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Bill Gates, Time Magazine "Person of the Year" 751

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the charity-gets-you-far dept.
klubar writes "Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, were named Time Magazine "Persons of the Year". He was joined in this honor with Irish rocker Bono-all being named for being "Good Samaritans" who made a difference."
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Bill Gates, Time Magazine "Person of the Year"

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  • 1936 (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @10:58AM (#14284811)
    In the year 1936 Adolf Hitler was the person of the year on the time magazine.
  • by ginotech (816751) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:32AM (#14285010)
    The point is that they pick people who have made a big difference in the world, which is how billy g slipped in there.
  • Guilt... (Score:2, Informative)

    by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:34AM (#14285017) Journal

    is a powerful motivator. Bill, like everyone else, wants people to think he's a good guy. Since he's as famous as the Beatles (though not as famous as that Guy you don't want me to mention or you'll bash me as a zealot), he has to do more to be seen as a good guy.

    But "there is no doubt that he and his wife have done more for charitable organizations than anyone in history" is a stretch. Ever hear of Andrew Carnegie? Built libraries, died broke. He gave more than Bill and the Missus, since he gave everything he had.

    How about Stallman and Torvalds? They don't do much for charitable organizations per se, but having given us GCC and Linux I'd say they've done quite a bit of giving.

    But that's an aside. From IUPUI [iupui.edu]:

    The Center on Philanthropy compiled a list of 531 gifts of $1 million or more in the first quarter of 2005 that were announced in various newsletters, newspapers, and other publications [...]

    Lotsa folks give money. What do you do with the rest of yourself -- are you kind to others, or do you try to suck the last penny out of their pockets, taking the crumbs from the plates of the poor?

  • Re:1936 (Score:3, Informative)

    by krray (605395) * on Sunday December 18, 2005 @11:52AM (#14285109)
    Sorry Anonymous Coward. You are very incorrect in your statement. Adolf Hitler was NOT the Man of the Year in 1936. It was Mrs. Wallis Warfield Simpson for that year. Please see Time Magazine [time.com] for verification.

    Of course Time's history rather sucks - Joseph Stalin made it both in 1939 and 1942...

    For a quick rundown take a look here [about.com].

    For a nice graphical layout look through Time's version [time.com].

    You will note, however, that Adolf Hitler was Man of the Year in 1938.

    I personally like their 1982 pick ... it was so "1984". :)
  • for good or for ill (Score:5, Informative)

    by sdo1 (213835) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:17PM (#14285266) Journal
    Now I know you were trying to be funny, but Time's "Person of the Year" is nominated not for being a good person, but for being an impactful person. By Time Magazine's own words [time.com] the "Person of the Year" is chosen for good or for ill . Because they chose Hitler DOES NOT mean they found him to be a stand-up person of good will. They chose him because he had an unbelievable effect on the history of mankind, though in this case of the worst possible kind.

    "...or for ill." Get it?

    Now in this case, Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono are being recognized for their efforts to make the world a better place.

    -S

  • Re: Well. (Score:5, Informative)

    by HardCase (14757) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:25PM (#14285301)
    The link doesn't actually say how much of that came from Bill himself. Nor how much of a tax break he got for whatever he did contribute.

    Gates fund the foundation himself. Or, I should say, Bill and Melinda fund the foundation themselves.

    Tax break? You're kidding me, right? Even if he's in the 35% tax bracket, he's still giving away far more money than he gets from a tax deduction. Besides, you can't get back more than you owe in taxes - I don't think that even Bill Gates can ring up a $28 billion tax bill.

    Incidentally, one of the positions that Gates has taken on our "progressive" income tax is that the rich should pay more than the poor in taxes. So has his father (who's a long way from the poorhouse himself).

    You know, you can find all this out through Google...

    -h-
  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Surt (22457) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @12:48PM (#14285441) Homepage Journal
    He guided the company during the monopolistic years. To me that's the definition. If it's necessary to clarify: Microsoft, under the guidance of Bill Gates, was found guilty of monopolistic practices.
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @01:24PM (#14285691) Journal
    Cetainly no Iraqi or Afghani would agree

    Then why are they turning out in droves to vote?

