We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, January 24. 2008
Bill Gates desperately wants the cool kids to like him. And he's decided that kissing some one-world socialist claptrap tail is worth a shot. He went to Davos, Switzerland and embarrassed himself by announcing Compassionate Conservativism by another name is something he just made up. He can't become popular with the faux-leftist set because he doesn't know how to make useless $3000 laptops for the same people that said they wanted to look at the New York Times on their $600 cellphone last week. He doesn't have the knack or the steel rimmed glasses for it, I guess. I wonder if he can grow a beard yet, never mind a perpetual three day one. The cool kids love Steve Jobs because he's a rapacious loser. Bill's a rich generous winner. They hate that.
Whatever. Bill's decided now that he's got so much money that he feels guilty about it, it's time to overturn the board for everybody else that might like to make a living--or a killing--in business. He wants what he terms "Creative Capitalism' now, not the icky kind he pictures in his cubicle rat worldview that's all messy and filled with Bhopal smokestacks and little brown babies with distended bellies on late night TV commercials. They're still on late night TV, aren't they? Or did Sally Struthers eat them all?
Heh. A fat person that used to look sexy pointing at hard-up people and saying "Send me money, or the kid gets it... I mean, they don't get it." That's the Davos ethos in a nutshell. Sally could get a flurry running for president on that platform, too.Here's Gates:
"We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," he told an auditorium packed with corporate leaders and politicians at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. "I like to call this idea creative capitalism."Look, I'm sure that wiser people than I'll ever be will open the intellectual window on this gaseous economic exhalation and let some fresh air in. That's a lot of work. I'm lazy. I just want to point out two things to Mr Smarty Zune Pants.
1. You know nothing about capitalism. You think you're smart, and that all that money you got is like a wage you earned for being so smart. No it's not. The Market has no opinion. The market sent signals to you and others that the thing you happened to be supplying is exactly what many people needed at the moment it was necessary. That's it. It doesn't mean your opinion about any other thing has any merit whatsover. If you had a bad breakfast burrito on the day you were supposed to sign that deal with IBM and stayed on the john all morning instead, a few million other people were qualified to take your place. You rolled double six ten straight times. You didn't invent dice.
2.I'm only going to tell you this once. Capitalism isn't a system. Got that? Capitalism is the lack of a system. Why can't you fools understand this? Capitalism is freedom. All "systems" are the enemies of freedom, because they rely on the opinions of a few-- usually very cranky-- people, instead of on the collective wisdom of everyone acting in their own self interest, tempered by their innate generosity. Capitalism is the unfettered desire and ability of humans to barter with one another and accumulate knowledge and things. That's it. In capitalism, certain institutions arise because the market signals they are necessary in the first place, and supports them after they are established. In general, when people who do not understand this desire of humans to barter and accumulate things attack these useful institutions, they destroy wealth and impoverish people. That confab in Davos is the poster child for that sort of meddling. Repeat after me: Hong Kong-good. North Korea-bad.
You've got it in your head that capitalism is a thing that can be run. And you've got it in your head that people like you are smart enough to run it. The first sentence cancels out the second, doesn't it? You're a naif about money and government. You've just got a pile of the money and are helping in your small, addleheaded way to give all of us an extra heaping helping of the government. No thanks. Making sure kids in Africa have their innoculations up to date before they get hacked to death with a machete seems of dubious utility, if you ask me, but I can't fault you for trying if you think it's worthwhile. But if you had a lick of sense you'd just keep starting businesses there with the money so maybe those kids wouldn't grow up with nothing but machete-hacking jobs available on Third World Monster.com listed on their OLPC. Oops, I forgot. You really only knew how to do that once, by accident, almost; and you've shot your bolt. Microsoft, which being a real live business you're now apparently ashamed of, has done more to push the sum total of human life foward than any charity or NGO you could dream up. Not because you did it. Because it enabled other people to do things you could never even envision, never mind supervise, with your crummy ones and zeroes.
I'd like to remind you of one more thing. Capitalism is like gravity. It just is. You can't fix it. But when the Davos mafia meddles in the Third World, their "Blue Screen of Death" is not a figurative term.
