Bill Gates: ‘The Private Sector Is Inept’, Only Socialism Can Save The Planet (VIDEO)

The man who has benefited most from capitalist economics has come clean about its inability to deal with the most pressing issue of our time: climate change. In an interview with Atlantic, the Microsoft magnate argued:’the private sector is in general inept’ as a tool to manage catastrophic changes to our climate that would threaten life on earth.

Gates argues that governments have the key role to play in developing technologies for a sustainable world, chiefly by a heavy investment in research and development. He argues that it should then be the role of private companies to pay the costs of rolling out those technologies – pledging $2bn of his own $79.2bn net worth to do just that.

So, why can’t we trust the private sector to invest in the right things at the right time? Gates argues:

“Well, there’s no fortune to be made.”

“Yes, the government will be somewhat inept,”

“But the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them.”

The factors that prompt a profit-driven corporation to invest are different than those of the state. Climate change is an area where it would be an illogical investment from the corporate view, but where the state has a clear and logical role.

When Atlantic put to Gates that the major stumbling block in developing a state-driven resolution was the nature of US politics. First, that the GOP-controlled houses cry socialism at far lesser provocation than this, and second, that there is no consensus that climate change even exists. The billionaire had a different view on the problem:

“If you’re not bringing math skills to the problem,then representative democracy is a problem.”

In short, there are times when ill-informed public mood cannot be allowed to prevent the state taking action on scientifically-proven risks. This is such a moment, argues Gates.

“When people viewed cancer as a problem, the U.S. government—and it’s a huge favor to the world—declared a war on cancer, and now we fund all health research at about $30 billion a year, of which about $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 that R&D and building breakthrough drugs.”

Gates argues the same needs to happen now on climate change, from every major government on earth.

“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.”

Bill Gates is not arguing that there is no place for Capitalism in the world, but that only socialism can save the planet. Anyone who is willing to overlook the significance of this argument, especially from this man, is making a serious mistake.

Watch Bill Gates outline his case for public and private innovation on climate change below:

Featured Image via Flickr Creative Commons