Friday, June 8, 2012

The Aggregative Central Planning Thinking of Bill Gates

Bill Gates has a web site, The Gates Notes, he just uploaded to the site books he read during a recent vacation. You can find the list here.

What's noteworthy about the list is that most of the books seem to come from a macro-aggregative view of the world. There are books about abundance, austerity, limits to growth and, of course, energy. Not one damn book that would seem to come into print if the authors and readers understood the basics of supply and demand, and marginal utility. There are no macro themes of abundance and limits to growth, if one understands that the economy adjusts to increases and decreases in supplies of goods and services.

It seems that Gates has his head very much in a Malthusian cloud.

Also noteworthy is his lack of books on business cycle and monetary theory. Given the financial crises in the world, one would think that this would spark some interest. Or has he concluded that cycles are just a part of nature and one should just plow on?


  1. Bill Gates is in the trap of thinking there needs to be a policy to fix everything.

  2. The disconnect comes because we are conditioned to think that if someone is good at one thing (computer code) and becomes a billionaire doing it, that they are good at everything.

    A more accurate way of looking at billionaires is as idiot savants - uncommonly gifted at one thing, but pretty much suck at everything else. Often their personal lives are a disaster and they are driven in pursuit of the little ones and zeros that count their paper "wealth". There is absolutely nothing wrong with money or having money. The problem arises when you lose sight of the fact that it is just a tool. Think of it as a magnifier. It can be used for the greater good or evil. Because of this, wealth can be extremely dangerous because it magnifies both the best and worst in our natures.

    "There's only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off." Forrest Gump