Monday, November 9, 2015

Bill Gates, Climate Change, and the Capitalist System

Richard Ebeling emails:
Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, “Bill Gates, Climate Change, and the Capitalist System,”

In an interview in the “Atlantic” magazine, Bill Gates has argued that capitalism is unable and unfit to face up to the challenge of “climate change” and “global warming.” Businessmen are too short-sighted, too resistant to innovation and improvement, and too narrowly profit-oriented to ever have the incentive or ability to find energy and related solutions to “save the planet” from environmental ruin.
Government guidance, subsidies and “partnerships” with business are Bill Gates’ answer to the problem of “climate change.”

Whatever his business acumen and his own innovative creativity, Bill Gates seems to understand very little of the actual workings of an open competitive market economy or the nature and spirit of entrepreneurship that has transformed more and more of the world from abject poverty to increasing horns of plenty.

And his view of government is a naïve child-like fantasy that ignores the real workings and corruption of the political process.

Environmental and all other social problems have the best opportunity for discovery of solutions when there are individual rights, recognized and enforced property rights, and market-based profit opportunities.

Anything less leaves society faced with the “tragedy of the commons” where communal access and control creates a free-for-all for resources to be over utilized and depleted in wasteful ways that do not take the future properly into account.

And this includes “climate change” and “global warming,” to any extent these problems might actually exist.



  1. Replies
    1. As usual Professor Ebeling is right on target. And as usual he is kind and reasonable when he describes Bill Gates understanding of government as a "naïve child-like fantasy." This is probably accurate but it feels so much better to call him a hubristic crony businessman who is at best an idiot savant regarding computer programing.

    2. Bill Gates or Professor Ebeling? If you think the post is incorrect why don't you state what is incorrect/why you disagree. Calling someone an idiot is not how you sway people to your opinion. Provide intelligence comments and feedbacks and maybe people will not just think of you as a troll.

    3. Really? I thought I made it pretty clear I agree with Prof. Ebeling. Read his work and you will at least see the reasons I agree with him. Bill Gates is quoted that he believes capitalism is "inept" regarding the development of "clean" energy sources. He apparently believes that solar power and windmills are "cutting edge" technology and almost wholly due to government action. And so only "socialism" can solve this "problem." He pledged $2 billion to further the development of such "technologies" because carbon-based energy is apparently contributing to the dreaded "climate change." The scope of his ignorance is breathtaking. Solar power has never been profitable and windmills lost out to the far more efficient oil and gas powered steam and diesel engines. These capitalist funded technologies made great progress in cleaning up our environment long before solar or wind power were being promoted by government. One only has to follow the money to understand that "climate change" is about scaring the citizen into acquiescing to more tax funding of worthless type projects involving solar or wind. These projects can't get voluntary investment so they use fear and government force to coerce funding. He is obviously unaware of or unconvinced by Von Mises. Not to mention socialisms effect on the former soviet union, east Germany, china, Venezuela and Cuba! Not only were/are these countries poor they are polluted. How can he be blind to these examples? If he can't grasp the principles of voluntary trade to mutual benefit he should at least open his eyes to real world examples. Or perhaps he is just another crony businessman conniving to steal what he can't get voluntarily.