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Bill Gates becomes a Philanthropist

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That seems pretty harsh, CF.

As long as Gates is happy with what he's doing, I don't care to interpolate his motives. 'Course, I plan on dedicating my trillions (heheh) to terraforming Venus and Mars, but hey, dif'rent strokes...

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I could buy the Hopton Stoddard analogy, not the James Taggart or Peter Keating ones.

OK, that's at least a step in the right direction. :thumbsup: Objectivists need to realize that, just like not every businessman in Ayn Rand's novels was an epitome of virtue, nor is every businessman in real life. Speaking them as if they were, in spite of their glaring flaws, can do quite a lot of harm to the cause of capitalism, and also Objectivism in general.

As long as Gates is happy with what he's doing

In the absence of force, we all do what we are happy with. That doesn't make it right, though.

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I agree in some ways, Bill Gates can be seen as James Taggart. Especially, if some of the things I've read about early MS are true. (when Pall Allen was still there)

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20060330.html

In the absence of force, we all do what we are happy with. That doesn't make it right, though.
Yeah, that would be a view very close to hedonism. It still has to be moral. [Not to mention that happiness is an emotion, so must be carefully analyzed for truthfullness and proper reasons to be happy.]

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I'm a bit gifted (or so I'm told!) in a certain little ability called "noticing (and recalling) small details". So, let's see if i can impress here with a little (irrelevant) deviation into some small piece of detail:

1.

...Java comes along, and is a real threat in the corporate-systems market. He moves from operations back to a technical role, hires some key new people and comes back with .NET which leap-frogs the Java guys in many markets.

2. (From the profiles):

Name: Capitalism Forever

Occupation: Java programmer!

3. :thumbsup:

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Finally, the reason I said the money Gates gives through charity is "wasted" is because eradicating disease and poverty cannot be done in a primarily statist environment. Disease and poverty is wiped out by capitalism, and can only be combatted long term by capitalism. Gates can flood Africa with all the vaccines and food he wants, but without reform of the statist, corrupt governments (and philosophy) there, destitution will remain.

I need to disagree with that far reaching transhistorical argument because of the fact that the WHO did a great deal in ending the spread of smallpox. I am not advocating a statist solution to the problem, but to contend that diseases can only be elliminated by capitalism, as if it were a law of physics, is just not in line with reality.

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In the discussion (see http://www.gatesfoundation.org/AboutUs/Rel...sion-060626.htm, unfortunately no transcript yet, 66min-68min) Buffett said that he does not like 'dynasty wealth', i.e. handing the money down to one's children.

What do you think?

I would agree with him, it is kind of 'racist' to provide your children with more money than they need (in their childhood for education, housing, nutrition etc..) just because they are your children. The primary reason to give your money away should be the fact that you value that specific person.

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I need to disagree with that far reaching transhistorical argument because of the fact that the WHO did a great deal in ending the spread of smallpox. I am not advocating a statist solution to the problem, but to contend that diseases can only be elliminated by capitalism, as if it were a law of physics, is just not in line with reality.

And where did the wealth come from that was used to fund the activities of the WHO? What context made possible the creation of a viable vaccine in the first place, by which man's mind? Organizations like the WHO exist solely because of excess wealth of free countries.

In a sense, it is possible for a poor statist society to create a vaccine here or there; the Soviets managed to get a junky satellite into space and a few other technological "innovations" (leaving aside ideas stolen from the West). Such events do not translate into the well-being of the citizenry, however, because you can vaccinate a man into a cyborg and he'll still starve to death.

My point was to focus on poverty with disease as a resulting condition thereof. Poverty simply cannot be solved without production of wealth, which can only come from capitalism. This isn't a law of physics, but a law of human nature - to survive and thrive, man must be free to think and free to act according to his judgement. This is the essential characteristic of capitalism that makes long-term, genuine wealth possible.

Edited by Spano

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I would agree with him, it is kind of 'racist' to provide your children with more money than they need (in their childhood for education, housing, nutrition etc..) just because they are your children.
Are children a race? I have a hard time keeping up with these ever-hanging concepts.
The primary reason to give your money away should be the fact that you value that specific person.
Since he apparently doesn't value his children and doesn't even know the future recipients of his largesse, I suppose he should just burn all his wealth.

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And where did the wealth come from that was used to fund the activities of the WHO? What context made possible the creation of a viable vaccine in the first place, by which man's mind? Organizations like the WHO exist solely because of excess wealth of free countries.

In a sense, it is possible for a poor statist society to create a vaccine here or there; the Soviets managed to get a junky satellite into space and a few other technological "innovations" (leaving aside ideas stolen from the West). Such events do not translate into the well-being of the citizenry, however, because you can vaccinate a man into a cyborg and he'll still starve to death.

