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Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, George Soros have the mental capacty to amass billions but apparently not the mental capacity to think rationally, especially in the areas of economics or politics. WHy is this?

asked Mar 05 '12 at 10:10

Barbara%20Nelson's gravatar image

Barbara Nelson

add to this pretty much anyone in Hollywood as well as major scientists (admittedly top scientists are not usually billionaires but tend to be influential). It's weird but there are few if any "creative, innovative visionary types" that are openly pro-capitalism/rationality and many, many who are pro-mysticsm, socialism, love-the-brother, UN types. What is it about rational thought that is so rare. Even Steve Jobs who was a real Howard Roarke type clung to bizzarre mystical beliefs and was an ardent supporter of the Democrats.

(Mar 05 '12 at 12:30) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

Sometimes I wonder if Bill Gates would've left MS if the government didn't attack his company.

(Mar 05 '12 at 12:42) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Jobs and Wozniak got some of the startup money for their company by selling blue boxes (devices used to steal free calls from phone companies). IIRC the early careers of both Jobs/Woz and Gates involved lying to early investors and customers, claiming they had a finished product when they didn't.

I question whether a perfectly moral man could become a billionaire in this society.

"There have always been men of intelligence who went on strike, in protest and despair, but they did not know the meaning of their action."

I think there are a great number of such men in today's society.

(Mar 08 '12 at 11:01) anthony anthony's gravatar image

I just found this tidbit in the book "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson: "President Clinton's Justice Department was preparing a massive antitrust case against Microsoft. Jobs invited the lead prosecutor, Joel Klein, to Palo Alto. Don't worry about extracting a huge remedy against Microsoft, Jobs told him over coffee. Instead simply keep them tied up in liteigation. That would allow Apple the opportunity, Jobs explained, to 'make an end run' around Microsoft and start offering competing products."

(Mar 25 '12 at 13:13) anthony anthony's gravatar image
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Just because a man has the mental capacity to think rationally doesn't mean that he will automatically think about every single aspect of his philosophy. Consciousness is volitional after all. For areas that they choose to not explore, they will follow the crowd.

Bill Gates is heavily influenced by his mother's philosophy. Source What he does with his money, is his choice as he earned it. My only issue is his call for government to do more and spend more. He seems to have forgotten that government today get their money at the point of a gun.

answered Mar 05 '12 at 16:39

Humbug's gravatar image


Most collectivists romanticize and conflate government with a loving set of parents. They view paying taxes as no more noxious than having teenagers take out the trash in their own house. The worldview is an "us" worldview vs. a "me" The problem is when the "us" starts demanding more and more. They should all read the tramp's tale in Atlas Shrugged !

(Mar 05 '12 at 18:18) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image

I think many leftists and/or collectivists are fully aware that the government gets its money at the point of the gun. They explicitly hold that enforced wealth redistribution is a proper function of government. I haven't read that much about Gates' actual views but wouldn't be at all surprised to find him squarely in this camp.

(Mar 06 '12 at 13:09) Earl3d ♦ Earl3d's gravatar image

It may have something to do with the options available at this juncture. One party leans heavily toward theocratic interpretation of how to govern. It also advocates for "minimal" government except for intrusion into bedrooms, other countries, definition of crime, etc. The other party advocates government involvement in "spreading" wealth and enlarging the concept of guaranteed rights to include health care, pursuit of pleasure (not the same as happiness by any means), and increasing the portion of GDP managed by the government.

(Mar 11 '12 at 19:03) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image
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I'm sure the reasons are different in each case, but I suspect they share some of the following components:

  1. Guilt and the desire to "give something back"
  2. Social acceptance or leaving a "legacy"
  3. A desire to use the force of government to "protect" themselves and their businesses (favoritism / cronyism)

If you look closely at the actions of what we might call the "dishonest" rich, I think you'll often find that the superficial appearance of what they advocate masks a deeper purpose. High income taxes, for example, don't hurt the very rich (whose wealth is in capital, not income) as much as they hurt those who are less rich, including potential competitors.

I also think that some truly want to help others, in a charitable / non-altruistic way, but they don't have the intellectual ammunition they need to correctly describe their intentions and actions.

answered Mar 16 '12 at 00:28

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

edited Mar 16 '12 at 00:28

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Asked: Mar 05 '12 at 10:10

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Last updated: Mar 25 '12 at 13:13