate entity.

Re:OK Bill (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166734)

MS doesn't "care about the individual customer..", and that is because an individual user customer is NOT MS's customer.

It is Dell, HP, Fujitsu & Sony who are MS's primary customers.

Re:OK Bill (1)

genner (694963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166744)

Thats not true.
Gates doesn't realy care about corporate customers either.

Idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166474)

Easy for him to say.

Sooo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166478)

Why doesn't he just finance it himself?

He's got the money for it.

Hey, Bill! Put up or shut up!

OK so I'll be flamed for saying this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166526)

There is a distinction between how Microsoft behaves and the kind of capitalism Gates is criticising.

Nobody in the tech sector ever starved to death or died of disease through lack of access to medicine because of what Microsoft did.

It annoyed me when Gates got his honourary knighthood for services to industry and not for philanthropy, because, like it or not, the guy has an impact on extreme poverty.

The one specific area we should be criticising is the use of financial aid as a way to avoid monopoly prosecution, but even then, it's a bit of a stretch to connect that to the kind of unkind capitalism he's referring to.

(this Anonymous Coward is a long term mac user, and thus indirectly benefited from Microsoft's use of financial aid to avoid monopoly prosecution)

Next up... (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166528)

Jack Thompson calls for a 'Less Confrontational Litigation'.

Re:Next up... (1)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166900)

Jack Bauer calls for a 'Less Painful Torture'.

It sounds like Gates is reading Yukos (4, Interesting)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166530)

Mohammed Yukos has been evangelizing a number of ideas about entrepreneurial businesses whose primary motive is helping their communities, and who only make enough "profit" to build their businesses and help more people. If this means that Gates is buying into those ideas, with Gates's resources, and the commitment to philanthropy he's always shown (outside his day job as the Satanic Overlord of the information economy, obviously), this might lead to good things.

Doesn't mean I'll be buying a copy of Windows any time soon, of course; and I'd still like to see the DOJ actually investigate some of Microsoft's shenanigans, but give the man credit where it's due.

Re:It sounds like Gates is reading Yukos (1)

glgraca (105308) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166990)

Don't you mean Yunus? Anyway, I don't think this is a failure of capitalism, but rather a failure of people to understand capitalism. In my country, Brazil, capitalism is equated with large sums of money, enormous corporations, flashy cars, etc. I simply cannot fathom why we don't have cheap vehicles such as the ones you see in India (Bajaj and such). Government economic policies are always related to some big multinational; you never see a concerted effort to improve the environment for small businesses. This is simply myopic. A person who sells tomatoes at the market is as much a capitalist as the stock market broker.

Jacob Marley (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166532)

Bill may be saying something useful here. I'll leave that commentary to others.

But Bill clearly feels breath on his neck. He's trying to change history -- his. I bristle when I read about this petty, win at all costs no matter what it does to others fellow being described as a philanthropist.

I'm sure he doesn't have an agenda to make the world more profitable for Microsoft, anymore. Just 20 years ago, when he was already absurdly rich, absolutely any large sum he gave to any charity would have been ALL about making more money. But he still has an agenda, and I suspect that any time he spends thinking about others is still primarily about profiting his self, just now in an intangible way: He's greasing-up his camel, because he plans to cram it through the eye of a needle.

Re:Jacob Marley (1)

cyberworm (710231) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166686)

I feel pretty much the same way you do. My first thought when reading this was "this coming from the guy who re-invents every new thing to come out..."
It's hard to believe he thinks about anything unless it will directly benefit him in some way.

Re:Jacob Marley (1)

Dramacrat (1052126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166912)

Get off it, EVERYTHING, every action, is motivated by self-interest-- even helping family or friends or strangers in need is motivated by self-interest, that warm fuzzy feeling you get being the pay-off.

Shortcomings of capitalism? (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166534)

Mr. Gates said that he has grown impatient with the shortcomings of capitalism. He said he has seen those failings first-hand on trips for Microsoft to places like the South African slum of Soweto, and discussed them with dozens of experts on disease and poverty.

The reason that capitalism hasn't worked as well in places like this is because they were F'd over for so long by imperial states. And their own warring states. So what's really needed is a dramatic cut in militarism/statism.

