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Anthropologist Debunks Bill Gates' BS Narrative That Free-Market Capitalism Has Solved Crisis of Global Poverty


Anthropologist Debunks Bill Gates' BS Narrative That Free-Market Capitalism Has Solved Crisis of Global Poverty

Julia Conley, staff writer

Anthropologist and author Jason Hickel swiftly disabused readers of a narrative offered by Microsoft founder Bill Gates this week, rejecting the billionaire's statement on Twitter that "people underestimate just how much life has improved over the last two centuries."


Walk a Mile in My Shoes


Selling the idea that “Free” markets which are actually monopolies solve problems is one of Reagan’s greatest achievements. He made the Milton Friedman, Ayn Rand nonsense seem like words from Socrates or Christ.


Oh, let’s drop everything and listen to the master of planned obsolescence. Just because he’s successful at making money doesn’t mean we should listen to a word from this billionaire jerk. He doesn’t even come close to knowing what stress is involved living paycheck to paycheck.


And maybe more importantly, as the “Middle Class” in the U.S. and Europe has fallen off a cliff, the “improvements” in the rest of the world brought on by that are not fantastic. How many of those lifted out of extreme poverty (going by the $1.90 a day! mark) are now living in just plain 'ole poverty and how many formerly Middle Class people in the West have fallen into poverty? And how much WEALTH has been generated/lost by any of these people (ie - how much in assets do any of these people have to ensure a better future for their kids)? Seems like everyone is just getting by day-to-day except for the extremely wealthy - like Gates.


I completely agree with Jason Hickel. During the past 200 years, since the industrial revolution, the world has developed so much technology that we have created more wealth than could ever have been imagined. In a fair world there should be no such thing as poverty anymore. The sad fact is that as we grew steadily richer we also grew more selfish. If all this wealth were shared, no one would be poor, hungry, disadvantaged or dying prematurely. It is the monopolistic capitalist system that has created this extreme inequality we see today, and which continues to exploit it to the benefit of the few. A return to the commons would be a good start in reducing this inequality and massive inequity.


Gates is correct, the oligarchs and plutocrats have solved poverty as far as they are concerned …now that about fifty of them have more wealth than all the people of world wide poverty combined. Thank you Free Market Capitalism. I would be happy if this tablet computer had an operating system that worked half the time.


“those defending poverty line you should be willing to live on it. Lookin’ at you, Bill.”

Best line of the day.


Sure, Bill Gates embraces the principle of wealth concentration and plutocracy, so he’s OK with 26 billionaires owning as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the world’s population (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/jan/21/world-26-richest-people-own-as-much-as-poorest-50-per-cent-oxfam-report)

A larger problem is that, among many of the leaders of the world’s top businesses, in most university business, economics, and engineering programs, and among much of the US population in general, capitalism is accepted as the only approach to economics.


The other truth about this vast wealth is that it is, to a very large extend, being subsidized by future generations. From the fossil fuel profiteers that have made up much of the world’s energy sector for the last 100 years, to modern data storage barons like Amazon, their wealth is being generated by future generations who will have to deal with the devastation these operations inflict on the environment.


Very true. Unfortunately, rather than identifying the injustices and abuses of Reagan, Bill Clinton decided to direct the Democrats to drink the Randian cool aid and sought to prove to Wall Street that Democrats are more capitalist/plutocrat friendly than Republicans.


A Bono fide hypocrite of the first order


The site discussed in the article–Our World in Data–was the basis for Steven Pinker’s latest book, “Enlightenment Now.” A good friend of mine urged me to read it to alleviate some of my pessemism. “He’s got data!” she enthused. Out of good faith, I read almost 200 pages before I reached my limit. Yup, he’s got data. That doesn’t mean it is particularly valid for its purposes or that it has been correctly interpreted. And it doesn’t enable the extraordinary generalizations put forth. Nevertheless, the neoliberals love it because it feeds their delusions that they’re good people. Wrong on that count, too.


Thanks for this…we should share it widely. I am always amazed by how many people make this ridiculous argument…that neoliberal capitalism is eradicating poverty. It’s contradicted even in the richest country, the US of A…where stagnant wages and eroding lifestyles are a factor in the election of T-Rump…

These wealth creators create wealth for themselves and their class…for the 99 % its poverty, and poverty’s twin precarity, that they create. It is madness…and a special kind of evil.

As a mother, grandmother, and teacher, I can’t forgive them. And as for their bullshit ideology and love of capitalist acquisition? It’s beneath contempt.


Gates give the ordinary douche a bad name. Bowl cut boy just can’t help lying.

A world of subsistence agriculture where people at least had homes and the ability to grow some food and access the basics of life. Their lives were mostly theirs. All that stolen with the rise of the industrial age and capitalism. Forced into cities in massive pockets of sheer misery that would have been unimaginable in the early 19th century around most of the planet.


“Bowl cut boy”…I like it…


And by “we” you of course mean “they,” with any increase in greed by “us” resulting from the conditions that “they” have created. No, I am not being facetious: “we” had little or no voice in how the Industrial Revolution unrolled.


That, happily, is beginning to change. The generation of economists now coming into their professional maturity and gaining influence, those between about 45 and 70 years old, are a whole different animal. Two off the top of my head: Yanis Varoufakis, and Stephanie Kelton (web search).


Best takedown of “Big Data” and Pinker I’ve seen, and well deserved.


There are more progressive economists then in the past decade or so. A good chunk to of these folk seem to be focused on deGrowth. Sadly, i don’t see evidence of any this having much impact on business or engineering .