If the world’s richest capitalist and high-tech guru says we need a global carbon tax and government intervention to solve the alleged global warming crisis, then it must be true, right? That’s what a lot of people in the “climate change” (formerly known as global warming) lobby are saying.
In an extended interview in the November 2015 issue of The Atlantic magazine, Microsoft founder Bill Gates sings the praises of Big Government, criticizes the free market as “inept,” and campaigns for massive public spending on research and development to provide an “miracle” that will solve our energy dilemma. He also calls for punitive taxes on hydrocarbon fuels to curtail their use and speed the transition to energy “that has zero CO2 emissions, and that’s as reliable as today’s overall energy system.”
Entitled, “We Need an Energy Miracle,” the Atlantic interview carries a subtitle which informs us that “Bill Gates has committed his fortune to moving the world beyond fossil fuels and mitigating climate change.” The software mogul advocates a push-pull strategy for central planning by government — guided by experts, such as himself. “The push is the R&D,” Gates told Atlantic president and editor-in-chief James Bennet during the interview. “The pull is the carbon tax.” Gates, who has more faith in government than the free market, says: “Yes, the government will be somewhat inept—but the private sector is in general inept.”
As might be expected, the global warming alarmist choir is delighted that the planet’s richest billionaire and most famous techno-geek is playing their theme song. It’s perfect timing, as the United Nations Climate Summit in Paris gets ready to take off in December. “Bill Gates Thinks It’s Time to Fix Capitalism,” declares the title of an adulatory article in Mother Jones magazine. Founded by hardcore activists from the Marxist, pro-Castro, pro-Soviet Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and named for socialist labor organizer Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, the ultra-leftwing magazine calls the Atlantic conversation with Gates “a great interview.” The socialist publication is particularly happy because Gates “makes a case for a ‘significant’ global tax on carbon emissions.” And, it adds, “That's the only way to fix the market failure that lets companies get away with the pollution caused by fossil fuels—and, he says, the only way to encourage the private sector to switch to clean energy.”
Likewise, Britain’s left-leaning newspaper The Independent trumpeted the story under a headline that proclaimed: “Bill Gates says that capitalism cannot save us from climate change.”
“The world’s richest man, Bill Gates, has said that the private sector is too selfish and inefficient to produce effective energy alternatives to fossil fuels,” reported The Independent. “While announcing his plan to spend $2 billion of his own wealth on green energy during an interview with The Atlantic, the Microsoft founder called on fellow billionaires to help make the US fossil-free by 2050 with similar philanthropy.”
Billionaires who are generous with other people’s money
Like any other private citizen, of course, Bill Gates should be free to spend his money as he sees fit. However, his recent headline grabbing and his popularity with the coercive utopians of the Left are the result of his ebullient support for spending other people’s money (OPM) to further his globalist green agenda. And that agenda just happens to coincide with the United Nations’ plan for a new socialist order for the planet. The fact that he is a super wealthy, brainy geek does not make him an oracle on issues related either to economics or science.
“I want to tilt the odds in our favor by driving innovation at an unnaturally high pace, or more than its current business-as-usual course,” Gates declares in the Atlantic interview. So he favors massive government spending for R&D in the energy sector. “I’d say the overall record for the United States on government R&D is very, very good,” says the famed brainiac. Really? By what skewed metric can any rational being arrive at that notion? According to a comprehensive 2007 study by the U.S. government’s own Department of Labor (R&D and Productivity Growth: A Review of the Literature), “high returns accrue only to privately financed R&D."\ [Emphasis in original.] Many elements of university and government research have very low returns, overwhelmingly contribute to economic growth only indirectly, if at all, and do not belong in investment.” In fact, says the federal report: “Returns to many forms of publicly financed R&D are near zero.”