In particular, he said, he's troubled that advances in technology, health care and education tend to help the rich and bypass the poor. "The rate of improvement for the third that is better off is pretty rapid," he said. "The part that's unsatisfactory is for the bottom third -- two billion of six billion."

It's unfortunate that he's overlooked how much better off the poor are under capitalism and voluntary trade than any other system.

Revise *this*, Mr. Gates. (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166762)

The reason that capitalism hasn't worked as well in places like this is because they were F'd over for so long by imperial states. And their own warring states. So what's really needed is a dramatic cut in militarism/statism.

Damned right. If Bill Gates really gives a shit about the poor, he should be using his own money, not telling everybody else what to do or how to do it. And if he is serious about revising "capitalism", then he should first work on getting some capitalism in place. What we've got now isn't capitalism. It's just welfare/warfare statism that allows just enough private enterprise to keep the tax base from collapsing.

If you want to help the poor, get rid of the priests and the politicians. The politicians keep people poor, and the priests sucker the poor into accepting their poverty.

Re:Revise *this*, Mr. Gates. (1)

Dramacrat (1052126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22167000)

Sure, go to a tribal region, with neither politicians or priests, and see how you fare. Maybe you could use their communal free WiFi to write a k-rad blog post about it, nubcake.

Microsoft and Kinder Capitalism? (1)

arigram (1202657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166536)

Is Microsoft contemplating committing seppuku then?

I can rationalize with Bill a bit.. (5, Insightful)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166550)

as TFS states, people are critical of Gates because he has waited until he has all this money to speak up. I'm going to take an optimistic approach and say that perhaps he has waited until he has money to push this because nobody listens to poor people. If your neighbor came out and said the same thing that Gates is I doubt it would be on /. Gates is in a position where he can actually effect changes. I say if he wants to help the poor, more power to him as long as he doesn't turn a blind eye to Microsoft.

Re:I can rationalize with Bill a bit.. (1)

Monsuco (998964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166728)

nobody listens to poor people.
Dear god you sound like Michael Moore. The poor vote so politicians listen to them, otherwise Medicade, TANF, S-CHIP, Scholarships, and all of the other programs that we have would not exist. Gates seems to forget that "kinder capitalism" and all of the other plans that try to use the economy for the common good usually hurt the poor more than anything else. The Chinese regulate their economy into a "kinder capitalism" where bureaucrats decide what merchandise is beneficial to it's population. How'd that turn out?

Re:I can rationalize with Bill a bit.. (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166784)

I agree, any poor calling for such thing would be simply called a "communist". Certainly, wealthy people support poor people by paying taxes according to their incomes. Now, going international, that's an interesting point of view.

poverty a priority (1)

Generic Guy (678542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166562)

some people may point out that poverty became a priority for Mr. Gates only after he'd earned billions building up Microsoft.

My take is more like: poverty became an issue for BillG only after he got married to Melinda. I'm sure that is the primary reason for calling their charity group the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Re:poverty a priority (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166630)

I would also add: Why is prioritising helping poor people a bad thing AFTER you have much cash? If he was poor too, would it be better? If he is rich, it is now easier for him to help poor and he has better posiibilities for helping them.

Re:poverty a priority (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166746)

My take is more like: poverty became an issue for BillG only after he got married to Melinda.

Fair enough; marrying Bill became a priority for Melinda once he became stinking rich.


Sure thing, Bill! (1)

Mike73 (979311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166572)

Let's revise capitalism! Doesn't sound too tough... I reckon we can get it done by Tuesday!

Bill Gates for Antichrist! (1)

JulianConrad (1223926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166580)

"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."

Re:Bill Gates for Antichrist! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166632)

Hey Julian!

2 posts - both of them complete rubbish!

You should fit-in well here.

Same problem, different name. (5, Insightful)

dasbush (1143709) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166586)

Capitalism suffers from the same problem as Communism and Anarchy. In order for it to work, people need to not be jerks.

The problem with solving poverty is that it costs money; investing money in things that will give no return is bad business. Unless we are willing to sacrifice things will never change. Even then it will be hard because there will not be an overnight change. It will take time and energy.

