Overclass Decrepitude


Bill Gates and Warren Buffett recently made a joint appearance at Columbia University.  The two monopolists were embraced rather than pilloried:

Sitting facing each other in an auditorium filled with nearly 1,000 cheering people at a CNBC-sponsored event at Columbia University in New York, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Microsoft founder Bill Gates fielded questions from Columbia Business School students on the recession, investing and what’s the next Microsoft.

And you know how late-imperial ruling classes get decrepit, and become unable to acknowledge, let alone redress, their objective problems?  Here are your top two “free market” geniuses’ remarks on where they see us standing in history:


The financial panic is behind us….I did not worry about the overall survival of our economy.


We proved that we can make mistakes. But the fundamentals of the system, a marketplace-driven system where we invest in education and a great infrastructure for the long-term, that’s continued….Capitalism is great.

See?  This has been merely a “financial panic,” not a huge recession, not a normal and predictable result of the radical mal-distribution of wealth under corporate capitalism, not the onset of Great Depression III, not a harbinger of Peak Everything, not a wake-up call in a make-it-or-break-it century.

Yes, mistakes were made, even though nobody expects a capitalist ever to make one, do they?

Take it from Bill and Warren:  The future looks bright for this great system of ever-expanding resource consumption and behavioral manipulation!

Update: People Use Monopolists’ Products

…including famous people.

Ergo, those products are justified. Or so the story goes, judging from the second wave of Microsoft’s campaign to alter the public perception of its over-priced, under-performing, important-only-because-they’ve-already-been-pushed software products.

It’s quite telling that Microsoft’s marketers have conducted massive marketing research operations to prepare this pathetic advertising push, and yet have found literally nothing new or creative to say. Their claim is “people use Windows.” That’s it.

Well, of course people use Windows. Take me, for instance. I teach college and work in a law office, which dually compels me to use both Windows and MS Office. Why? Is it because of the superiority and/or the cost-savings?

Not so much. I must use MS Office only because most of my students and clients use it, and because it is designed to be as incompatible as possible with other word processors (purportedly but falsely by always being “more advanced”). And, of course, there is no Linux-friendly version of MS Office, for the obvious reason, so using MS Office in turn compels me to use MS Windows, despite the cost, inefficiency, and gross security risks of doing so.

And why do my students and clients “prefer” Windows and Office? Overwhelmingly for the same reason I do: Because they know it’s the most widely used software out there and that it’s basically closed to use with other platforms, so one needs to own and use it if one wants to play nice with others/get or keep one’s job.

So, Microsoft is “popular” because it’s already widespread and not having it is a risk to one’s career.

Not exactly the stuff of true genius, is it?

As usual in big business marketing, the truth — that the private software industry is a bloated, monopolistic, increasingly outdated racket — is not only nowhere to be found in Microsoft’s pitiful charade, but the weakness of the whole thing shows just how thin and vulnerable its whole business is. Like corporate capitalism in general, Microsoft is a mile wide, but only an inch deep.

In reality, the fact that MS is not better than Apple is a superficial, distracting point. The deeper point, the one that MS fears the most, is that neither Microsoft nor Apple are now better than open-source products. Their software empires are now all emperor and no entrepreneur, despite the infamous Gatesian claim to the contrary. Hence, we get this desperate, expensive attempt to distract attention from the most basic facts. Meanwhile, the billions-for-nothing continue to roll in to already disgustingly over-stuffed pockets.

Open-sourcers and public industrialists unite! You have nothing to lose but your indoctrination!