Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Could There Be Anything Crazier Than Expecting Rich People Like Bill Gates To Save Us?

Bill Gates does a lot of destruction in education by throwing around a ton of money to push through changes he thinks will make a difference in schools - teacher evaluatinos tied to test scores and Common Core are two examples.

But the destruction Gates wreaks is not limited to education - he's doing it to the environment too:

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has been supporting a wide array of research on geoengineering since 2007, ScienceInsider has learned. The world’s richest man has provided at least $4.5 million of his own money over 3 years for the study of methods that could alter the stratosphere to reflect solar energy, techniques to filter carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, and brighten ocean clouds. But Gates’s money has not funded any field experiments involving the techniques, according to Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Palo Alto, California. 

Gates has shown interest in geoengineering research before. He is an investor in Intellectual Ventures, a Seattle, Washington–area firm that pursues inventions and has applied for patents on techniques to geoengineer the stratosphere. Along with officials from that organization, Gates applied for a patent in 2008 to sap hurricanes of their strength by mixing surface and deep ocean water.

What's his ultimate goal? Gates "views geoengineering as a way to buy time but it's not a solution to the problem" of climate change, says spokesperson John Pinette. “Bill views this as an important avenue for research—among many others, including new forms of clean energy.” (Pinette works for BCG3, a think-tank type firm Gates started last year which has no apparent role thus far in supporting geoengineering.) “Scientific and technological advances are making it possible to solve big, complicated problems like never before,” writes Gates on the Web site of the Gates Foundation, which is also not involved in the geoengineering work.

Gee, I can't imagine how "geo-engineering the stratosphere" could go badly.

And neither can Bill Gates.

He also couldn't figure out why his small schools initiative went wrong, doesn't understand why standardizing the nation's education system is dehumanizing and still thinks Microsoft Surface tablets are swell.

Scary stuff that a guy like Gates gets to throw around this "philanthropic" money, a lot of it in secret, to do things he wants to do because he thinks they're cool.

And it's doing untold damage to the planet and the people on it.

As Robert Jensen put it in his review of Naomi Klein's new book on climate change:

Klein also places little hope in the “enlightened billionaires” who have expressed interest in environmental protection, such as Warren Buffett, Tom Steyer, Bill Gates, or—heaven help us—T. Boone Pickens. Klein goes into detail about how Virgin Airlines’ Richard Branson has consistently gone back on promises to go green, while touting decidedly non-green ideas such as Virgin Galactic’s space tourism.

Could there be anything crazier than expecting rich people to save us? How about combining an adolescent yearning for superhero stories with a fundamentalist faith in technology, which gives us geo-engineering, the project of “dimming the sun.”

While not endorsed by most climate scientists, “Solar Radiation Management” is promoted by “the Geoclique,” which Klein describes as a group “crammed with overconfident men prone to complimenting each other on their fearsome brainpower.” (267) These fantastical projects, which would pump sulfate aerosols into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight back into space and slow warming, offer the kind of techno-fix that our culture finds so tempting, no matter what the risks. Klein points out the obvious lesson: “[I]f the danger of climate change is sufficiently grave and imminent for governments to be considering science-fiction solutions, isn’t it also grave and imminent enough for them to consider just plain science-based solutions.” (283)

Whether it's in education or the environment, billionaires like Gates are acting like little boys enacting their crazy schemes on the rest of us, sometimes publicly, sometimes behind the scenes, often to the detriment of us all.

And in an America that worships wealth and power, there's little to stop them.


  1. Do you know what the difference is between Bill Gates and me?

    Hint: The correct answer is not that Gates is a billionaire.

    The difference is I recognize my limitations.

  2. The saddest part is that “he thinks will make a difference in schools”. He really needs to do a reality check. If he really wants to help improving our education system, then he needs to hire experts who will tell him what to begin. Destruction is sort of a bad method of helping. He might want to do a good thing, but he ends up destroying something pretty much already vulnerable. Yes, can make a big difference with his financial opportunities, but he also need a good advisor.
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