We CAN make poverty history. We just have to be willing to pay the price and suffer for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.

Re:Same problem, different name. (1)

jofny (540291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166788)

investing money in things that will give no return is bad business.

Investing in increasing the ecnonomic health of poor peoples and nations often gives a large financal return. It's good business for you to make people smarter, give them jobs, give them ways to earn an income. That does two things: First, the people have enough invested in negotiating disputes financially, instead of with arms. Second, they have more money to spend in general and the market can support more goods/services exchanged, and everyone benefits.

Capitalism isn't the problem per se. Ignorance and lack of forethough is the problem.

Re:Same problem, different name. (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166896)

Capitalism suffers from the same problem as Communism and Anarchy. In order for it to work, people need to not be jerks. The problem with solving poverty is that it costs money; investing money in things that will give no return is bad business. Unless we are willing to sacrifice things will never change. Even then it will be hard because there will not be an overnight change. It will take time and energy. We CAN make poverty history. We just have to be willing to pay the price and suffer for no other reason than it is the right thing to do.
You don't need to suffer to end poverty, what you need to do is remove the corrupt governments that cause poverty.

Ending poverty has a huge return on investment - when people are rich enough that all their basic needs for survival are met, they can buy stuff they don't need (name brand shoes), or they can spend time doing stuff that isn't required for survival (travel), or they can do both. The more wealth they have, the more of both they can do. The more of both they do, the more jobs that will be created serving their wants and on an on.

To make this work, people can still act like people, the governments have to stop acting like jerks. When a government gets out of the way of its people, only enforcing contracts, property rights, and basic laws for civil order, etc., people prosper. The more the government interferes with people and their lives, the poorer the people are.

Re:Same problem, different name. (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22167006)

Capitalism suffers from the same problem as Communism and Anarchy. In order for it to work, people need to not be jerks.

Democracy also suffers from this problem.

Venture Philanthropy (5, Insightful)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166590)

Firstly, for governments to "encourage" private corporations to help the poor basically means: the government should give the rich some money, and the rich will, in turn, give a fraction of that to the poor.

  It's a scam to insert themselves into the revenue stream and suck at the public teat.

  This is a bit off-topic, but I'm going to reproduce something my mother (who is a teacher) wrote in respect to the similarly-phrased venture philanthropy plans in education. Sorry that it is long, but since educationally venture philanthropy is very much part of the Gates' foundations agenda, it's relevant in entirety. I did the html formatting, but the content is my Mom's [] :

Background. []

  "Educational Entrepreneurship" is an enormously powerful nation-wide effort to sub-contract educational administration, curriculum, and professional development services in low-income public school districts to private for-profit partners, after districts are taken over under NCLB [] . Mass Insight [] is a leader in this drive, and you can view its proposal to coordinate the takeover process for its partners in a report on its website. They are explicit, in their report, that their eventual target is to take over the entire public education system and run it, free of "bureaucratic interference." []

  Another powerful player is New Schools Venture Fund [] , which has just added former Mass. Education Board chairman Jim Peyser [] to its partners; The Gates Foundation is a backer [] , and the Harvard Business School now offers MBA classes in []
Educational Entrepreneurship.

  The eventual for-profit providers of services are located under several layers of interlocking "advocacy" organizations, with a conscious strategy of leveraging investment of public and private money to promote the takeover. Texas, Massachusetts, and California are epicenters of the project, where Republican governors have built Education Boards dominated by adherents. An example of a "partner" might be K-12 Inc, which went public last week with a stock offering that raised $108 million, according to the current issue of Education Week. []

  The rationale for forcing public schools to consume these private services is that the services are "research-based" and have proven their effectiveness. A problem is that the research is often biased or distorted by researchers with hidden agendas. In many cases, especially in Texas, it was fabricated outright [she means Reading First [] ]. Most activity has been in math and reading, since those are the high-stakes targets of NCLB. But as concern has risen over the condition of science instruction, vast amounts of money have been appropriated to improve it, and entrepreneurial attention has now focused on science education.

