Bill Gates isn’t stupid. But he also isn’t nearly smart enough to transcend money’s delusionary effects. He obviously thinks he’s not only entitled to his enormous voice, but that this voice is not far from being science incarnate. It isn’t. Predictably, it contains huge swaths of unexamined class bias.
Consider what Gates just said to the ongoing Leaders Summit on Climate:
[U]sing today’s technology, it will be virtually impossible to meet our goals. The reason is that nearly all of today’s zero-carbon technologies are more expensive than their fossil-fuel counterparts. To provide all the benefits of the modern lifestyle to people around the world, we need new zero-carbon products that are just as affordable—that have what I call a Green Premium of zero.Bill Gates, April 23, 2021
Gates forgets to mention that some of today’s technologies can’t possibly become zero-carbon products, and that this impossibility, in fact, applies to “today’s” #1 technology — the automobile.
It will never be the case that having each household achieve its everyday intra-urban locomotion by owning and storing one or more 3,000-pound piles of complex industrial parts will come close to being ecologically sustainable. It is also true that we have already built out American society to compel such an effort. So, any green future is going to require a radical reconstruction of our towns and cities, to de-emphasize automobile use.
Yet and still, Bill Gates is a major peddler of the idea that all we have to do is electrify cars, and all will be well.
Indeed, he finds the very idea of doing anything else to be absurd. Here’s what he says in his magnum opus on the human future:
Imagine if everyone had gotten together one day and said, “Hey, cars are killing people. They’re dangerous. Let’s stop driving and give up these automobiles.” That would’ve been ridiculous, of course.Bill Gates, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, p. 117
Yes, how ridiculous!
Even when posing to the contrary, it seem capitalists really are pretty damned heedless, as somebody famous once argued. Or as somebody else said, it’s damned hard to get a person to think clearly when it involves her/his wallet.