Bill Gates shows his true colours after a journalist finally raises the problem with his charity work

Bill Gates

Billionaire Bill Gates has shown his true colours after a mainstream journalist finally challenged his charity work. At the annual meet-up of the world’s financial elite in Davos, New York Times managing editor Rebecca Blumenstein asked Gates:

What do you think of the rising chorus… of philanthropy’s critics? … There’s people who feel… that… for many, philanthropy is a way of not really changing… the fundamental system, but a way of making us kind of feel better… and perpetuating inequalities.

That’s “communism”

Gates seemed to respond by suggesting that the alternative to shareholder capitalism was “communism”:

If people think… communism works better or something… The people who suggest there’s an alternate system, I’ll just respectfully disagree with that – that some radically different system would both create good things and give us the wealth that we should spread in a more equal way.

Fearmongering about communism is the standard oligarch response to questions about systemic issues. But in reality, it’s not as simple as pitting communism against capitalism. Governments actually funded many of the key features that make Gates’s Microsoft technology great, for example. And he then made billions from that. In fact, public funding was behind many of the innovations that make our laptops and phones ‘smart’, including the internet, GPS and touchscreens.

Why hand rich people so much in the first place?

Gates also said:

To me, the system could constantly be tuned. And I’m a believer in a state tax; I’m a believer in more progressive taxation… I think we have a system that works. But we could tune it to achieve more equality. Things like the… tax credits should be made substantially more generous.

But why maintain a system that concentrates so much wealth in so few hands in the first place? A 2019 Oxfam report shows we currently live in a system where 26 people own as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the planet. So why not establish a system that distributes wealth and opportunity more equally? For example, if people pool their money (i.e. through a democratic government), they can fund lifelong universal education, healthcare and housing. And that way, prosperity would be more equally shared from the very beginning. That doesn’t mean communism. It could mean a move towards the kinds of mixed economies of private and public initiatives that work so well in Scandinavian countries.

Admirable aim, better solutions

Gates has pledged to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. This is of course an admirable aim. But poverty itself isn’t just a fact of life that’s made less terrible by Gates’s push for mobile banking in developing countries. It’s created by the system of inherited wealth and privilege that we inhabit – a system very much built on exploitation.

Instead of fearmongering about communism, the Microsoft co-founder should use his influential position to consider and support alternatives.

Featured image via Waleed Shahid/Twitter

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. The practice of corporations using government grants for some research and innovation is a given in many industries such as IT, the auto industry, fuel, and pharmaceuticals. After all we all benefit when schools are furnished with competitive technology through the Gates Foundation. The question is not about money being made but the data mining from huge corporations such as Microsoft, google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. These corporations have powers beyond money. They have a communication monopoly through censorship and the ability to shutdown opposing views with a keystroke. That, my friend is Communism.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.