There are a lot of fun things popping up in this particular world. Firstly, why would anyone consider it important to know what Bill Gates' people think that we should think that Bill Gates thinks about Piketty? That one has the best answer, so we'll do it last. Secondly, why would anyone consider it important to know what Bill Gates thinks about Piketty? That's a fun issue, because it deals with the celebritization of the wealthy. You know: Paris Hilton is famous because she's famous, not because she contributed anything valuable to humanity and/or planet. Lots of people fawn over sports stars, which is several orders of magnitude more intelligent than caring about non-sports rich people--there's still an element of reality in some mental and physical aspects of even American sports competition, such that you can genuinely appreciate the occasional moment of prowess or ingenuity. Being fair to all parties involved, Bill Gates didn't do anything more creative than a mob boss' son. He went to California, got some of grandpa's friends to give him some money to pay some programmers to develop a shitty ripoff of a product designed by programmers working under license from Xerox capital, bribed his way to a market monopoly, and became rich. Any half-intelligent asshole could've accomplished the same thing, if they'd had the right mommy and daddy to get them on the list to the right developers venture meeting, then give them a few million to buy exclusive rights to future royalties on several thousand other peoples' independent ideas. Yet, like the bourgeois of all the western ages, everyone fawns over little Lord Fauntleroy once he's all grown up, sure that, somewhere under all that powder and makeup, he has some non-genetic secret to success. So yes, we ask George Lucas for tips on pitching unsolicited scripts to Hollywood, we read about how Bill Gates fought his way up from the alleys with a can-do attitude, and we ask Warren Buffett how to turn our yearly $32K into our first million, because he's obviously done that before.
Yawn. Earth. Long live the king. Anyhow, thirdly, what in the world could have motivated Piketty, or anyone, to believe that it was necessary to write a book about how rich people will get richer because they're rich? Jesus could at least claim a lack of access to libraries, but really, folks--there's a great controversy over whether or not rich people will get richer? Yes, there's supposed to be such a controversy. The rich people pretend that anyone can get rich, while some of the fawning underclass pretends the same. Everyone who knows how to read Piketty or listen to Cohen, though, has already reached the conclusion that the poor stay poor and the rich get rich. We're not Joe the Plumber or Newt Gingrich here, right? Barring the occasional token lottery winner or slam-dunker, the superficial game has closed doors, and the real game is invitation only, and does not include tokens. Ergo it's staggeringly--truly staggeringly--stupid, at first glance, that anyone would have to write, anytime since the invention of "debt" or "taxes," a book describing how rich people are going to be rich at the expense of poor people.
So why does Piketty write the book? He's a safe outer edge. It's part of the elite's destructive cycle. Every so often, some financially-comfortable theorist is expected to produce a book behind which a peaceful, theoretically-minded set of bourgeois can fret. Like "Hope and Change" for western liberals, or "End Obamacare now" for western conservatives, it's part of a staged rebellion, designed to steer discontent into an ephemeral discussion, away from anything that could cause actual change. Obama and Romney were united in wanting more war, more torture, and more ways to use the police to force hard workers to tithe the priestly class of owners, and if they'd spent their debates cackling and showing their middle fingers to the cameras, promising to steal your money and bomb the world, there's a small chance that some proles might turn their sense of wrongness into the act of pursuing effective change. Similarly, Piketty, like all intelligent economists, knows that you can make your comfortable living through a combination of (1) the right background, and (2) producing convoluted theories that please either the proud bourgeois or the guilty bourgeois. Piketty chose the latter, producing over 600 pages of an argument about how rich people will become richer, whereas the larger group of economists, who made a Romney-like show of criticizing Piketty's book, talk about how anyone can become richer through gumption. Write Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and you give everyone just what they want: an excuse to recycle the same talking points they've been covering their entire bloviating lives, in the context of yet another guy's adapting of the old material, replete with a few updated company and country names. Pressure release valve. Piketty says the obvious so that the other obviousers have something to obvious about. Printing Capital... is like mailing dead fetus pictures to NOW--you know they aren't going to give a shit, and that they've already seen the pictures, but you want to tweak their noses in hopes of getting some predictable attention. Reading Capital... with enjoyment is like looking through your own album of dead fetus pictures, in order to remind yourself just how much you dislike abortion. You already know; you're just getting off again.
Go on, then--write another impassioned plea to The Economist under the belief that the plight of the children will "get through their skulls." That plight is already in there, just like it's already in your skull, and it's not a question of debate. They've all seen the skinny, gut-bloated, maggot-strewn African baby corpses, and they don't give a fuck; more importantly, you know they don't give a fuck, and you know that they will continue not to.
