Bill Gates' net worth hits $90B, proving Thomas Piketty's point


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/23/bill-gates-net-worth-hits-9.html


#2

No, actually, he’s not–I’m paid to do it for him. I mean, only peasants cry into their own (cheap) food.


#3

paid? the job you describe sounds like an excellent position for an unpaid intern. just think of the great CV entry!


#4

But wouldn’t the response from that capitalist simply be that while those investors themselves may not be inventing, they are being rewarded for injecting capital into markets that is fueling others to now invent? I mean, that’s another crock of shit to unpack, but wouldn’t the be the immediate counterargument?


#5

Yup, there’s always some bullshit justification.

90 billion dollars is enough to write a check for $20,000 to literally every person in America under the poverty line, and still have 10 billion left over.


#6

Piketty’s basic thesis isn’t all that new - Aristotle said the same thing. It’s all in how he unfolds it.


#7

The Gates has also donated $28 billion to charity (or so it is claimed). Otherwise his fortune would be even larger.


#8

PIketty has the data to back it up though.


#9

Not long after Capital in the 21st Century’s English publication, Bill Gates reviewed the book, saying nice things about it but rejecting its core thesis.

Excuse me Mr Gates, with all due respect you are a tech mogul who created one of the most dominant operating systems in the world (albeit a crappy OS). At what point did you become a financial expert wherein you have any education, knowledge, or experience to reject said thesis?

Sort of like my 74 yr old father who “rejected” the home inspection on his house saying that the home inspector doesn’t know the housing codes and what he is talking about. Yeah…he is a professional home inspector, you are a retired executive from a jewelry company…yeah, you know so much more than him.


#10

I no economist, which is likely why I have no idea why there was a need for a study here. Money invested doesn’t give flying fig what you’re doing while it’s compounding.


#11

If he paid $90B for the breakfast cereal you’re crying in you actually aren’t going to be paid this month. I guess that’s the motivator.


#12

He’s a smart guy… if he were a dumb guy he could still say whether or not he liked a book.


#13

Que the conservative reply: “Yeah, but you know they’d just spend it on booze and drugs…”


#14

Count me among those who only tried to read Piketty’s book.
I dunno’, maybe accepting the premise makes the numbers heavy supporting information less compelling.
Or maybe not.
Like I say I probably won’t ever know.


#15

Why should it be required that he have specific credentials to challenge an idea? Some of the greatest advancements in society and science have come out of the heterodoxy. I’m not saying that Bill Gates is correct, I happen to think he isn’t, but to reject an idea ad-hominem with factually incorrect statements is not a good way to make a point.

A better way to make the point might be to notice that Bill Gates didn’t create one of the most dominant operating systems in the world, instead he created a largely unsuccessful OS for a mostly forgotten platform, and use the revenue from that to buy what later became the one of the most dominant operating systems in the world.

Even the so called “Bill Gates the entrepreneur” was well into the capital make more capital phase. Selling ideas and buying other people’s work to fill in what he couldn’t, or didn’t have time to, create.


#16

Well, yeah. The more of something you have, the easier it is to get more of that thing. That is with anything, money, cows, corn, clothes hangers. You can more or less “farm” money like you do crops, planting it, tending it, and harvesting it later.

So while on one hand, this seems crazy that someone like gates can “grow” his money, is he DOING anything wrong?

Most of us attempt to grow SOME money in our retirement funds or modest investments. I imagine Cory has some money invested in something, and I assure you it eclipses mine.

So I get the frustration that you see this sort of hording or increase of wealth with out any actual innovation or work - but what does one propose? How is it OK if you or I do this on a small scale, but it is bad on a large scale? What is the cut off point? Do you just make it illegal to invest more than $X per year?

Also, isn’t this basically how banks make money? The more money they have, the more they can loan out, the more they get back in interest payments.

And at least with Bill Gates, he is doing some good with his wealth with his charity work.


#17

you also have to take into account that Gates is the largest philanthropist the world has ever seen. he makes large, public statements about giving your wealth away and even started “The Giving Pledge” with Warren Buffett that stipulates you will give at least 50% of your wealth away to organizations outside your family. (i think both Warren and Bill have pledged to give away somewhere in the 90% area…


#18

I don’t see how this proves Piketty’s point, Gates was worth zero when he was building computers in his garage. He arguably mainstreamed the most significant consumer product to date. Would the personal computer eventually have been produced in some less capitalist country and delivered to the masses? Doubtful, but possible.

The point is that Gates didn’t steal 90 Billion from well deserving hard working people’s share of the pie. He made the pie hundreds of billions of dollars bigger and many benefited. Silicon valley and all of its wealth doesn’t exist without Bill Gates. He should be celebrated.


#20

Duh. Do the math. Once you have so much, it will grow forever unless you start spending like a madman. This we all want to do, but to live a simple middle class life, for the rest of your life, it only requires about a million dollars. Then you pass it on to your kids who spend it like mad men!


#21

But what about the trickles?