Lots of economic superstars on this blog

That includes Gary Becker, Ed Glaeser, Richard Posner, Bill Easterly and others, read them here, all debating Bill Gates’s theory of philanthropy.  The outputs will be turned into a book and the project is being run by Michael Kinsley and Conor Clarke.


The most hilarious thing is that Melinda Gates is starting a big expensive push for every American student to get a college education ... even though her own husband dropped out of Harvard pretty quickly. Similarly, her husband's generational peers -- Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Michael Dell -- all dropped out of college, too.

If some people are so smart that college is a waste of time for them, couldn't it also be true that some other people are so not smart that college would also be a waste of time for them?

The real irony is that in his private business dealings, Bill Gates doesn't believe any of the politically correct nonsense Mrs. Gates, creator of Microsoft Bob, is pushing.

Fear of discrimination lawsuits is why Microsoft famously uses IQ-type questions in interviews—such as "Estimate how many gas stations there are in the US"—instead of using written tests, even though Bill Gates is obsessive about IQ.

This is no secret. Rich Karlgaard, former editor of Forbes ASAP, reminisced in the Wall Street Journal about a journey he took with Gates in 1993:

"During that trip, I must have heard Mr. Gates mention ‘IQ’ a hundred times. The obsession with smarts is embedded deep in Mr. Gates's thinking and long ago was institutionalized at Microsoft. Apply for a job and you’ll face an oral grilling that probes for IQ. It is oral and informal because of Griggs v. Duke Power, the 1971 Supreme Court ruling that banished written IQ tests and ‘tests of an abstract nature’ from job applications. But Microsoft knows what it wants. It wants IQ. And Microsoft always has been savvy at getting what it wants."

One of the things that great wealth can buy (especially for philanthropists) is instant credibility on matters in which you have no training whatsoever. Warren Buffet is talking about things he thought about "ten minutes ago" and Bill Gates is thinking through stuff "I discussed with Melinda three weeks ago."

Hey, I got an idea I just pulled out of my *ss, and the mass media will love it! What? Hey, where are the scibes? The cameras?

One of my kids was an LA Unified School District student, so I keep up to date on the latest idiocies the Gates Foundation bribes and pressures the nation's second largest school district into doing.

Melinda Gates is a fool, and Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are hypocrites. But $60 billion gets you a lot of fawning press coverage.

To believe that intelligence and our place in this world revolving around test scores is simply silly.

Back to Gates, I can really say I don't care about Bill Gates, because in his field and time, success is 90% timing and 10% skill. He's lucky, and too think he's an expert on anything other than software (if even that) is a joke.

So who gives a sh*t what Bill Gates thinks about philanthropy? Its often a tool of the rich, and what I see as a supply of the figurative "opium of the masses" (not religion), especially if used as means to an end.

"This just means that a lot of kids who could have graduated from high school are going to go through life as high school dropouts simply because they weren't smart enough to pass Algebra II."
So? A HS diploma is only as good as employers think it is, and if you keep the standards low, then it will become more and more worthless relative to a college degree in an age where human capital is creating economic inequality. Those who aren't smart enough to pass Algebra II are screwed anyway, but it'll help those on the margin who are, but wouldn't have taken it.

Half the students in the country are below average in intelligence. Melinda Gates-style political correctness just winds up hurting people who were born with two digit IQs.

In the LA school district a lot more than half the kids are below the national average in intelligence -- less than 10% of the LAUSD students who enter 9th grade will score above 1000 on the SAT Math+Verbal (that's less than 890 on the SAT under the harder pre-1995 scoring system).

Only about have the kids graduate from high school in the LAUSD now. How high does Mrs. Gates want to push the flunk out rate -- 2/3rds? There are a lot of decent kids who come to school every day and work fairly hard, but they will never, ever pass Algebra II. Why lump them in for life with the losers who don't have a high school degree? What % of jobs today require Algebra II skills? 5%?

Rich smart people shouldn't spend their money making life tougher on not-smart people in order to feel good about themselves.

Becker's piece should not blur the stark contrast between Milton Friedman's ethos of the primacy of profits and the "stakeholder theory" that is so popular in the academic disciplines of Marketing and Management. For more see:



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