Dear Mr Gates,
I saw you interviewed by Jeremy Paxman recently on which program - or programme, as we say here! - you explained to a British audience your plans to give away your entire fortune. I have no doubt that being the richest man in the world and perhaps in real terms the richest man in history you receive more than your fair share of begging letters. This one is slightly different from most though because rather than begging you to send me money I am begging you not to give your money away but to devote your energy to fixing a fault with the financial system which, if remedied, could lead to a new golden age of prosperity for the entire world, and that without your donating a cent to any charitable cause, organisation, or individual.
During the Paxman interview it was suggested to you that you are now so wealthy that if you were to drop a $10,000 note in the street it would not be worth your while to bend down to pick it up. You dismissed this suggestion with a laugh, but how ridiculous is it?
On October 27, 1999, shortly after this programme was screened, I heard a disk jockey on RTL Country claim that you are now worth $100 billion. Obviously this is not all cash, but some of your assets will appreciate faster than cash, so let us assume that you are indeed worth $100 billion and that this money is appreciating at a mere 3% per annum. This would return a cool $3 billion a year.
There are 60 x 60 x 24 x 365 or 31,536,000 seconds in a year, so we can say that your wealth is accumulating at 3 billion divided by 31,536,000 per second which works out to $95.12 per second. If it took you ten seconds to bend over and pick up that $10,000 note you would make a net gain of over $9,000, so Paxmanís claim was an exaggeration. However, at the rates given above (dividing $10,000 by $95.12 per second) it would take your wealth a mere 105.13 seconds to add another $10,000 to your worth. Whether this is net or gross is beside the point.
As the richest man in the world you are the subject of intense envy and dislike by all manner of people, including by extreme socialists who regard all capitalists as parasites and exploiters of the masses. However, as you rightly pointed out to Paxman, your company has empowered people rather than exploited them, and this is something that both you and Micro$oft can rightly be proud of. The fact that many ordinary people throughout the world now have at their fingertips the sort of mega-computing power that was available in the 50s only to governments and the largest corporations is down largely to you.
The fact that I and countless others like me can produce neatly wordprocessed documents, play games to our heartsí content, communicate instantaneously with people on the other side of the world for the cost of a local rate phone call, and do a thousand and one other things from our desktops, is down largely to you.
Rather than being any sort of parasite Bill Gates has indeed become one of the great benefactors of mankind, notwithstanding the fact that your own government has branded you a criminal for giving away software!
The claim of extreme socialists that all capitalists are parasites is clearly ridiculous, you are living proof of that, but there is one sense in which this claim is true. Micro$oft made its money by creating wealth for and empowering consumers, but you will recall what I said about your wealth appreciating at in excess of $95 per second. How does this wealth accumulate? The simple answer is by interest. And where does this interest come from?
Micro$oftís wealth was created by the finest brains in America, including yours, and by the people who work for the company directly and indirectly. A capitalist who invests time and effort in a business deserves to be rewarded, but interest, the interest on Micro$oftís wealth and on yours, does not come from time and effort, from the sweat of your brow or from the creative genius of your mind. Interest comes into existence ex nihilo and is then loaned, or more properly sold, to all and sundry. This is the major fault of the capitalist system, and one which gives all capitalists a bad name.
The Money Trick is the biggest con trick in history; a few years ago the fact that money is created out of nothing by the banking system was either ridiculed or not discussed at all, but nowadays it is openly acknowledged. In fact, Major Douglas - one of the finest engineering brains of all time - gave a mathematical proof for the creation of money ex nihilo as long ago as 1924. The following is from his book Social Credit:
Let Deposits = D
Let Loans, etc. = L
Let Cash in Hand = C
Let Capital = K
Then we have
Assets = L + C
Liabilities = D + K
So that L + C = D + K
Differentiating with respect to time, we have
dL/dt + dC/dt = dD/dt; K being fixed, dK/dt = 0.
Assuming that the Cash in Hand is kept constant dC/dt = 0.
Therefore dL/dt = dD/dt
which means that the rate of increase or decrease of loans is equal to the rate of increase or decrease of deposits.
While the wealth of Micro$oft was created by genius, hard work and not a little sweat, the far greater wealth of the financial system was created by the stroke of a pen, or today by a blip on a computer chip, because in practice this is all most money really is: credit. Most money has no tangible existence, and even the small amount of money which does, has no intrinsic value. Unlike a computer which together with its software is a tangible asset, money has no value at all unless people believe in it. The entire banking system is based not only on a palpable fraud but on psychology: money is created out of nothing, and functions only as long as people have faith in it. Did you ever hear of anything so extraordinary? Can you imagine a machine that didnít work unless you believed in it? What use would a parachute be that didnít work unless you believed it would open and lower you slowly and safely to the ground?