    It's ok if you hate America, just be honest enough to just state that, and perhaps brave enough to not post AC. But most Afghanis and Iraqis don't. No one wants us there forever (including us) but the *majority* are glad we are there, by any polls, by any media.
  • Re:Kudos (Score:2, Informative)

    by Orkie (899576) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @01:59PM (#14285894)
    According to the figures quoted in that article, around about 62% of his total wealth, but Wikipedia disagrees on how much money he actually has - the article says $46.5 billion but Wikipedia says $41 billion, so that figure probably isn't correct especially since the charity money probably isn't included in those figures.
  • by Minna Kirai (624281) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @02:08PM (#14285938)
    Without the Gates empire and the direction for the 'computer industry' that it has pushed and promoted, regular folks could be sitting at home comfortably watching TV.

    The direction of the computer industry was chosen by the US government, when they commanded IBM to subcontract their Operating System provider to avoid anti-trust action. As it happens, Microsoft was the company which got that contract- but it could've been anyone. As long as the fundamental decision to have separate vendors for a PC's hardware and core OS had been made, Microsoft's greatest historical contribution was inevitable.

    The more ambitious among them could be on a global network of VT-100 terminals connected

    Heard of a little thing called Apple Computer, predating Bill Gates's efforts by a considerable margin?
  • Re:Well. (Score:4, Informative)

    by elwinc (663074) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @02:19PM (#14285997)
    OK, your point is we should compare disposable incomes. Essentially all Gates' income is disposable; he still endowed his foundation with half his disposable income. According to this Jan 2005 BBC story, [bbc.co.uk] the Gates foundation has a $27 billion endowment, and has already given over $7 billion. That makes $34 billion that he could have spent buying major corporations or island nations or something.

    Who else do you know who has given half their disposable income? Let's compare Gates giving with some other billionaires who aren't so unpopular on slashdot. Larry Ellison: According to this [sciencemag.org] thru Ellison Medical Foundation, Larry is giving $100 million over 5 years for research on aging. That's pocket change for a guy worth $17 billion. Warren Buffet, weighing in at $40 billion, gives away $12 million per year, according to BusinessWeek. [72.14.203.104] Again, pocket change, though Buffet says he plans to eventually give 99% of his money to his foundation.

    Here's an old story [metroactive.com] from 2001 about silicon valley philanthropy. According to it, only David Packard (foundation gives $500m/year) is in the same class as Gates.

    At the bottom of this you'll find a Nov 2005 table [usatoday.com] listing 18 Americans worth over $10 billion. Have any of them given as large a percentage as Gates? I can't find any evidence if they have. My conclusion: compared to billionaires or to ordinary folks, Gates have given away an extrordinary proportion of his net worth.

    By the way, for those of you unfamiliar with entities like the Gates, Ellison, and Packard foundations, it works like this. You can give away whatever amount of your wealth you want in any given year, and that amount will be deducted from the income on which you are taxed. One way to give it away is to establish a 501C(3) charity, such as these foundations, and endow it with a big chunk of cash. The foundation is required by law to give away at least 5% of its net worth per year. It also needs to be independent of its endower, so it can't be used as a vehicle to manipulate or control e.g. Microsoft. The Gates foundation got a $20 billion block of Microsoft stock from Gates in the late '90s and immediately sold the MS stock for more conservative investments. I assume it continues to invest its endowment and to give away the requisite 5%, which this year tops $1.1 billion. I believe Gates' father directs the foundation. From what I have seen, the foundation has a special interest in eradicating diseases in the developing world; hence their interest in tuberculosis [gatesfoundation.org] and malaria. [gatesfoundation.org] But heck, why listen to me when you cand surf the foundation and read about its priorities. [gatesfoundation.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2005 @03:09PM (#14286309)
    A billion dollars has nine zeros not twelve so he is actually contributing 2% of his wealth.

    Giving should also be evaluated by how much of a difference it makes. Giving a billion dollars to a group that ends up wasting most of it through corruption and miss use of funds is not a very effective use of their money. The Gates Foundation is excellent at requiring results from their donations and getting others to contribute in conjunction with them.
  • not correct... (Score:4, Informative)

    by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @05:37PM (#14287110)
    You should get a copy of Negativland's book "The Letter U and the Numeral 2". If you have one already, reread it.