Here are the only two real argumentative positions produced by the past thousand years of economics:
1) Rich people occur because they are better or harder working, or maybe, occasionally, because they got lucky, but were smart enough to jump at the right moment.
2) Rich people occur because they are crony bastards who came up with clever ways to justify receiving the results of others' work, or maybe in extremely rare circumstances because they got lucky.
Stupid people make Argument #1, and even stupider people make Argument #2, because if you understand Argument #2 and aren't holding a pitchfork, you're part of the problem. Piketty uses a little non-abstruse math to liken himself to Einstein (r>g), remaking obvious points about how accumulations of capital will grow larger faster than working scum can "catch up." Duh. Yes, the nobles have a mountain of gold. They grant all permits and license all trades. They toll all roads and tariff every good. They arbitrarily enforce takings clauses, monitor all publications and conversations, and ensure that all public arguments and policy changes occur within a carefully proscribed realm of acceptability. Ergo they will continue to be rich. Wow, Piketty, you wrinkled my brain with that stunner.
Same argument, evolution argument--the situation as we find it is a result of our inherent personal superiority, built into which means our ability to capitalize on those tiny, rather insignificant pieces of luck that we probably created anyway by our own coolness (and which poor/extinct beings lacked, therefore gone). Bill Gates is a #1, and so long as the London School of Economics produces a constant stream of "We are superior," and the occasional outlying radical like Piketty produces a "There might be a tiny problem here which can be peacefully addressed through academic arguments and legislative adjustments," things will continue as they are. It's part of how it works. You have a problem with the movies for all being sequels or comics knockoffs? Well, have a problem with economics, too.
What Bill Gates' people think that we should think about what Bill Gates thinks
Back to Bill. Over the past few thousand years, we've seen a shift in how the antilife elite conceal themselves in plain sight. They pretended to be gods for a while, and they used tribal identity and presumed blood connections; those became considered semi-archaic, so to prevent change, they developed formalized nobility, and to continue preventing change, they made formalized nobility seem archaic, and developed fiscal nobility. It was the same old story--everyone is human, but the gods choose some people to elevate to godhood; everyone is human, but our blood is stronger, and I lead the tribe; everyone is human, but noble blood is superior; everyone is human, but some meritoriously earn godhood through wealth.
As we move through the latter phase of this ongoing process, we're reaching a point of critical mass on our coagulated perceptions that the whole "rich" thing might be less than fair. This means the system needs to create an artificial change, maintaining roughly the same elite bloodlines while appearing to neutralize the problems of the past. In essence, we paganists have begun to figure out that Ra did not actually appoint Pharaoh to get all the women and olives--or at least, that if Ra did do it, he is our enemy. For Earth 2014, that equates to enough people dull-wittedly figuring out, over the course of hundreds of years, that Andrew Carnegie and Sam Walton weren't actually self-starting go-getters with a lot of pluck and determination, but cruel thieves who inherited the spoils of their parents' piracy, and who continued the family tradition of stealing the work product of millions upon millions of other people, leaving death and destruction and, most importantly, unfairness in their wake. "Maybe," we ask, "as billions starve and explode, while a tiny coterie of smiling faces accumulates wealth that could build paradise, there is something wrong."
That's a big step; it really is. "There's something wrong." Wow. Kind of gives you pause. It's like seeing the second picture within the picture, the way the lady's face is really a carefully angled cockroach leg, and once you see it it's really wacky when everyone is admiring the lady and you realize the picture is a trick. Most people have realized there's something a bit buggy about it, and we can argue all day about praying mantises or freemasons, but it really is quite the development--that moment when you can no longer see just the lady, for whatever reason.
What Bill Gates' people think that we should think about what Bill Gates thinks is important, because Bill Gates' people are helping effect the elites' transitional argument: the transition from "rich people are rich because of merit" to "there are no rich people." The same parasite will continue sickening humanity, extracting wealth and stifling progress, but in an even more subtle way. This is going to be the next great battleground. It has taken popular culture over a century to reach even the limited level of understanding that we now have about the relationship between the things we call freedom, democracy, and money. As discontent began to grow with the European aristocracy, and people took several centuries to realize that the "noble blood" argument was a sack of shit, the parasitic elite spawn was able to survive by making the shift to...drumroll...no more political power being expressly granted to aristocracy. There are still some ceremonial nobilities out there among the world's less intelligent peoples, but formal power has been moved to the "free competition" realm, where "wealthy" people, rather than "nobles" (hint: they're the same people) appear to rule by a more deserved, rational form of virtue.