  As you may know [remember this was originally sent to other teachers], the federal "What Works" clearinghouse has failed to recommend very many marketed educational programs as showing "research-based" effectiveness. []

  In the current effort to create a follow-up reading commission to get approval for more programs, many public-interest advocacy groups function as lobbyists for partner programs.

  A favorite way to profiteer as well as to consolidate control is to force dumbed-down, "standards based," for-profit professional development programs on teachers in urban districts. Texas is exporting these. I am convinced the only way to save my students or science teaching is to bring the whole monster down.

  If anything, the forced drop-out situation is worse now [compared to the background article before the blockquote] because of the structure of the AYP [] requirements under the NCLB [] law. With the requirement that every school's test scores continually increase toward 240 ("proficiency"), even a kid who would pass the test and graduate from high school is a score suppressor. My students have cried when they came to me to turn in their chemistry text and be signed out to Alternative Ed; then they disappeared from my roster and the school system, and didn't even get counted as dropouts somehow. We have been putting our little girls out onto the street with less than a 10th grade education to leverage our MCAS scores. Our graduation rate hovers in the 50-60% range, but we report 0%-5% dropout rates. I promise you I have been fighting it with all my heart every day, and the only reason I still have a job is teacher tenure.

  It may change this year (or not), because our Alternative Ed has been "taken over" by the same Board of Education and private education reform consultants who have been showering my district with awards for our supposedly rising test scores. [This may make it harder to use the alternative Ed to disappear students] If we do succeed in increasing the number of 10th graders who make it through to the test in my school, the MCAS average will undoubtedly fall. So, who is circling over our heads waiting to pick off the urban schools when NCLB finally brings them down? What is Education Reform? Briefly, it is a for-profit "solution" to the problems Ed Reform consultants cause, while they dominate school boards under cover of "non-profit" advocacy groups (with their hidden for-profit partners). Here is an example. []

  Nobody can seem to take an aim at the real enemy, who hide behind a dizzy profusion of glossy websites linked to "social capital" and "venture philanthropy" at one end and "market strategy" and profits at the other. They are all over the Education Departments, "leveraging" this and "leveraging" that. The flow of corporate venture philanthropy to its ideological partners becomes an overwhelming tool to shape opinion and policy.

  I think I've found a way to get some traction against the real perpetrators of these outrageous and cowardly education policies: We can demand transparency and accountability. We do have some allies - Deval Patrick has appointed Ruth Kaplan to the Board of Education in my own state, and there is an organization of scientists centered at MIT who have not been and cannot be bought off or scared away. You can meet them through the Parents Care website. []

  Exxon has given a $250 million "gift" to improve AP science instruction (the NSMI), and it is being distributed to leverage the take-over of public school science by hucksters. The FAQ for applicants for funding, on the NSMI website, includes the question,
what if there is no suitable non-profit recipient? The answers [] include the information that a for-profit can only be a cooperating partner, and MUST CREATE a non-profit entity to receive the funds. Demonstrating your political connections in your own state, especially with the governor's office, will also help your application. You will even find helpful links to create your own tax-exempt non-profit.

  We have to reframe the "accountability" debate, and get terms like huckster and for-profit and leveraged take-over out into public consciousness. Is it possible that internet savvy people could discover the identity of for-profit entities currently awarded contracts by their own state and local school boards? The kick back schemes by Reading First [] never would have been investigated unless competitors complained. Can somebody please advocate for the actual children? Low-income districts with low graduation rates are crucially vulnerable. The data base from the 2007 Gates Foundation Diplomas Count [] report will help you find them in your state.

  My alarm goes off at 5:30 every morning. I dress professionally, and go into a low-income public school building and teach chemistry all day until, frankly, I can barely stand up. Somebody else needs to expose the Board of Education. Maybe you could help, or maybe you know somebody who wants to.

Re:Venture Philanthropy (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166864)

Firstly, for governments to "encourage" private corporations to help the poor basically means: the government should give the rich some money, and the rich will, in turn, give a fraction of that to the poor.

Indeed. But they don't even have to that -- it'll just trickle down.

