Never really associated Bill Gates with BiS and his business world

Yet this approach can be problematic. Bill Gates can become fixed on addressing a problem which is not seen as a priority by local people, in an area, for example, where polio is far from the biggest problem. He did something similar in his education philanthropy in the US where his fixation on class size diverted pubic spending away from the actual priorities of the local community.

24 thoughts on “Never really associated Bill Gates with BiS and his business world”

  1. Jeez! I hope you’re not putting it about I’m a philanthropist. Come on! I steal candy from babies on a daily basis & laugh as I do so. You’ll prize my dosh from my cold dead hands.

  2. From the linked Guardian article:

    “Giving often depends on the personal whims of super-rich individuals. Sometimes these coincide with the priorities of society, but at other times they contradict or undermine them.”

    A rather totalitarian mindset there! Society doesn’t have any priorities, so how can anyone know what they are?

    Different people have different views of what should be social priorities, and we can vote for them or support charities or campaigns to advance them. Frankly, I prefer the social priorities of capitalist philanthropists to those of fake charities and leftist campaigns.

  3. Charity starts at home. It’s easier to squeeze water out of a rock than me giving to these large charities voluntarily. Used to be time when there were more war veterans alive, down and out or struggling otherwise financially, £50 direct charity, no middle-man, no “administration” costs. Or one can support small private hobby societies.

    But a large charity or institution begging for a donation – didn’t you tweet #BLM? Fuck off from my property before I lose my temper!

    I’m sufficiently pumped up now to tackle the garden!

  4. Rich people need hobbies too.

    And we know that a hobby is taken up to serve the interests of the hobbyist not others.

  5. Government spending however is always targeted perfectly and always help people with no unintended consequences nor is affected by the whim of a politician or civil servant.
    As Dogbert said “sometimes sarcasm helps us think more clearly”.

  6. David,

    “Government spending however is always targeted perfectly and always help people with no unintended consequences nor is affected by the whim of a politician or civil servant.”

    You also get into Milton Friedman’s 4 ways to spend money here. Politicians will announce a thing to stop a thing, and then pretty much not give too much of a toss if it actually gets done. I worked on a government project to prevent another Victoria Climbie. The civil servants went round and round in circles for about 2 years before the budget ran out and everyone went home. At no point did we hear that the minister was bollocking people for the lack of delivery. Philanthropists lean towards pulling funding if they don’t see progress, because they care where their money gets spent.

  7. There is no such thing as altruism. If you really look at the motivation for people doing anything, right at the heart they’re increasing their own personal utility. Anyone who says otherwise is talking bollocks. And yes. Feeling your a wonderful, selfless, giving person is increasing your own personal utility.

  8. Oh, there is. In so many cases “altruism” raises the personal utility of the alturist at the expense of others. Mostly, I’d say.

  9. Society doesn’t have any priorities, so how can anyone know what they are?

    Guardian definition of society: “me and my chums”.

    I’m not quite so cynical as BiS on altruism, but I do wonder, if industrialist X spends 40 years being a mercenary shark-eyed bastard, legging over staff, rivals and customers left, right and centre in order to amass $1 billion and then turns philanthropist, giving away that billion before he dies, does that make up for a lifetime’s cuntery?

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    MC September 8, 2020 at 9:56 am – “I do wonder, if industrialist X spends 40 years being a mercenary shark-eyed bastard, legging over staff, rivals and customers left, right and centre in order to amass $1 billion and then turns philanthropist, giving away that billion before he dies, does that make up for a lifetime’s cuntery?”

    I do not know. I am not in a position to judge. But I think that we ought to let them try. In fact we ought to encourage them. They can spend their billions on whatever they like. Maybe it will be enough. Maybe not.

    I think you have to say that Carnegie did a lot of good – apart from that university. Which probably does make up for a lot of union busting and so on. Not that there is anything wrong with that. My grandmother’s home town had a library thanks to him.

    Myself, if I had that sort of money, I would be spending it on alleviating poverty among pretty young girls from Third World regions. Like Glasgow.

  11. “if industrialist X spends 40 years being a mercenary shark-eyed bastard, legging over staff, rivals and customers left, right and centre in order to amass $1 billion and then turns philanthropist, giving away that billion before he dies, does that make up for a lifetime’s cuntery?”

    You have to think opportunity cost & discount rates, here. Every one of X’s dastardly doings has reduced the utility for his victims. But what he disburses later is at his own choice. Surely the people he’s despoiled would have made better choices for themselves, at the time based on better information, than he can on their behalf later?

  12. “where his fixation on class size diverted pubic spending away from the actual priorities”

    well if they’re referring to – lobbying. i.e. spend x money to influence government to spend 10000x on your priorities then there is a point there somewhere.

  13. Am I following his “logic” correctly here – Bill Gates helps alleviate Polio in a poor country but this isn’t a good thing? Because the locals (or some, maybe most of them) would have preferred he improve their sanitation system?

    Also, note the complaint about rising inequality – the poor got 10% richer but it isn’t good because the rich got 11% richer. OTOH, if the poor got 10% poorer and the rich got 111% poorer, Hallelujah!

  14. the point about philanthropy is that it’s a good alternative to private capital accumulation. Guys who accumulated significant capital dispose of it, according to their lights sure, but they dispose of it. Therefore well done you. The thing that worries me is more that it accumulates ad infinitum in the institutions they set up and that are run by individuals that neither accumulated it nor elected to dispose of it…e.g. National trust. Now charitable donations to Oxbridge are one thing, I probably can accept it’s education and improving the minds of a generation. But big Houses and farms?

  15. MC: …giving away that billion before he dies, does that make up for a lifetime’s cuntery?

    No there’s a philosophical poser that need never trouble Capt. Potato.

  16. I’m sure the locals do have different priorities for pubic spending.

    But the charities I loathe most are those that insist on supporting all sides in a war and keep the damn thing going for year after year after year. They also howl and shriek and try to drag the rest of us into the bloody mess as well.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    Boganboy September 8, 2020 at 12:49 pm – “But the charities I loathe most are those that insist on supporting all sides in a war and keep the damn thing going for year after year after year. They also howl and shriek and try to drag the rest of us into the bloody mess as well.”

    In what circle of hell do you put those that try to stop the West defending itself because some darker people elsewhere do bad things? Like 16 year olds in the Navy? Or the Ur-example – the landmine campaign? Which is worse because it involved extensive lying. And Princess Di who, no doubt, would have been called a manipulative sociopath if she were male

  18. SMFS: I’d put them right at the bottom. That’s why I loved Trump pardoning that bloke for whatever he did in Iraq.

    We have an ex-SAS bloke in Oz at present who fought in Afghanistan. Some mob is trying to claim he’s a murderer. I must admit I haven’t tried to find out the details. As far as I’m concerned he’s innocent.

    The only guilty ones are the accusers. I’d fly them straight to Afghanistan and dump them there. I’m sure the Afghans’d take care of them.

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