We discussed earlier transitions of this type in this series, looking in particular here about how charities operate to hide exclusive power in plain sight. Just as the elimination of formal nobility made it plausible for another few hundred years of hell, slaving for the same lazy bastards for different make-believe reasons, the elimination of individual-specific wealth will generate the same, all while making it appear that there is no elite. Remember the greatest trick Satan ever pulled? Elites will use charities to make it seem that they have vanished entirely; that everyone is equal; that, not only are there no nobles, but there is no private wealth whatsoever. There will be so many Chinese walls of governmental agencies, trusts, and business organizations, that it will be extremely difficult for future social critics to even identify that there is a problem.
Elites' transfer away from formal nobility as a justification for power had that same effect, for hundreds of years. Even today, you can find poor people in red states who genuinely believe that powerful people are powerful because they "worked hard" or "were smart." Squealing about Stalin and Mao, they insist that billionaires are a combination of brilliance and luck, and have learned in the Randian style to blame any unfairness they perceive on the poor, who somehow have greater power to repress economies than do billionaires. The elite shift to charity will cause the same effect: in two hundred years, when someone complains that all the best Foundation jobs and benefits go to a tiny subset of people who seem well-connected in other ways, everyone else will accuse the complainer of laziness and sour grapes, sure that the new charitable meritocracy is actually a meritocracy. The same defensive fantasy will be deployed by the wishfully stupid to justify the contrasts: "It's not like these are the days of Trump and Buffett, man! He started out dirt poor, just like us did!"
(If you're inclined to foreshadowing, elites have even more devious things planned to make the charitable phase last longer. Think "Pre Forbes Magazine," where even fewer people know who is really rich and who's just bourgeois. The charitable legal entities that control power will have the extent of their ownership, operations, and C-level control policies concealed behind a veneer of security and personal privacy. Charities themselves will be broken apart into a maze of sub-sub-subdivisions, so that it will become a conspiracy theory to claim that any given fifteen operations, which on the surface conduct completely different kinds of business, are actually descendants of Komen, designed to give the right peoples' kids cushy tax-free executive jobs for life.)
And so, the show went on. Here's an example from Part 6:
Example: in a bad year, Bill has $56 million of income. To avoid paying it to the IRS, he donates it to the Bill Foundation. The Bill Foundation has, as one of its charitable purposes, eliminating stubbed toes in rural China. Bill and thirty of his friends attend a conference near John Hopkins University on the problems of stubbed toes, staying at a nearby Hilton resort, where they host a charity ball for doctors and other donors. Jackson Browne and Jerry Seinfeld are paid to appear and entertain the guests as they eat $200 plates and drink $300 bottles.The "charity" is not charity in the sense that the word was once created; rather, it is yet another way that elites have come up with to hide the true extent of their power and coordination from the humans they farm. What we now call charitable operations are simply ways of making elites' pleasurable activities appear selfless, of making deductible the endless vacations and power brokering that elites would be doing anyway to coordinate their strategy. Going to balls for charity; building mansions for charity; traveling the world for charity; eating for charity; socializing for charity; being entertained and educated for charity: patently ridiculous connections, yet as ordinary as a president playing golf while the world burns. This is the same con nobles have been running for a long time, where they would finance wars of European succession, then hold charity balls to raise funds for "our troops"--which proved that they contributed as much to the war effort as those who were shooting and being shot. Of course--ironically, but not admittedly--they were contributing more to the war effort, by establishing wars, albeit not contributing in the way that they were pretending to (risking their bodies in the theoretical physical defense of their country).
Bill and company tour Hollywood, meeting actors, eating out, watching films and shopping while raising awareness about this crucial issue. They end up on a cruise ship that takes them through Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, where they meet with a few local doctors and visit some villages where the children have been afflicted with stubbed toes. The ship moves on to mainland China, where Bill recuperates in the finest hotels, preparing for an important meeting with a local health official. In exchange for promises of donations from the Bill Foundation to local medical clinics, the official makes sure that Bill has plenty of time to get to know the city's ins and outs, make some good contacts, and come home with some really nice memories and souvenirs.
(On the potential social utility of rounded educations: remember Jane Austen? Half those country dances the girls were going to were held under the auspices of raising funds for some "cause." But what they really were for was for gentlemen to coordinate the seizure of village commons and the land of independent farmers, the transfer of rural populations into urban workhouses, the ethnic cleansing of the Irish, endless war against the Archduke, and which estates would be blended through marriage. The "cause" for which elites hold galas, for public health or education or social improvement of any kind, is always and every time a cover for what they're really doing. "The humanities" was always better at portraying and predicting human behavior than "economic science" ever was.)