    The lawsuit is on page 4.

    The plantiff is Island records, the defendants are SST and Negativland (Hosler, et al). Neither the band U2 nor the members are listed on the lawsuit.

    Furthermore, the lawsuit is primarily about Negativland's use of the enormous letters "U2" on the cover of the EP. It does mention the lyrics and samples down lower. The songs were actually rereleased later (much later) with a non-infringing cover.

    Additionally, if you continue to read the book or other info on the case, you realize the main problem isn't Island or U2. The main problem was that when the lawsuit rolled in SST immediately rolled over, stopped distribution of the EP, paid off Island and then BILLED BACK Negativland for the payoff (while simultaneously depriving them of income!).

    If you continued to investigate, you'd find that Negativland was wrapped up on court for years over this. Not against Island, against SST. SST didn't rack up huge bills defending themselves against Island, they settled immediately. They did rack up huge bills fighting Negativland in a contractual dispute.

    How about if you read page 32, where Chris Blackwell of Island Records says in a letter to Negativland "I have been getting a huge amount of hastle (sp) from the members of U2, not to press for payment."

    Hosler could probably explain it better than I (he's perhaps even on here), but the main villain here is SST, not U2. Island probably comes in 2nd place.

    Note that a later part of the book talks more about "audio collage" and sampling, etc. That's where the stuff on "No Copyright" is. And there are some good arguments here, in fact, so good that (IMHO) the recent Creative Commons stuff is a spiritual descendant of this work.

    I like Negativland, I have all of their SST stuff and some of their Seeland stuff. But, I do know they are very subversive and not stupid. When the Tower records standup picture of the EP bin on page 3 of the book says "buy it before they get sued", I think it's probably that Negativland understood they would get C&D'd over this record and likely sued by Island too. What they didn't understand was that SST would roll over on them and leave them with the bill (illegally it turns out).
  • by metallic (469828) on Sunday December 18, 2005 @05:54PM (#14287191)
    You do realize that Jabbar Gibson is in jail right now on charges of possesion of drugs with the intent to distribute, right? He also has a very lengthy criminal record.
  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Monday December 19, 2005 @05:34AM (#14289728) Homepage
    Funny. But lets look at the actions, which do speak louder than words, and then again at the definition of Good Samaratin

    I find it peculiar that these acts of "charity" tend to be timed to fight Linux and Open Source more than to fight disease [zdnet.com.au]. It's been the same pattern whether in Australia, India or many of the African nations: Gates gives $100m to fight HIV, $421m to fight Linux [theregister.co.uk].

    Another thing that makes it stink of PR is the focus on HIV/AIDS which, compared to other problems like heart problems, smoke from cooking fires, etc, is not a major health problem. However, it is a high profile item for US audiences.

    Yet another problem is that the solutions offered by Chairman Bill and his foundation focus on expensive pharmaceutical treatments, often draining significant matching funding coming from the target region. Most health issues are solved more effectively and cheapy with preventative measures not corrective measures, especially expensive ones. Cheaper is better, but it just so happens he's also heavily invested in the same pharmas, so maybe, jsut maybe there is a bit of conflict of interest.

    Read the interview Time had earlier with Chairman Gates. He seriously couldn't seem less interested in the health and social aspects of the charity. The definition I had previously heard for Good Samaritan involved an active interest in helping and helping in an altruistic manner, not with strings attached or with major conflicts of interest.

  • Re:Well. (Score:3, Informative)

    by wct (45593) on Monday December 19, 2005 @06:44AM (#14289895) Homepage
    Actually, if you bothered to read the Gates foundation [gatesfoundation.org] web page, you would see that most of the money has been allocated to a minority scholarship program, followed by a vaccination fund that targets the 75 poorest nations in the world - ie not just African countries. There are no AIDS grants mentioned, except for research into an AIDS vaccine. What AIDS-in-Africa charity are you talking about? And if you've been to an African country, you would see the immense good that NGO charities are doing efficiently with relatively small financial reserves. But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of your bigoted fantasy.

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