Monday, January 25, 2010

Bill Gates as a Public Figure

This past year was Gates' first year working full time on the Gates' Foundation. He put out an annual letter and has been going on the morning circuit with his views on various policy issues.

ABC News article and video with George Stephanopolous

article at PCWorld

Breakthough Institute blog

He has come out in support of bank fees and tax increases. At the same time, he seeks to moderate people's expectations in the government's ability to make a full recovery, saying that the government is limited in what it can really do. According to Gates, the best thing the government can do for the economy and for social equity is invest in education. The government needs to focus on long term goals. I think changing people's expectations would help a lot or else Scott Browns are going to get elected everywhere.

His main interest is in health services. He talked about the need for innovation in health and the need for more pills. What about preventative measures and things like diet, though? He also notes that we need a lot more investment in clean energy and he downplays the effectiveness of energy efficiency measures. He is right about the lack of funding of clean energy in the US, but I wonder what he would think about the concept of a steady state economy, less work hours, and less material throughput.

He even had a diplomatic analysis of the Google v. China free speech issue.

He has an interesting blog

It's interesting how billionaires like Gates and Warren Buffet have much more credibility than any actual politicians. On the one hand, it makes sense because they are proven to be successful people. On the other hand, it's a little sad because I don't think there are any politicians that people really trust.

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