Note to Bill Gates and the Rest of the Doughnuts of Davos
HAMMER. NAIL. BANG! "Capitalism isn't a system. Got that? Capitalism is the lack of a system. Why can't you fools understand this? Capitalism is freedom. All "systems" are the enemies of freedom, because they rely on the opinions of a few-- usually very cranky-- people, instead of on the collective wisdom of everyone acting in their own self interest, tempered by their innate generosity. Capitalism is the unfettered desire and ability of humans to barter with one another and accumulate...
Weblog: AMERICAN DIGEST
Tracked: Jan 25, 13:04
Bill Gates Is Full of Crap
My friends know I don’t like Bill Gates. I mean, I would admire him immensely if he had stayed within his bounds as an extraordinarily talented entrepreneur and left computer systems design and program coding to people with those talents. He woul...
Weblog: Common Sense Junction
Tracked: Jan 25, 16:24
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
"I'm only going to tell you this once. Capitalism isn't a system. Got that? Capitalism is the lack of a system."
You would be wrong:
an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.
You are wrong about everything in this asinine philippic because you're griping in your schizophrenic style about the very thing you want - to say nothing about embarrassing yourself with wild personal attacks that don't come close to reality.
Bill Gates marketed something people wanted and needed at just the right time. (There are questions as to whether he "invented" it. Hello, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak!) You are right on the mark with "You rolled double six ten straight times. You didn't invent dice."
As with the discussion of Tide in another link, he got there first and so is more difficult to displace.
Because of his luck, he thinks he's a genius to whom we all should bow down and listen.
If he is such a "genius" let's see him come up with something really, really new.
Meanwhile, having made his loot via capitalism, he now bemoans the system? Cry me a river!
Gates bemoans the system? Hardly. He's promoting using the system to enable more people to use it. 'Creative capitalism'? What do you think that means? Entrepreneurship, maybe?
Luck? How old are you guys? Early 20's?
Are you at all familiar with how little baby Billy got his foot in the door at Itty Bitty Machines? How his socialite mother was at a benefit, and ran into the VP who was creating the new "personal computer" division, and needed an operating system? And how little Billy's backyard/garage software company was brought up into the conversation. And how "Microsoft" went out and bought DOS from a real software company, licensed it to IBM?
With the introduction of Vista, Microsquish has finally produced a product that SO SHITTY that nobody want's the durn thing. Computer manufacturers are being forced by popular demand to still offer an OS that sort-of, kind-of works (XP) because people now actually have a choice.
Much like Warren Buffet, Gates has used a semi-free-market to make his billions, and now wants to close it off to others. The only difference between them and Soros is that he's being slightly more open about it.
Yes, Blackwing, I do know the early history of the Silicon Valley triumphs. But you guys are mixing extraneous bits into the gist of Roger's complaint: Bill Gates pretending to be the god of some new capitalism. That is the focus of this, not the other crap he threw into his tantrum.
Gates formed a group to figure out a way to save the most people with his money - as opposed to just giving it away. The group figured fighting off or wiping out malaria, the world's number one killer, would save the most people. He and his wife promote and fund reading/educational programs in India and Africa; this new idea of his is to help the 'small' man become his own business man. It is quite an endeavor. Oprah Winfrey opened schools for women knowing that to change a society you must first change the women.
I am a little digusted with people who attack very wealthy individuals who are trying to make a difference. You are picking on Microsoft's OS and losing sight of the larger picture here - Gates is putting his money where his mouth is.
Get a Mac. :)
I must disagree with you...the larger picture is that Bill Gates want to put MY money (and my life) where his mouth is.
What? You don't have to buy Gates' products. And how is it your money once you've forked it over for a product you want?
Bill Gates is a silly guy. Capitalism is a 'system' like human nature is a system. Capitalism is not imposed but exists under certain conditions. Without the rule of law, respect for property as well as contractual obligations there can be no 'capitalism'. Capitalism is human nature acknowleged and respected. Morality based ethical behavior is a prerequisite. If Gates wanted to help, he'd take a page from the capitalists of old and build schools and libraries while annuitizing some of his wealth to pay the freight under specific conditions incumbent upon the goverments where he makes his bequests. Not as much publicity as he gets for making a fool of himself but it would actually be of benefit to those he says he wants to help. Wealth and wisdom are not often found together.
Gates does all those things you mentioned. He also shuns publicity; this Davos meeting an exception, but he cannot work alone.
