Leander Kahney of Wired News writes in his Mac column today that Bill Gates is a saint because he gives away his money to charities while Steve jobs is the devil because he keeps his money and his opinions to himself. Here’s a sampling:
It’s Gates who’s making a dent in the universe, and Jobs who’s taking on the role of single-minded capitalist, seemingly oblivious to the broader needs of society. Gates is giving away his fortune with the same gusto he spent acquiring it, throwing billions of dollars at solving global health problems. He has also spoken out on major policy issues, for example, by opposing proposals to cut back the inheritance tax. In contrast, Jobs does not appear on any charitable contribution lists of note. And Jobs has said nary a word on behalf of important social issues, reserving his talents of persuasion for selling Apple products. … On the evidence, [Jobs is] nothing more than a greedy capitalist who’s amassed an obscene fortune. It’s shameful. In almost every way, Gates is much more deserving of Jobs’ rock star exaltation.
I see. It’s shameful to make lots of money, even when it is a representation of the amazing value you’ve created in the world. It’s shameful that Jobs isn’t taking the lead of Barbara Steisand, Harry Belafonte, or any one of the other famous people who deign it necessary to regale us with their (usually ignorant) thoughts on public policy. Jobs just stick to what he knows, making incredible computers and consumer electronics. For shame!
I think it’s great Gates wants to share his wealth. It’s his, and I say more power to him. I have a real problem, however, when Gates (supporting the death tax) and Kahney (writing dribble) try to tell other people what to do with their own money. I’m glad Jobs focuses on doing what he does best, I just wish Kahney would do the same and stick to writing about technology.