Open Letter to Bill Gates on Government vs Private Sector Ineptitude
By Arthur M.M. Krolman
Dear Mr. Gates,
Thank you for your candid interview urging the human species to do something really big: let government push and pull the private sector to change earth’s temperature by two degrees. But, with all due respect, you’re thinking way too small.
Please accept this letter as my urging that you seize the opportunity to do something much bigger: prove beyond doubt that government is less inept than the private sector for all decision-making.
My idea is sparked by your mind-blowing, albeit brusque, reply to the journalist:
Yes, the government will be somewhat inept. But the private sector is in general inept.
Along with those venture capital missteps, you were probably thinking of your Zune mp3 player. Yup, we businessmen sure make a lot of inept decisions, don’t we? And the financial losses are certainly not as fun as profits!
I like to think of myself as level-headed and had always known that humans in the private sector can be inept. And I knew that government can be inept too. But I had never considered that, compared to government, the private sector is more inept. But you are not just any level-headed businessman. Far from it.
And it got me thinking: what if government took over more of the decision-making from the private sector? Wouldn’t it be a great and logical leap forward for humans and the earth alike to experience more “somewhat ineptitude” and less “general ineptitude”? Free from the shackles of profit and loss, government might indeed make better decisions than the private sector everywhere. Maybe they could bring back the Zune as a huge success!
You are a great philanthropist, Mr. Gates. You have a great theory about private sector ineptitude. But unfortunately there are many stubborn deniers still out there. They are still skeptical and want to see positive proof of your theory. This is your moment. Here is how you can prove beyond all doubt that government should be making all decisions — not just about controlling the weather.
Take out a full page ad in the New York Times announcing that controlling shareholders have granted the government the exclusive right to make all Microsoft investment, operational and marketing decisions for a period of five years. Think of the incredible Microsoft innovations that those skeptics will be forced to acknowledge as this bold experiment unfolds. As a petty private sector member, I can only speculate. But I can imagine a Microsoft CO2-free Cloud …Nokia rotary-dial smartphone …Microsoft X-Ray Box for airport scanning. Perhaps even thoughtful Microsoft Windows updates — more frequently. And the list goes on.
I am not suggesting that you give up ownership of your valuable Microsoft shares as part of this grand experiment. As you would expect, the value of Microsoft will move dramatically during the five years and you, Mr. Gates, should reap your full share. Many will say that you are handing over the reins of your company for this experiment to selfishly enjoy the bonanza of government decision-making. But I urge you to ignore these small-minded critics. As your wealth multiplies by some untold factor over the five years, think of the number of other experiments you will be able to undertake in the future and how humans might benefit.
And these future gifts will be icing on the giant cake you will already have baked and served to human kind: proof about inept government versus the inept private sector. And how ironic that this bold, surely ept, theory comes from a private sector businessman (government patent protections aside). How you teach us new and amazing things. How amazing it is to contemplate that the inept government only survives by extracting money from the more inept private sector in the form of taxes and currency debasement. Clearly such an organization is less inept! Let your experiment unfold. Bravo Mr. Gates!