I read an article about how the Catholic church determines who will become a saint. The three individuals profiled in the article were Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Bill Gates. The author was from India and detailed the work of each for India. He gave Gandhi credit for releasing India from the hold of Britain without violence. He said Mother Teresa, now a saint, did indeed spend her life among the poor and ran a hospital for the poor (untouchables). He noted that despite immense monies her hospital was far from modern and that most patients slept on cold floors. Then he talked about Bill and Melinda Gates' efforts to help the poor with books, schools, computers and many visits to the country to try and spread that help around. Their presence in India has, according to the author, done more to lift up the poor in India than Mother Teresa or Gandhi. It was not a hit piece on any of the three, though perhaps a dig at the Catholic church, and he seemed more pondering than judgmental. How does one measure altruism? That is what he asked. He believed it is measured in the number of people one person can help. Gates was it.
(I don't have the source for the article, but it was either TIME or U.S. News & World Report.)
This seemed an apropos recipe for our enfant terrible, Meta.
Jalapeno Pie Mini Tarts
"These 'hot' mini cheese and jalapeno tarts are always the first to go at parties. They are quick and easy to make."
PREP TIME 5 Min
COOK TIME 10 Min
READY IN 15 Min
SERVINGS & SCALING
Original recipe yield: 24 mini tarts
1 (16 ounce) jar sliced jalapeno peppers
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Monterey Jack cheese
6 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease mini tart pans.
Placed desired amount of jalapenos in tart pans. Cover with Monterey Jack cheese. Fill almost to the top with egg. Sprinkle with parsley.
Bake in the preheated oven 10 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned. Cool 1 to 2 minutes before removing from tart pans.
After removing hot tarts from pans, pack them up and hire Roger's plane for a quick jaunt to Africa. Once over Africa, reheat tarts and throw them out of the plane onto the heads of useless little pickaninnies so they won't grow up into hatchet men.
Tart on! Mofo's...TART ON!
Nicely browned nummie napalm for the nappy headed natives of Nairobi?
So Bill Gates is biting at the ankles of a system that made him wildly rich - way beyond what most people would consider deserved (though the markets only listen to the 'people' via their wallets). Getting that rich has got to leave a mark. I guess. Odd, though, that a famous guy that "shuns publicity" about his philanthropy has been the face of philanthropy in the US over the last couple years (okay, second to Bono). Shunning publicity would be not showing up at the various press conferences called to educate us rubes about a new dimension to Mr. Gates' wonderfulness. And about helping the poor. But mostly Mr. Gates' wonderfulness.
Once again, it’s all about technology (and I suppose population - if one of the sociology-shrinks wants to go there) and who controls it.
Capitalism would be the perfect self-correcting, self-improving “not a system” system, if it weren’t for the fact that ramificatory difficulties and unpredictability increases as power increases and concentrates.
I’ve always wanted to use my new word “ramificatory” somewhere.
Bill learned, understood and played the system to get what he wanted. One of his classic techniques was to pose as one thing (once, the innovative software wizard geek), while actually being another (the brilliant and ruthless system manipulator). His latest developments may be a variation of the same old M.O, which I believe is closest to his innate nature.
Human beings tend to serve their self-interests benefiting others in the process. Freedom and respect for others in an environment of minimal coercion is the ideal. To paraphrase Gates, "We need to ...". 'We', as used by Gates, doesn't do anything other than increase the coercive power in the hands of the state. Advocating the creation of the atmosphere for 'capitalism' within the context of ordered liberty would do more than speaking of some 'new' kind of 'creative' capitalism to serve those suffering under statism. What he's saying is really kind of dumb since he presupposes capitalism, rather than the lack of capitalism, at fault. When human nature changes and a 'system' more creative than capitalism magically appears, Gates may have a point. Until then, Gates is only playing games with words and offering nothing other than a rationale for more power in the hands of those most removed from 'capitalism' or those who benefit from a rigged game.
"own self interest, tempered by their innate generosity"
Tempered by their *innate generosity*...???
Are you serious???
Sure, capitalism looks like freedom but...
Capitalism is cold, has no heart.
It is walk or die.
It is only the strongest survive.
It is whatever it takes.
It is the end justifies the mean.
If you have the bad luck of being born "weak", capitalism will stomp on you and crush you.
Most of the time, the strongest will prey on the weak.
They will bully them, rob them, attack them.
Personaly, I believe in helping others.
Will some abuse it, certainly.
Is it a reason to just give it up? Nope.
Just stop the abuses.