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Bill Gates: "Why Inequality Matters"

By Jonathan B. Wight

Love him or hate him, when Bill Gates speaks, people should listen. 

And I’ve both loved and hated him: loved him for his philanthropy, and hated him for his cutthroat business decisions. 

Gates has now entered the fray over Piketty’s Capital in the Bill.gatesTwenty-First Century, largely defending Piketty’s view that inequality is a big social ill that needs fixing, but disagreeing over his prediction based on r > g and Piketty’s policy solution. 

Gates writes:

"I very much agree with Piketty that:

  • High levels of inequality are a problem—messing up economic incentives, tilting democracies in favor of powerful interests, and undercutting the ideal that all people are created equal.
  • Capitalism does not self-correct toward greater equality—that is, excess wealth concentration can have a snowball effect if left unchecked.
  • Governments can play a constructive role in offsetting the snowballing tendencies if and when they choose to do so."

Overall, Gates offers a pragmatic set of solutions that are far better than Piketty’s global tax on capital.


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