These negative conclusions, based on an extensive Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of dozens of studies of government R&D spending, merely confirm what numerous previous studies have shown, and what every student should learn in Economics 101: Government is wasteful, rarely efficient, and rarely innovative. The hundreds of millions of dollars of “other people’s money” (ie., the American taxpayers' money) that President Obama funneled into solar panel loser Solyndra, is just the tip of the iceberg of the federal government’s backing of failed solar, wind, ethanol, and other “clean energy” boondoggles. This is not only wasting many billions of dollars and driving consumer prices for energy through the roof, but also politicizing and corrupting science as never before. Jacob Bronowski, the famed British mathematician, historian of science, and BBC presenter, once said, “No science is immune to the infection of politics and the corruption of power.” So-called “climate science” has proven this to be true — in spades.
Climate Money, a report by the Science & Public Policy Institute (SPPI), found that that between 1989 and 2009 the U.S. government alone had spent over $79 billion on climate change. When the billions spent by the European Union, individual EU member states' governments, the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank are added in, the total becomes mind-boggling. The SPPI Climate Money report cites many examples of corruption and political “infection” — and that was before the notorious Climategate scandal and the numerous scandals that have erupted since (see here and here). However, the UN and its supporters (such as Gates) want to us to spend on a “crisis” that the best non-corrupted science says doesn’t exist. As we have reported here many times, the most reliable global temperature data from the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) satellites clearly show no measurable global warming for the past 18+ (nearly 19) years. So why the rush to empower huge new bureaucracies and spend us into oblivion?
As “the world’s richest man,” with a net worth (estimated by Forbes this year) of $79.5 billion, the tech titan has ample lucre to fund virtually any hobby horse he wishes. But, like many of his mega-rich confreres who are obsessed with remaking the world, he seeks to use government force, ie., the state’s taxing authority, to compel all humanity to adopt — and pay for — his grand vision. They have adopted, to one degree or another, the motto of Britain’s Fabian Socialists (taken from The Rubaiyat of Persian poet Omar Khayyam) which called for shattering the world to bits, so as to “remould it nearer to the heart’s desire.”
Bill Gates, George Soros, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller, Richard Branson, Hank Paulson, and many other “capitalists” are afflicted with delusions of grandeur and the compulsion to compel others, to remold the world nearer to their hearts’ desire. They are not champions of the free market, where entrepreneurs may prosper only by competing with other providers of goods and services. They are corporatists, crony capitalists, who prosper by politicking and partnering with governments. Gates makes clear in his interview that he favors more wind and solar subsidies and is fine with “experts” choosing which technologies and science projects the government will “invest” in.
The recent Atlantic interview was not Gates’ maiden voyage on the global warming propaganda barge. He has been sailing these waters for a number of years, and pouring huge amounts into related enviro-activist and population control ventures, including programs that support and provide abortions. As we reported in The New American back in 2009 (and several times since), Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are members of the secret group known as “The Good Club,” a cabal of top billionaires obsessed with population control. The U.S. media have obligingly censored any mention of the group; its existence was leaked by the The Times of London. “Some of America's leading billionaires have met secretly to consider how their wealth could be used to slow the growth of the world's population,” the Times story of May 24, 2009 (“Billionaire club in bid to curb overpopulation”) reported. The “philanthropist” summit was “convened on the initiative of Bill Gates” and “discussed joining forces to overcome political and religious obstacles to change.” Besides Bill and Melinda Gates, the billionaire Good Club confab included David Rockefeller, George Soros, Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Sir Paul Nurse, the president of Rockefeller University.
"Why all the secrecy?" the Times asked. A logical question, yes? Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, told the Times the furtiveness might be "because they don't want to be seen as a global cabal." An attendee reportedly gave the Times this explanation: "They wanted to speak rich to rich without worrying anything they said would end up in the newspapers, painting them as an alternative world government." Well, considering the UN programs they support for concentrating global wealth and power, “global cabal” and “alternative world government” may be fairly accurate descriptions.
If we value our freedoms, we would be foolish indeed to look to Gates and his “Good Club” of billionaire statists for miracles or fixes for any crises, whether real or fanciful.
Photo of Bill Gates: AP Images