Kinder Capitolism (2, Funny)

BigBunny (88107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166616)

Is that for pre-school?

Confused (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166620)

Okay, maybe I'm a bit confused here but let me see if I got this straight: With capitalism, when it works for you, you get money. When it doesn't work for you, you get poor. Now Bill Gates wants to revise capitalism so that the poor get money too.

Isn't that what, with gross generalization, the basis for socialism was?

I think I know what he wants (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166674)

We had a story about it just a little while ago "MS ties charity to the use of Windows". I have absolutly no doubt that Bill Gates would LOVE to help the poor, with "free" MS software.

No not because he is an evil self-serving asshole. Lets be brutally honest here, MS software is the best in the world, and Bill Gates is the living proof of it. If MS software isn't the best in the world, why does everyone use it making Bill Gates one of the richest man on earth?

Because lets undestand this very clearly, compared to all the other very rich men on earth, Bill Gates got that way by basically selling a SINGLE product, later expanding that to a massive TWO. (Okay not exactly, but compare this to other giant companies like IBM, HP or the japanese giants and MS product catalog seems awfully thin).

I think their is something very subtle corrupt about PRIVATE donations, when even a Morning Musume sketch knows it, you have to wonder why any sane society allows it.

In a sketch some childeren have an argument, one is rich, the others aren't. Rich kid complains to parents, parents talk to the schoolteacher and threathen to cut their donations.

A more classic example is religious charity, you can have our cash, but you got to listen to our sermon and if your religion ain't right, well we might not even give you anything at all.

I think charity should firmly be in the hands of a goverment, they are not the best but at least they can be voted out. If I want to donate a million dollars I shouldn't really be able to attach any restrictions to it. If you allow that you essentially allow the rich to dictate the live of the poor. Schools only get Bill Gates money if the schools only windows, can this even be called charity anymore? What next, schools that don't expell kids who pirate MS windows will get no funding?

No, I think Bill Gates is the last person I want in control of society, not just because he is ammoral business man, but because he also had that amorallity work for him all his life. Do you want a human being telling the poor how to life who has never ever been poor? Who with his monthly income condems countless others to poverty.

This has to do with the concept of average income. If the average income is 1000 dollars and one person make 10.000 then 9 people earn nothing at all

If he is truly that worried about society, the answer is simple, PAY MORE TAXES. MS has made it an art to find way to dodge paying taxes over its gigantic earnings. But that offcourse won't happen, wether tax money is wasted or not is not the issue, Bill Gates has little to say on how taxes are spend, why it might even go to the NSA on projects to improve Linux. Schools could decide themselves what software to use. The end of the world!

There are some fans of Bill Gates who point out his charity work, but frankly for a man that is that rich, it is pathetic and a lot of it can be traced back to ways of forcing the use of windows.

Also there is this to consider, if I make 1000 dollars and donate 100, that is a huge amount. If I make a million dollars and donate 100.000. The amount is far greater but the impact on me is far smaller. If I have billions, then I could donate 95% of my wealth and still life the life of the filthy rich. Gates don't donate 95% of his wealth, not even 10 percent. Important thing to consider.

More controll by business over our society, yeah thanks DO NOT WANT!

Re:I think I know what he wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166924)

I have actually seen several religious organizations donate vision checks and eyeglasses, vitamins, vision checks, dental checkups, etc, without ever breathing a word of religion to the recipients. The majority may be as you describe but I wouldn't overgeneralize many of the religions like that. That would be like saying Americans are pigs when I know honestly many are hard working citizens who care much about someone who is a bit less unfortunate.

World's Billionares (2, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166676)

When I skim down the list of the world's billionaires [] , the ones that stand out when it comes to philanthropy tend to be the ones that made their money in software. Phillip Knight (of Nike) has given a lot to the University of Oregon, where he started out, but that's all I see from a first glance. I wonder if software folks have a different take on poverty than the rest of the super-wealthy?