The previously-cited Part 6 goes into more detail about how elites use charities to exempt trillions of dollars of wealth, permanently, from outside control of any kind, and how those charities then serve as private networking for elite families, providing venture capital, lifetimes of profitable employment, and an endless veneer of "giving" and "philanthropy" to what are, in truth, private wealth transfers. Where once the billionaire could be accused of being a billionaire--a great and terrible crime in a world full of hungry, dying people--future billionaires will be paupers...albeit paupers who eat organic cuisine in the Foundation's cafeteria. Paupers who drive Foundation vehicles, live in Foundation condos as part of their "job requirement," travel the world on "Foundation business," influence government as "experts" in the fields the Foundation deals with, receive Foundation health and personal security benefits, and who retire at 40 to Foundation mansions with generous Foundation stipends. Paupers who are attended to daily by Foundation escorts and doctors and nutritionists, and who enjoy private employee lounges filled with everything their department's budget bought for them.
All of the same things that have marked these long Gilded Ages--the disgusting cronyism; the false concern for the plight of the poor; the eerie coordination between social success based upon a shadow network of who your parents were and what kind of education and work experience you had; the harmonious warfare between the lower classes of different nations--all these things will continue as before under the Charity State. And it will be extremely painful to watch the bratty little great grandchildren of all these vile people talking about how they are themselves commoners; about how they are not nobles, or rich persons, merely the part-time employee of a few small nonprofits.
Here is one of Bill Gates' fawning turdlings' insights:
To be clear, when I say that high levels of inequality are a problem, I don’t want to imply that the world is getting worse. In fact, thanks to the rise of the middle class in countries like China, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Thailand, the world as a whole is actually becoming more egalitarian, and that positive global trend is likely to continue....and why is "income inequality" going away? Because the elites are hiding their income. It's all still there, but for a variety of reasons (see the Tax Theft series, linked above), it's not being counted as income. It's being written off as business expenses or charitable donations, or countered completely by depreciation and similar counter-income schemes, regime-shopping, simple laundering, or government disregard deals. It may come as a surprise to someone who likes Bill Gates articles, but the drug lords in Mexico are not reporting their actual incomes or accumulated holdings, anymore than Bill Gates is.
Even more importantly, income is not wealth. Wealth is wealth. The argument that "income is wealth" is moronic, particularly when delivered by such a prolific, disgustingly unfair tax-evading starvation monster like Bill Gates' Team, yet effective upon people who think that their "income" is their wealth. (Chomsky fans will note the way that the modern elite are always exceedingly careful to couch wealth-based discussions in terms related to reported net income rather than those related to actual gross assets. This is a sign of deliberate intent to deceive, particularly when employed by people who understand what real power is.)
More from Gates' nameless Rove:
Imagine three types of wealthy people. One guy is putting his capital into building his business. Then there’s a woman who’s giving most of her wealth to charity. A third person is mostly consuming, spending a lot of money on things like a yacht and plane. While it’s true that the wealth of all three people is contributing to inequality, I would argue that the first two are delivering more value to society than the third. I wish Piketty had made this distinction, because it has important policy implications...Take a look at the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans. About half the people on the list are entrepreneurs whose companies did very well (thanks to hard work as well as a lot of luck). Contrary to Piketty’s rentier hypothesis, I don’t see anyone on the list whose ancestors bought a great parcel of land in 1780 and have been accumulating family wealth by collecting rents ever since. In America, that old money is long gone—through instability, inflation, taxes, philanthropy, and spending.This one was brilliant, albeit in an evil way. You see what [he] did there? With that dumbass example about how a wealthy guy putting money into building his business is delivering value to society, he plumps up the old noblesse oblige--the aristocratic version of trickle-down economics. There are fabulously rich people so evil, and non-fabulously-rich people so daft, that they still say they believe in that, just as there are people who still believe that buying a yacht and a plane is good for the economy because it "creates jobs" (it permits you to work to make nice things for me). Right into the middle of those other two options, the ghostwriter slipped the "giving most of her wealth to charity," which was the main thrust of the deception. Charities are the new rentiers.
Bill Gates isn't even flinging a coin to the beggar on the road to Jericho, and he's certainly not restructuring the edifice. Instead, the malignant piece of shit is sitting in the palace in Jericho being fanned by palm fronds, sipping wine, and building an extravagant, tax-deductible mansion next door where he can meet with people once a week to discuss ways to address the beggar problem...while at the same time donating money to a group of privateers that burns people out of their farms and turns them into beggars, and donating more money to other privateers who capture slave children and teach them how to work in the nearby quarry, mining limestone for his next mansion.
