On Bill Gates

A friend of mine commented on Bill Gates and how he made his fortune as a capitalist, but then is doing everything he can to destroy his fortune. Here was my response.

Bill Gates is a tragic case, just like Andrew Carnegie. I read Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography. Both of them felt guilty for their wealth- they both view wealth as a static quantity, where every penny they have is one that someone else doesn’t have. People like this don’t understand that money is static (that is, the number of gold atoms in the world is constant), but that wealth is created and destroyed. Near the end of his life, Carnegie treated every dollar he made as one he stole from the poor. Stole! For daring to provide them with cheap steel that funded the development of skyscrapers in major cities, and railroads to link towns across the whole country. Bill Gates believes the same thing, for daring to drive computers from a time where they were operated by specialists to an era where a child can operate one on a portable phone. But he feels every dollar he makes is stolen from the poor, and he’s been trained to think it for a long time.

There were the same number of gold atoms in cave man times as now. Yet, we are a wealthier people than cavemen. We have to attack the notion that wealth is a pie, to be divided and distributed. Wealth is an oven, capable of producing many pies, bigger pies, and cheaper pies.

Think about it next time someone uses the pie analogy- “getting their share of the pie” or “getting a bigger piece of the pie”. These people are only concerned with consuming, never producing. A pie is a finite natural resource, and the wealthy have scooped up a big piece- your pie, or so they say. Where did the pie come from? The pie just is, in their eyes. What will they do when they’ve eaten all of the pie, or as we say “who is John Galt?”

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