"We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a more creative capitalism—if we can stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities," he said.Gates knows what he's talking about. Since mid-80s his company has aggressively copied, purchased or suffocated companies with technology superior to Microsoft's. Lately Microsoft has taken to exploiting our broken US patent system and threatening its competition with patent lawsuits. Apparently that's where he learned to "stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit." Maybe he meant to say, ".. so that more Microsoft divisions can make a profit."
Imagine how different Microsoft may have been if Gates hadn't dropped out of Harvard and was similarly influenced by another infinitely wealthy person advocating then what Gates is today.
Gates also said we can press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that better reflect the values of the people who pay the taxes.Here's a simple question: Who do you think better represents "the values of the people who pay the taxes," a) government or b) the people who pay the taxes? If you selected b it's a good bet you believe you know your values better than the government does. It's important to remember it doesn't matter which party controls the governor's mansion, state legislature, white house or congress. No one knows your personal values better than you do--except perhaps the charities cashing your checks.
Gates went on to say:
"If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world. This task is open-ended. It can never be finished. But a conscious effort to answer this challenge will change the world."Gates seems convinced the solution to poverty can be found in politics. All at once he admits it can't be solved but proposes the government be responsible for administering our charitable dollars in perpetuity (for recent Harvard grads, that means forever).
It's hard to argue with success, but being rich doesn't make Gates right. I recently learned that from Dr. Timothy Dowd in his Introduction to Logic class at Oakland Community College. True, OCC is a long way from Harvard, but the lesson is worth more than Harvard's tuition. The fallacy is called argumentum ad crumenam, which is Latin for "argument to the purse." Admittedly, Gate's purse is bigger than most, but his success is in the software business, not social policy, and it's in software business management and related technologies (like monopolies).
Like dropping out, Gates wants graduates to do what he says and not as he does. Bill's not donating his foundation's billions to the government. He's spending those dollars consistent with his and his wife's values. Warren Buffet, another of the world's richest men, also contributed $1 billion to Gate's foundation. Apparently, Buffet doesn't trust the government to reflect his values either.
But Bill says you should.
Bill's talking-down to his audience may be evidence of arrogance or paternalism--or guilt. Until we learn otherwise let's give Bill the benefit of the doubt and believe he just wants us to to help him, through our taxes, donate to causes he believes in. Wait... that's just like another open-ended task of paying to upgrade Windows from 95 to 97 to XP, Vista and whatever comes after that because Microsoft's revenue is a cause Gates believes in.
Hold on to your wallets. There's a whole new graduating class from Harvard planning to help you empty it.