The end of poverty (5, Informative)

Antity-H (535635) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166680)

Jeffrey sachs a famous american economist who was for a time special advisor to UN secretary general Kofi Annan wrote a book published in 2005 titled "The end of poverty" where he details just such a revision. see []

this is not as ironic or impossible as it sounds at first sight, Sachs is not a dreamer, what he wants to achieve is not suppressing all of poverty, but to suppress life threatening poverty. To do this he proposes to help the poor countries get back on the development ladder by using slight modifications to the market forces. once they get on the development ladder he argues, extreme poverty should disappear pretty fast (his proposed time frame is 20 years )

Stop the lock in then (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166682)

Even capitalism fails when unfair monopolistic practices such as those used by convicted monopolist Microsoft artificially keeps prices high.

Kinder capitalism would require getting rid of lunatics like Ballmer who even bullies his kids into not using an competitors product.

Freedom, equality and above all choice are required, Microsoft denies you much of that.

Moral credibility (3, Insightful)

BobandMax (95054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166684)

His statements would have more credibility if he dedicated Microsoft to cease illegal, anti-competitive behavior. You know, a kinder, gentler capitalism.

Yes! (2, Interesting)

Daishiman (698845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166696)

So does that mean Bill will embrace Free Software on public institutions of poor countries to save cost and dependence from corporations which don't necessarily have their best interests at hand?

Soweto (4, Informative)

BeanThere (28381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166730)

He said he has seen those failings first-hand on trips for Microsoft to places like the South African slum of Soweto

Having been there myself several times last year (it's not too far from where I live), I wouldn't really call Soweto a failure of capitalism. It arose primarily under the old apartheid system as a collection of around 30 "black townships" (roughly = "black ghettos"), and the system for the blacks was basically an oppressive fascist police state, while for the whites, at best socialist (e.g. major industries like telecomms, electricity, television broadcasting, steel etc. were nationalised and quite tightly controlled). The Group Areas Act of old also forced certain races to live in certain areas, and other apartheid regulations specifically DID NOT ALLOW much freedom of trade or other commercial activity within black areas like Soweto - the blacks weren't really allowed to just, say, up and build a mall, noone was. That's not capitalism. That was just 14 or 15 years ago, basically.

Now, the current government is still a 'socialist' government - when the old government fell in 1994, the new one implemented a variety of "reforms" such as minimum wage and various welfare grants and "free electricity and water for all" programs, all of which did not exist before, that are certainly far more, um, typically associated with socialism than capitalism. On the other hand they reduced the level of nationalisation of businesses, privating or semi-privatising a number of major industries for example (some of those are disasters but for complete other reasons not relevant to this topic - also not failures of capitalism though). Nonetheless the current government can best be described as "centrist", pushing things neither too far to the right nor left - it is, loosely speaking, a 'free market system for most markets but with some socialist characteristics and a bit of crony capitalism' (not unlike the US), but has only been so for 14 odd years. For Soweto, many of the zoning and movement regulations have been lifted, which means that people and companies are now more free to invest and build etc. in Soweto, and anyone, including blacks are free to start, own, run and trade in any businesses. In spite of the relative poverty, with an estimated population between 1,000,000 and 4,000,000 people (who as a result of the old zoning regs used to have to travel miles to Joburg to buy various stuff), Soweto has a combined estimated annual retail buying power of about 4 billion Rand (roughly US$500million), and this IS currently attracting a lot of investment and development, particularly by the major black 'business elite' that has risen since 1994 --- there is currently loads of development going on - new malls are springing up, office parks are going up, gyms, even hotels and basic broadband infrastructure etc. are being built in Soweto.

So I wouldn't really call this a failure either - it's just the beginning, after all, just 14 years into a semi-capitalist system with mostly poor and poorly educated people, it's starting to turn into a veritable growing metropolis / city in its own right (albeit a dangerous crime-ridden one). Of course it could be going a lot better, but I don't think it can rightfully be called a "failure of capitalism". More like, new-born capitalism is starting to help fix the wreck of a socialist police state.

It should be noted that Soweto is NOT considered one of the "poorer" township areas. It's definitely poor, but compared to most other 'black townships', comparatively wealthy (e.g. almost all houses are brick - small and rundown, but brick, many roads are tarred etc., many streets have lighting and painted lines and there are proper police stations and hospitals and electricity and phone infrastructure - unlike the real poor, 'hardcore' townships like Umlazi and Alexandra which are really thousands of little shacks.)

