Did Bill Gates Really Endorse Socialism to Address Climate Change?

Bill Gates

Bill Gates Being Interviewed by James Bennett, Editor-in Chief of The Atlantic  

Photo by Stephen Voss


Even the Christian Science Monitor, on October 27, 2015 wrote: “Bill Gates just endorsed socialism, sort of: A boost for Bernie Sanders.”

But no where in the interview, published in The Atlantic‘s November 2015 issue did Mr. Gates use the word “socialism.”

“Socialism as a political system is defined by democratic and social control of the means of production by the workers for the good of the community rather than capitalist profit, based fundamentally on the abolition of private property relations.” (www.reddit.com)

So what did he say?

He said “We need an energy miracle.”

Mr. Bennett wrote that: “He wants human beings to invent their way out of the coming collision with planetary climate change, accelerating a transition to new forms of energy that might normally take a century or more…that by 2050, wealthy nations like China and the United States, the most prodigious belches of greenhouse gases, must be adding no more carbon the the skies.

How will human beings accelerate a transition to new forms of energy?

He said “The push is in the R&D” to mitigate climate change and the “Pull is the carbon tax.  Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch.”

In terms of R&D, Mr. Bennett writes that although he said “he didn’t evince much patience for the argument that American politicians couldn’t agree even on whether climate change is real, much less how to combat it, he said ‘the government will be somewhat inept…but the private sector is in general inept.  How many companies do venture capitalists in vest in that go poorly?  By far most of them.'”

He referred to the Manhattan Project to get a nuclear weapon during World War II, where the speed of innovation was “really mind-blowing.”

So how do we speed-up innovation to mitigate climate change so that it is really mind-blowing?

The U.S. government needs to take the lead.

“Since World War II, U.S. government R&D has defined the state of the art in almost every area?

“When people viewed cancer as a problem, the U.S. government” stepped up “and now we fund all health research at about $ 30 billion a year, of which $ 5 billion goes to cancer.  We got serious and did a lot of R&D, and then we got the private sector involved in taking the R&D and building breakthrough drugs.”

He believes the same approach should be taken to combat climate change.

“Realistically, we may not get more than a doubling in government funding of energy R&D – but I would love to see a tripling, to $ 18 billion a year from the U.S. government to fund basic research alone.”

He said: “the overall record for the United States on government R&D is very, very good.”

“The original Internet comes from the government, the original chip-foundry stuff comes from the government  – and even today there’s some government money taking on some of the more advanced things and making sure the universities have the knowledge base that maintains that lead.”

“Dozens and dozens of approaches should be funded (by the government) at the R&D level, and then people like myself, who can afford to take big risks with start-up companies, should – because of climate change – be willing to put some number of billions into the spin-offs that will come out of that government-funded activity.”

“There’s dozens of ideas, and enabling technologies for those ideas. The guy who thinks high wind will work…the guy who thinks that taking sunlight and making oil directly out of sunlight will work.”

So you decide.  Did Bill Gates endorse socialism?


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