Cord Blomquist, sometimes e_f Commenter, asks a question over at TLF:
While I agree that Bill Gates ought to be admired for his monumental charitable efforts, can’t we also admire him for being an entrepreneur and creating countless billions in wealth?
He answers his own question thus:
After all, Gates didn’t just create wealth for himself or Microsoft, he’s also made the world a whole lot richer. Like it or not, it was Windows that provided the platform for much of the information revolution, which subsequently created a worldwide economic boom. We shouldn’t relegate this accomplishment to a mere footnote in Mr. Gates’ biography and it’s certainly worth considering the moral implications of that sort of wealth creation.
Note how Cord includes an assumption in his question, i.e., that Bill Gates has created countless billions in wealth. I am not prepared to stipulate agreement with this assumption, so I’ll restate Cord’s question, without the assumption below.
But, leaving aside Cord’s presentation of his argument, let’s look at the substance of what he is saying. The trouble I have with this thinking is that it shows almost zero faith in outcomes provided by authentic market structures and forces, so my response post over at TLF is:
This is a silly argument, for a variety of reasons that should be apparent to anyone with a slight faith in market based outcomes. I’ll just give the single largest example here, and follow up in few days with a post on this misinformation.
Had Microsoft or Windows never existed, another company would have stepped in to fill the market demand for a PC Operating System. So to make the argument that Bill Gates is personally responsible for the wealth creation of the PC revolution doesn’t hold water unless you demonstrate that there was something unique that Bill Gates brought to the table. So, when I bought a PC in 1991 for a construction site office (it was rare at that time, believe it or not) it came preloaded not with windows but PC GEOS, a non-MS product that MS used it’s anti-competitive practices to crush. If a true competitive market for PC Operating System had been part of the regulatory policy at the time (i.e., had MS been quickly enjoined from using it’s anti-competitive practices to first crush PC GEOS and then BEOS) it’s quite probable that we would have had better OS’s faster, due to competitive market forces. Instead, we had MS enrichment, not wealth creation.
Of course there are plenty of other reasons why Cord’s line of reasoning doesn’t make much sense, and he really steps into when he starts comparing Bill Gates to Mother Theresa:
Continue reading “Do Monopolies contribute more to the world economy than a healthy, competitive market?”