Try a real free market (3, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166752)

The only problem with capitalism is that monopolies (hi, Bill!) distort Adam Smith's free market.

As for aiding the poor ... food aid clobbers the only useful sector of third world economies, and agricultural tariffs prevent them from getting any realistic prices for what's left. The third world is left with no way to better themselves. They end up dependent on handouts from rich countries.

And my fav current topic, the patronizing smugdiots who want to send food (which destroys their only chance at self-sufficiency and export income) to the third world instead of OLPC laptops (which saves them money compared to physical distribution of outdated textbooks in foreign languages). Or want to shove Windows on more expensive less capable laptops at them to lock them into a foreign monopoly instead of free source from which they can learn.

Hell of a way to keep 'em down on the non-farm. See what you can do about that, Bill.

Bill's not all bad (2, Insightful)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166760)

Does no one else realize how much money he has given away? I'm not saying that his company's practices are right by any means, but don't act like he simply makes boatloads of cash and then hordes it all. He has many mutli-billion dollar donations under his belt, and while you may say "but he has so much to spare", it's his money. If he wanted, he could keep it. That's what's great about America, you can do what you want with your money.

So no, I'm not saying that MS has the greatest practices in the world in regards to monopoly, and their software mostly sucks, but at the same point don't act like Bill is an evil money-hording pirate.

Gates should act like a real "Robber Baron" (5, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166764)

Gates, and humanity, would be better served if he acted like the real "Robber Baron" of American history.

The great robber barons - Carnegie, Rockefeller, and really, a lot more, all invested rather heavily in some basic infrastructure that continues to improve the USA to this day. All of the great robber barons ploughed their vast fortunes into libraries, universities, hospitals and other enterprises and essentially created, ironically, all of today's "liberal" institutions. While its admirable that he pours a lot of money in fighting HIV in Africa, if he actually built universities, vocational schools, or even just invested in existing ones, ultimately, the world would be much better served. Do you want humanity to genuinely improve? Good. Go set your school of choice up with an endowment so that they can buy a new supercomputer every couple of years.

While you are it, maybe these billionaires ought to do what Henry Ford did and pay their workers wages far above what everyone else was getting paid at the time. You know, maybe create a real middle class again!

Discussing with children? (1)

sverrehu (22545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166792)

"Kinder Capitalism" is "you can have my teddy bear for ten lollipops". The kind of dealing that takes place in a Kindergarten.

The Corporation (1)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166800)

How do you make Capitalism kinder, when one of the fundamental instruments of capitalism, the corporation has the status of a natural person. Not only that, but when the required behaviour of the corporation i.e. to act in the shareholders best interests is taken into account, creates a psychotic entity who will stop at nothing to achieve its primary objective.

Corporations today willingly break the law if it makes financial sense, and if they can profit more than fines imposed. If individuals acted like this we would be thrown in jail, but corporations cannot be because they are not really natural people.

So in all honestly, how do you create a kinder capitalism while the corporation still exists?

Kinder Capitalism, as in Kinder Surprise? (3, Funny)

quigonn (80360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166812)

Am I the only that was instantly reminded of Kinder Surprise [] eggs when reading the headline?

Obvious Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166858)

Why are mega-corporations so evil?
Why do they want to take over the education system?
I do not understand how a degeneration of the education system stands to benefit these corporations.
Can anybody please explain?
Thanks very much.

funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166886)

Its funny that at some point in the future we will HAVE to BELIEVE in this "initiative" by abusive corporate giants. or else. Im thinking in the kids, which will most certainly not now of the obscure methods used to earn those billions, and of the obscure mechanisms which really are behind those "top level" capitalist minds "aiding" the poor.

A one billion dollar idea for mrs gates: to help the poor in 3rd world nations, just spend 10% of your cash to give away solar panels in YOUR own country, so you dont have to predate 3rd world countries to get energy/petroleum/fresh meat, liver transplants, reproductive rigths, or forgiveness for your capitalism atrocities.

Well you know, that 3rd world countries are already under first world countries control, so resistance is futile.

