The Guardian’s publishing flat out economic ignorance about Bill Gates, billionaires and capitalism
IT had to happen of course: that the Guardian would go from being partisan on the subject of economics (and why not?) to publishing stuff that is just flat out ignorant. Take this about Bill Gates for example:
One of the most peculiar but least understood developments of our time is the emergence of billionaires against capitalism. Even some of the greatest beneficiaries of the market system seem deeply disillusioned with it.
The same mistake is made throughout the piece. Capitalism and markets are not the same thing, not the same thing at all.
Capitalism is a description of who owns the productive assets in an economy. In capitalism, it’s the capitalists. Socialism is also a description of who owns what: in that case it’s usually the workers but sometimes the State.
Neither of these have anything at all to do with markets for markets are a method of distribution and a method of calculation. We work out who wants what and how much of it by observing the prices that the market system throws back at us.
And you can have market socialism (Tito’s Yugoslavia tried it, John Lewis and the Co-Op today are socialist entities working within markets just as you can have non-market capitalism (roughly what the Robber Barons tried to do with their monopolies).
It’s just the purest ignorance to try and say that markets and capitalism are the same thing: as ignorant as saying that under socialism there will be no food shops.