My point was to focus on poverty with disease as a resulting condition thereof. Poverty simply cannot be solved without production of wealth, which can only come from capitalism. This isn't a law of physics, but a law of human nature - to survive and thrive, man must be free to think and free to act according to his judgement. This is the essential characteristic of capitalism that makes long-term, genuine wealth possible.

I don't disagree, I was just being pedantic about the way you were displaying the history of the situation.

Edited by Strangelove

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Buffett said that he does not like 'dynasty wealth', i.e. handing the money down to one's children.

What do you think?

I would agree with him, it is kind of 'racist' to provide your children with more money than they need (in their childhood for education, housing, nutrition etc..) just because they are your children. The primary reason to give your money away should be the fact that you value that specific person.

I agree with you, but I disagree with Buffett. As David said, he doesn't even know his recipients. If you have more wealth than you can spend in your lifetime, you should leave it to those who deserve it most (which may or may not include your children), not to those who deserve it the least.

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In the absence of force, we all do what we are happy with. That doesn't make it right, though.
Yeah, that would be a view very close to hedonism. It still has to be moral.
Fair enough, but in terms of Gates, given that he is (presumably) happy in "retirement", is not exactly putting himself into the poor house or otherwise giving up his values, and doesn't seem to be acting from a short-term perspective, it'd be hard to say that he was being altruistic or hedonistic.

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Are children a race? I have a hard time keeping up with these ever-hanging concepts. Since he apparently doesn't value his children and doesn't even know the future recipients of his largesse, I suppose he should just burn all his wealth.

The only race (besides animals) I know of is the human race.

No, I meant racist in terms of prefering genetics over the contents of the brain.

Well, I suspect that his primary motive was the death of his wife whose main value apparently was to 'help' others.

In an interview today Buffett and Gates said that they will use their contacts in government to increase government spending on 'global health programs' and they welcome current developments of the US and EU governments concerning this issue.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=515260011274566220 (minute 37-39)

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Gates's come-uppance will be when he realizes that he can't buy his way to salvation without selling a little more of his soul.
The LA Times is criticizing Gates, almost to the extent of saying that he's responsible for the very problems he's combating. If that sounds ridiculous, the argument basically goes as follows: some Africans claim that some of their health problems are caused by foreign polluters (e.g. some of the oil-companies). While the Gates Foundation is trying to fix those problems, the foundation gets it's money from an endowment that is invested in those "socially irresponsible companies". One simply can't win with these guys -- there's always a call for more sacrifice. That's what one gets when one holds sacrifice to be the ideal: as long as you have the means, people will point out that you have the means to be more ideal still... until it's all gone.

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I am really amazed by how jam-packed that article is with leftist bromides. Call me naïve, but I didn't think a major paper like the LA Times, which I don't read regularly, would allow so many subjective (and invalid) views to saturate their work.

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Call me naïve, but I didn't think a major paper like the LA Times, which I don't read regularly, would allow so many subjective (and invalid) views to saturate their work.

Actually, I rarely expect anything more than just that from today's newspapers - and the more allegedly "prestigous" the paper, the more likely for it to be thusly saturated. I take pretty much everything I read in the major newspapers and in the wire services with a grain of salt and if there is a story or issue I am particularly interested in, I make sure I look for articles on it in the so-called "alternative media" as a fact and context check. Very often the mainstream media's reporting on any given story is highly selective.

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Mr. Gates

...

There's no pride about his bearing,

He's a humble clone of caring;

He denies he has a right to his own dime.

He is on the selfless track

Of "give it up and give it back',

As though man's making profit were a crime.

...

Brian Faulkner

About a year later, this Gates speech at Harvard says it all. An apologia by a man who is now frittering away his hard-earned money. A nice example of the sanction of the victim.

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Mr. Bill Gates gave the commencement address at Harvard recently, after being honoured with his degree (finally). The speech is here:

(http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/06.14/99-gates.html)

As I read through this speech, I realised just how dangerous philanthropy can be. I used to support Gates' philanthropic activities, especially since I'm an African living in Africa, but the more intellectually integrated I have become, the more I can see that this is actually a very dangerous activity. It tends to take the minds of everyone from the root causes of poverty, and to focus on attacking the end results, especially as it gives them the illusion of succeeding.

In his speech, Mr. Gates was effectively encouraging Harvard graduates (and the University) to follow his new path, and his "excuse" for not having done it back then is simply that he did not have any information on the state of the world's problems back then (thank God). The new graduates have no excuse basically, because of the internet and the information revolution.

Gates is misleading these impressionable, young minds who look up to him, and it is dreadful that he is even using the term "capitalism" in advocating his wrong values (he calls it "creative capitalism"). The best they can do, if they want to do anything for the poorest people of Africa, is just to create wealth for themselves. Had some entrepreneurs not been selfish enough to create powerful and cheap software, this African would not be on the internet today, would have never heard of Ayn Rand, and above all, would have never understood capitalism.