But seriously, fusking yankees, recicle and switch to renewable energies, its your excess of consumerism that is killing third world countries.
And its your capitalism/consumism example what drives the local capitalists to predate and destroy/abuse.

Having super top level capitalist executives working to solve local goverment problems, wont really help.
(which goverment that respects itself will allow microsoft to put its dirty hand on local politics... im sure many already, but under cellular pressure over relatives).
Withdrawing impreialism pressure, and helping develop renewable resources/energies will, certainly help.

Bill Gates is a new man now? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166914)

Practically everything [] Microsoft does contains some aspect that is adversarial toward customers. That extremely adversarial corporate culture was designed by Bill Gates.

Is Bill Gates a new man now? Has Bill Gates somehow become a person who cares about other people? If he has, why doesn't he stop Microsoft from releasing sloppy, unfinished software [] ? Is the "new" Bill Gates like the "new" Richard Nixon?

Everything I've seen indicates that Bill Gates is a poor writer. Who wrote his speech then?

It seems to me that Bill Gates is one of the most disliked people in the world. Is his new interest in other people a public relations attempt? Is he using public relations to try to get approval, like Nancy Reagan's interest in drug abuse prevention or Pamela Anderson's interested in vegetarian eating and breast size [] ?

Public relations is just a normal purchase for people who have a lot of money, and in the case of most of them, completely cynical.

Kinder to MSFT that is (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166922)

All these pesky trade regulators, monopoly restricters, interoperability demanders, vendor-lock-in resistors, competition promoters ... What kind of nonsense are these things? We need a better capitalistic system than this morass. Kinder to monopolies, freedom from having to obey the laws, ability to hoodwink customers into locking them in for ever... you see what I mean?

That is what BG means by a kinder gentler Capitalism, kinder and gentler to MSFT.

Being Rich != Economics Expert (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166926)

Just because you have a ton of money does not mean that you are an economics expert.

Capitalism is how we allocate finite resources. It is the best we got.

When government interferes, you can get shortages and other bad economic blowback effects. Especially when decisions are made with political rationales.

Capitalism doesn't preclude charity or setting up a business to help train and employee poor people, etc. You can start a company that isn't completely focused on making as much money as humanly possible. That's allowed.

But if you try to change the overall system, I can only foresee bad things happening.

Make capitalism work for the poor thru No Envy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22166950)

Capitalism in the "West", in practice and not necessarily in any theory, works because of 500 years of preaching against envy.

When people point at something of the Rich and Wealthy and say "I want that too!" then things are working. When they point and say "He can't have that!" then you not only rob the person who had it, but also deter anybody else from aspiration.

You can observe this time and again in the "poor" countries (sorry, all anecdotal). You try and provide aid and it is stolen by local distributors or police or army or government. You improve your land, grow better crops, and those not willing to do "non-traditional" farming come after you. Why work when you can't keep what you have?

Even in America, the Mayflower colonists tried socialism for a year and starved. The next year everybody got their own garden and they prospered. Yes, there was native help by then, but no incentive to prosper. In the Soviet Union, the private gardens far outproduced the state communes, at least in crops per acre. Again, personal interest.

So, once a person feels safe in person, and in property rights, then that person will be interested in increasing and improving his property. So if you want capitalism to work, you must also instill the idea of honesty in government, and not stealing your neighbors' goods.

Mr. Gates seems to think that capitalism doesn't work. It works for *him* quite well. Microsoft doesn't work well in places that don't respect his property, such as SE Asia. It isn't the capitalism that doesn't work there, it's the lack of respect for property, an *honesty* problem.

Thanks. No Thanks. (0)

paiute (550198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166970)

This from the guy who was surprised by the Internet? Sorry. I'll look for my transformative suggestions from someone with a slightly higher visionary IQ.

he's one crazy mofo (1)

000zero000 (788771) | more than 6 years ago | (#22166996)

he's mad i tell you maaaaaaaaaaaaaadddddddddd!!!!! is there no level of society where microsoft shouldn't be?? He wants the poor to also support Microsoft with this crazy talk??? Microsoft for the people? I think not.
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