The power of the banks to create money ex nihilo and to sell it to all and sundry: to private citizens, corporations and governments, has resulted in the entire world going progressively in debt to the financial system. It is debt which is the main cause of wars, famine, poverty, and all the other major evils in the world today. The main beneficiaries of the debt-based money system, apart from the anonymously owned banks, are the mega-rich - people like yourself. It is the mechanism of interest - usury, to call it by its proper term - which siphons the wages of the poor into the pockets of the wealthy.
Exactly how much usury distorts the world economy is evinced by a document I found recently in a Public Record Office file. According to the PITCAIRN ISLANDS DEVELOPMENT PLAN, 1964 (which can be found in file CO 1036/1412 in our national archive), the islandís main revenue in 1963 came from the sale of postage stamps (70%); but a further 28% came from interest on investments.
As Iím sure you know, Pitcairn is something of a novelty, one of the most remote islands in the world with a very small population. Yet over a quarter of its earnings are derived from the interest on (foreign) investments.
I said that banks create credit out of nothing, which is true, but we all know that in the real world there is no such thing as a free lunch - as that famous saying goes - so if somebody gets something for nothing, you can be sure that somebody else is paying for it. What this means in practice is that wealth is transferred from the have-nots to the haves. It is the toiling and exploited masses, as Marx called them, who pay for the free lunches of the mega-rich.
As Charles C. Hitchcock wrote in The International Socialist Review of April 1903: ďUsury is a form of injustice arbitrarily imposed by the strong on the weak in the same manner as was human slavery.Ē
You Mr Gates are a man who seeks to change the world for the better, and you can. Instead of giving away your vast wealth through your foundation, much of which will go into the pockets of lawyers (the same people who are persecuting you at this very moment), and the professional classes who administer charitable causes, here is an alternative suggestion. Call a press conference and announce that from now on you will not take for your personal gain one cent of interest on your investments, and challenge every other wealthy person in the United States to do the same.
This would be a good starting point, though to bring about the total abolition of usury would require legislation, but with the backing of the mega-rich like yourself, the requisite legislation would surely be enacted in double quick time. All that would be needed is an Act of Congress removing the power of privately-owned corporations to create credit ex nihilo for their own gain, and remitting that power to the United States Government. It is widely believed that the Federal Reserve is owned by the US Government. This is a legal fiction in much the same way as the Bank of England is believed to be owned by the British Government. In any case it matters not who actually owns the central bank or banks in question; as long as money is created as an interest-bearing debt, the world will continue to go progressively in hoc to the banking system.
In Britain there is a Parliamentary lobby called the Unitax Association which seeks to abolish all taxation and replace it with one universal tax, a tax on energy at source. The abolition of usury would allow the institution of the Unitax proposals worldwide and the payment of a basic income direct to all citizens, which would abolish the poverty trap into which countless millions of poor people in the advanced nations fall, and would at the same time liberate the rest of the world from the clutches of irredeemable debt.
It would also totally eliminate parasitic capitalism, in particular the great mass of the misnamed financial services industry. It is this aspect of capitalism which gives productive capitalists like yourself a bad name. While Micro$oft grew rich by producing goods and services for willing consumers, the financial services industry produces nothing. All it does is moves money from A to B from B to C and from C back to A again, creaming off a bit of profit for itself with each transaction.
A few years ago a British financial journalist named Tony Levene published an excellent book called The Shares Game in which he exposed the fallacy of beating the market by investing in trusts and through various stockbrokersí schemes. The best way to invest in shares said Levene is to buy a wide tranche of blue chips and hold on to them resisting the temptation to buy and sell. The reason for this is that the price of stocks and shares is determined by the great financial institutions - pension funds and the like - so the idea that investors in general can beat the market is a fiction. All anyone can hope to do is keep pace with the market or reap a slightly better than average reward over a period of time. But however much money a particular investor or small group of investors may make by playing the stock market, none of these machinations contributes to the real wealth of the community. Playing the stock market generates income for stockbrokers, lawyers, and for numerous other people in and around th!e financial sector, but buying and selling shares does not grow so much as an ear of corn to feed the worldís poor, much less empower consumers as does Micro$oft.
I realise why you have set up your foundation, Mr Gates. When they start out in business most people dream of making a fortune. Very few do, but when a man has become wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice the acquisition of wealth becomes less important than the exercise of power, political or otherwise. When a man has acquired both money and power - and you certainly have power - he then sets his sights on other goals. One such goal is to win the admiration or even the love of his fellow men. In short, he wants to be perceived as a good guy.
There is nothing either unnatural or wrong with this, and only a few conspiracy cranks, your envious competitors and the overpaid lawyers of the US Government believe you are evil, rapacious, power-mad, etc and ad nauseum. You are obviously a good guy and would have been even if you hadnít made a dime in computing. You donít have to go out of your way to convince anybody, least of all yourself, that you are a good guy, but if you were to become known as the man who abolished usury worldwide, you would go down in history not only as the richest and most successful businessman ever, but as the greatest benefactor of mankind since Prometheus stole the fire from Heaven.
Associate Member Islamic Party of Britain and Christian Council for Monetary Justice
November 19, 1999
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