Mr. Gates' great contribution to Africa would simply be to fund a program of educating African leaders on the moral and practical merits of capitalism (or giving ME the money to do it!). A few thousand copies of Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics" or Ayn Rand's "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal" would do more for Africa than all the donations he will make in his philanthropy. But even greater would have been his continued passionate involvement in pushing Microsoft to higher and more innovative products, as he used to do.

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Mr. Bill Gates gave the commencement address at Harvard recently, after being honoured with his degree (finally). The speech is here:

(http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/06.14/99-gates.html)

As I read through this speech, I realised just how dangerous philanthropy can be. I used to support Gates' philanthropic activities, especially since I'm an African living in Africa, but the more intellectually integrated I have become, the more I can see that this is actually a very dangerous activity. It tends to take the minds of everyone from the root causes of poverty, and to focus on attacking the end results, especially as it gives them the illusion of succeeding.

In his speech, Mr. Gates was effectively encouraging Harvard graduates (and the University) to follow his new path, and his "excuse" for not having done it back then is simply that he did not have any information on the state of the world's problems back then (thank God). The new graduates have no excuse basically, because of the internet and the information revolution.

Gates is misleading these impressionable, young minds who look up to him, and it is dreadful that he is even using the term "capitalism" in advocating his wrong values (he calls it "creative capitalism"). The best they can do, if they want to do anything for the poorest people of Africa, is just to create wealth for themselves. Had some entrepreneurs not been selfish enough to create powerful and cheap software, this African would not be on the internet today, would have never heard of Ayn Rand, and above all, would have never understood capitalism.

Mr. Gates' great contribution to Africa would simply be to fund a program of educating African leaders on the moral and practical merits of capitalism (or giving ME the money to do it!). A few thousand copies of Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics" or Ayn Rand's "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal" would do more for Africa than all the donations he will make in his philanthropy. But even greater would have been his continued passionate involvement in pushing Microsoft to higher and more innovative products, as he used to do.

Whatever misgivings you may have about what Gates has to say, be aware he is implementing his ideas with his -own money-. He is not using loot nor is he forcing his money and actions on anyone. If you don't like what he has to say don't take any money from him, if he offers it to you.

The essence of civilized behavior is knowing the difference between what is yours and what is mine and what is mine and what belongs to others. Gates is "playing by the rules". He is using his own money and money raised voluntarily.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Whatever misgivings you may have about what Gates has to say, be aware he is implementing his ideas with his -own money-. He is not using loot nor is he forcing his money and actions on anyone. If you don't like what he has to say don't take any money from him, if he offers it to you.
BD did not suggest that Gates should be stopped from doing what he is doing. He did not suggest that what Gates is doing should be illegal, only that it is immoral. His main immorality that BD points out, correctly, is that he is spreading a doctrine of altruism to these Harvard graduates. Instead of telling them about the aspects of his philosophy that got him out of Harvard and made him so rich and productive, he is telling them about this tired altruism that he held all his life and is now taking far more seriously. Instead of telling them about the philosophy of life, he'll telling them about the philosophy of death. Instead of upholding creation as the highest goal, he is upholding distribution as his goal. Edited by softwareNerd

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BD did not suggest that Gates should be stopped from doing what he is doing. He did not suggest that what Gates is doing should be illegal, only that it is immoral. His main immorality that BD points out, correctly, is that he is spreading a doctrine of altruism to these Harvard graduates. Instead of telling them about the aspects of his philosophy that got him out of Harvard and made him so rich and productive, he is telling them about this tired altruism that he held all his life and is now taking far more seriously. Instead of telling them about the philosophy of life, he'll telling them about the philosophy of death. Instead of upholding creation as the highest goal, he is upholding distribution as his goal.

You've put it succinctly, SN. There is indeed a difference between rational politics and rational ethics. Just because we can't stop you doesn't mean we can't judge you.

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You've put it succinctly, SN. There is indeed a difference between rational politics and rational ethics. Just because we can't stop you doesn't mean we can't judge you.

In a free society or even in a semi-free society such as we live in, one can judge anything anyway one pleases. We are all entitled to our own opinions. We are NOT entitled to our own facts.

As to judging, better to judge one's self than others. You are the best judge of your own intentions and views. The only thing in other's you can reasonably respond to is their visible actions and their consequences (which include utterances both verbal and written).

I am thinking of Francisco's (actually Ayn Rand's) discourse on money (she was on the money with that one). Gate's disposal of his resources will have their inevitable consequences. He will end up destroying those he says he wishes to help. No good-seeming deed will go unpunished if it is, in fact, a bad deed. I am sure Gates will live to see his "good intentions" thwarted by cold hard Facts. Is it not written that what is sown is reaped? My only disappointment is that Gates will not be hurt by his misconceived generosity. It will be the people he wishes to "help". When his plans come to naught I am sure Gates will rationalize the failure gloriously.

I add parenthetically that the Karma of Justice is not a wired in law of nature. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Darn!

Bob Kolker

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