Real charity is no strings attached. A little charity is giving the beggar a coin, medium charity is giving him a home and a donkey, and true charity is giving him investment capital. Bastard usurers don't do that--instead, they give people charity with strings attached, like, "here's a job working for me, from which you can be fired at any time," or "here's a little money for now, and if you keep doing things I like, here's a little more later, and so on." Real charity is a grant of independence and power, to allow someone to achieve something. To afford an education, start a business, or just enjoy some time not living under the whip. With real charity, you don't impose your own will on the person by telling them what to do with your charity. That's not charity: that's employment. It's a patronizing lie. It's allowing someone to be your shoeshine or parlor maid. Charity is not charity unless it's a true separation of the grantor from the grantee, the giver from the receiver. A line of credit; a scholarship; a small business loan; a mortgage and an obligation; a job: these things are business transactions, and acts of subjugation, but not charity.
Bill Gates got venture capital from mommy and daddy's friends, which he was able to somewhat-independently invest in stuff that his people told him IBM would buy, and standardize, so being a lucky little lordling who's never had to walk the rope without a net, you can't blame him for failing to understand what actual independence and initiative is. Naturally, he doesn't know how to give it to other people in return. All his charity works the way his parents' false, loveless charity worked: behave this way in the world, as part of our network, to achieve the success you must have over others in the image of our spirits. And so do all these people work, whether they pass to their children patents of nobility, infusions of cash, or merely connections to family friends' multi-billion-dollar foundation jobs and lifestyles.
If you want to really be charitable, you give the bum the fifty and let him drink himself into a stupor or blow it all at the casino, because charity means respecting the autonomy of a living being, instead of substituting your priorities for his. Over the past century, as the "individually rich" model began to die, elites have changed the definition of the word "charity" in order to mean, not charity, but anything in this deceptively sweet, arscenic-laced fruit:
The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.As you can tell, that list includes anything in the entire world, provided that you are rich enough to pass the test. These requirements expressly exclude influencing legislation, but the big Foundations do nothing but influence legislation. Gates, Pew, MacArthur, Komen: constant presences in mass communication, perception management, voter education, childhood civic mindset-forming.
(Christ-inclined thinkers may wish to take a moment here to reflect upon the effects that state-church meshing has had on the formation and quality of churchianity over the years. By "licensing" churches, the Powers That Be control them through the IRS, just as state-licensed marriage has had predictable effects on church marriage.)
The bum drinking up your fifty example is not pleasant, but if you can't accept the way others live, then let them starve. Structures of control, where we force others to engage in certain behavior, do not produce positive results. You know the whole sensibility relationship between drug homicide, police presence, and improved educational and employment opportunities, right? E.g., spend more on cops and drug homicide rises, spend more on social programs and drug homicide (and dealing and use) drops. It's the same issue the government has pretended not to understand for a hundred years, using property taxes and public schools and cops and welfare to build decaying neighborhood hells full of underclass. So too with the bum--he drinks the fifty because a fifty by itself is nothing. Bill Gates will eventually spend his way through the charade of eliminating malaria, only to leave behind the same ravaged continent filled with ethnic cleansing, starvation, and copper mine tailings the size of Los Angeles (And besides, the Foundation is only using malaria as cover for increased Africom military presence, which has claimed, and will continue to claim, far more lives in the years ahead than malaria could've ever hoped to).
"Teaching a man to fish" feeds him for a long time, but "giving him an educational stipend to receive a bachelor's degree in business administration from a regionally accredited college," or some other shameful farce, is not the same fucking thing. When they make the switch--as they make the switch they're making right now, while expecting us to cheer them for it--do not be fooled by it in the slightest. It is the same old show. The same deathly emptiness is behind their eyes as in those of their noble forebears.
Remember the essentials. Remember the things that truly matter, when we consider power relations, merit, and what constitutes a good society:
1) Who eats, and who goes hungry?
2) Who eats poisoned food and grows sick, and who eats fine, pure food?
3) Who is being killed, and who is not being killed?
4) Who is being struck, and who is not being struck?
5) Who does the work she enjoys when she feels ready to work, and who works only because she must?
6) Who is possessed of many possessions and most certainly to have shelter and sustenance for life, and who faces constant uncertainty about her later years?
7) Who is living in a fine, private palace, and who is living in a very small private space, or has no private space at all?
8) Who may be heard by many whenever she wishes, and who is a tiny voice among a massive crowd?
9) Are there dirty, unsavory, neglected corners of the world, or is the world everywhere lush and clean?
10) May those who wish to leave do so, or is there left nowhere where they may be together or alone?