Bill Gates give us his top 5 favorite books for winter reading

“Izzard’s personal story is fascinating: he survived a difficult childhood and worked relentlessly to overcome his lack of natural talent and become an international star.”

I would say that Izzard has at least one amazing talent; his monstrous level of application. He learns foreign languages and cultures so he can present an act tailored to his audience. He’s run 43 marathons in 51 days. He’s application is practically a super power; I’m sure you could use it to straighten horseshoes.


This. This right here. This is exactly what I mean. Of course it’s a shitty thing to say. But that means it’s the right thing to say: shitty human beings should be said shitty things of.

It’s not that I unaware of the Gates Foundation. If if the Gates Foundation did unadulterated good, it’s still a large net loss for the world. Gates made his money in disgusting and harmful ways: producing third-rate proprietary software pushed onto every body and his brother. Tax money goes to Microsoft, which should be illegal.

But even the Gates Foundation is set up to benefit him - he works with companies he owns heaps of stock in. E.g. they push Monsanto crops onto African countries, which raises Monsanto’s stock values.

Educate yourself.

Your cool middle-school anarchism is, as ever, incredibly uncompelling.

You’re saying that Windows and Office, things that I’d have a hard time being convinced are net losses for the world on their own right, are so heinous that polio vaccinations, feeding underprivileged communities, and getting drinking water to some of them too, are merely drops in the bucket compared to the EVILS perpetrated by software.

It’s just the same dumb internet anarchism that just shouts ‘each the rich’ over and over and is based in a first world viewpoint that espouses being rich as the most evil thing in existence. TAX MONEY GOES TO MICROSOFT! How AWFUL. I mean, it goes there because they sell software and support to state and federal governments, so it’s just as terrible as the Taco place in my state capital doing catering, but let’s ignore that for the sake of your tiny worldview.

Do you even have any evidence of that Monsanto bit? To do so you’d need to know his stock portfolio and I don’t believe that’s public.

I have my own criticisms of Bill Gates. His educational policies in the US are generally opposed by teachers and I think it’s a case of using the wrong data to make decisions. I certainly think that Microsoft’s behavior in the 80’s and 90’s that lead to antitrust lawsuits is reprehensible. Do I think that his time spent in the B&G Foundation is absolutely a huge improvement to the world? Absolutely.


I agree with most of what you said, but the vaccination bit is problematic.

I am in full favour of the idea to wipe out polio. I am grateful that efforts are made, and for every dose funded.

However, the very idea that private entities like the Gates Foundation being effectively in charge of health care issues is a clusterfuck of epic proportions. This firmly belongs into the hands of democratic institutions. With all their flaws, they are the very basis of legitimacy.

Gavi, and other public-private partnerships undermine this. They may decide without transparency, and the donors like the Gates Foundation thus have a massive and uncontrollable influence on one of the core fields of policy: public spending for healthcare.

The WHO budget for fighting epidemics and health crisis is still in decline, as far as I am aware. Doctors without borders, amongst other organisations, have AFAIR stated that this was one of the reasons the recent Ebola outbreak went out of hand. The argument is simple: countries reduce their budget for those issues because the current donors do take that responsibly. However, they then also set the agenda.

Note that they are not accountable, and if they decide to take away money from one issue, and funnel it to another, this has real-world and real-life implications for healthcare planning security in many countries.

I’m not saying they should not be involved, but we need to be aware that the industrialised countries are using the public private partnerships as an excuse not to meet their bloody international obligations.

This might end well.
But I have severe doubts. Especially given that the US, the largest public and accountable donor, is actively promoting PPP since the late 1990. Germany, one of the other large public and accountable donor, is following that lead. IMO, we are bound to be fucked hard by this shift in policy.

FTR, as an afterthought: while I don’t agree with blanket dismissals and name-calling, the link between Monsanto and the Gates Foundation is very real, and has been criticized widely. And you could have googled that yourself. :wink:

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Hey, I think this is all quite a reasonable response and concerns - I think specifically that the downfalls of non-accountable private philanthropy is a very real problem.

Edit: Digging in further to actual court cases, I don’t think that I am as willing to defend Monsanto here, although I’m also not full hog ‘evil evil evil’. In the interest of self-reflection, I’ll leave my previous statement below in italics.

On the Monsanto part, thanks for the link and I apologize for not knowing it ahead of time, but I don’t see as much there news-wise. BMGF seems to basically work with big business (not surprising given Bill’s background), and if you’re working on agriculture, it’s pretty much a no brainer that means companies like Monsanto and Cargill.

It’s also notable that it’s very hard to find reputable reporting on what Monsanto has done wrong. Most of the stuff on the internet is far left fearmongering from rabidly anti-corporatists that are spreading lots of misinformation about GMOs, and many times articles are picking up that dialogue and running with it, without much reporting. I’m probably looking in the wrong places, but even the Guardian article just says the following:

The fact is that Cargill is a faceless agri-giant that controls most of the world’s food commodities and Monsanto has been blundering around poor Asian countries for a decade giving itself and the US a lousy name for corporate bullying._

None of that is an actual actionable complaint. Even now, looking for recent news, it’s all focused around GMO complaints, which I frankly don’t think hold any value. Again, it’s possible that there’s real problems there (and lord knows big business causes real problems all the time) but I haven’t found any.

FWIW: My post history here should make it pretty clear that I don’t think that big businesses are good, but that I think that they’re amoral profit generating machines. However, I also don’t think that makes them evil, and so I really don’t find value in arguments based on that premise.

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(FTR, wow you’re a fast writer.)

Wouldn’t go that far, but my criticism of GMOs is another story. (Biological founded as well as, again, criticism because of systemic problems in regard to ownership etc.)

I’m not that fast writing ATM, but then, this is a thread about books, right? Books take time to write. And to read. :wink:

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Yes. Ultimately, I think that regardless of all of the rest of this, Bill Gates does a fairly thoughtful book list every year and I think it’s worth looking at. I rarely read any of them since they are rarely my cup of tea (a lot of it is stuff that relates to ‘Being A Rich Dude Trying to Fix Things’, which I am very much not’), but I think he puts together a good list.


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