But He’s Not The First Tech Billionaire To Do It
Bill Gates is renewing his criticism of capitalism, joining a long line of anti-capitalist billionaires.
Speaking at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Global Grand Challenges Summit on Wednesday, Gates lambasted capitalism, saying it “means male baldness research gets more funding than malaria,” Wired Magazine reports.
Gate’s claim came in the context of a speech about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, his $36.4 billion philanthropic effort that aims to focus technology and innovation initiatives on the needs of the poor worldwide.
Gates, who is currently the richest man in America, is far from the first tech billionaire to speak out against capitalism. Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Media Empire, famously said “capitalism has lost its way” in the forward of his 2011 book, Screw Business As Usual. At the book’s press launch, Branson said, “The short-term focus on profit has driven most businesses to forget about the important long-term role they have in taking care of people and the planet.”
Billionaire investors Warren Buffet and George Soros have also criticized American capitalism, as has billionaire filmmaker George Lucas. But many call these moguls hypocritical — even if they start foundations or pledge much of their own wealth to charitable causes, they still made billions and now seek to devalue others who want to do the same, critics say. “Not by accident did the expression ‘limousine liberal’ enter the American political lexicon years ago (in the late 1960s) as a pejorative term to ridicule the hypocrisy of left-wing anti-capitalists living the high life made possible by capitalism,” Richard M. Salsman wrote in Forbes, reacting to Buffet’s critique of capitalism.
Poor Bill Gates. He may be part of an elite coalition of anti-capitalist billionaires, but he still can’t be the cool kid.