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Bill Gates the Patriarch


There are often times boundaries in life.  We have seen it over and over.  Black men may be aware of and disgusted by racism but ignorant and a party to sexism; privileged white women may be aware of disgusted by sexism but ignorant and a party to class warfare or racism.

Earlier this year while giving a speech on malaria the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, made some interesting comments on markets:

"The market does not drive scientists, thinkers, or governments to do the right things. Only by paying attention and making people care can we make as much progress as we need to."

I was surprised by his admission that markets drive people to do the wrong things and only by having a conscious effort to do otherwise can we escape them.  Sure, I realize he didn’t take his own words this far and that he IS NOT a market abolitionist like myself but I feel the logic is still sound.  Sometimes people stop short of following through.  It could be a lack of insight or a fear of going further or ideological constraints that block the host from seeing that a deeper analysis lies ahead.

So when I pulled up Yahoo! today and saw the main article had this as the headline my jaw dropped:

No iPhones, iPods at Bill Gates’s house

In the latest issue of Vogue, Bill’s wife, Melinda Gates, reveals that among the "very few things" on "the banned list in our household" are—you guessed it—iPods and iPhones.

Brutal, yes—especially for Bill and Melinda’s three kids (two daughters and a son, aged 12, six, and nine, respectively), who’ll just have to grin and bear it as their little pals make merry with the latest and greatest iPod.

And even Melinda herself admits to an occasional pang of Apple envy: "Every now and then I look at my friends and say, ‘Ooh, I wouldn’t mind having that iPhone.’" (Ouch!)

Grin and bear it? Why should the "have to"?

I strongly suspect that while Bill may be loyal to Microsoft it is gender relations that play a big role in why he has the authority to deny Melinda and their kids the ability to have these gadgets.  These are the kinds of issues a participatory society needs to address and why I find myself convinced of its legitimacy.  I think this highlights the significance of complimentary holism and its four-sphere approach to social organizing.

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