Bill Gates: one of capitalisms teddy bears? / Red Maxwell
The Baffler,  December 14

Daily Bafflements

Susan Faludi, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates walk into a bar

Bill Gates: one of capitalisms teddy bears? / Red Maxwell


Baffler contributing editor Susan Faludi’s In the Darkroom has made the New York TimesTop Ten Books of 2016, where it was described as a “rich, arresting and ultimately generous memoir, [in which] Faludi—long known for her feminist journalism— tries to reconcile Steven, the overbearing patriarch her father once was, with Stefánie, the old woman she became.”

• Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has joined Donald Trump’s economic advisory board. For our thoughts on Mr. Musk, see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

• Bill Gates and some of the other “good” billionaires are lining up behind alternative energy. In the context of Trump’s dubious environmental positions, they’re looking pretty benign. But as Alex Cuadros pointed out in our latest issue, that’s just part of the American consensus “that net worth is a measure not just of assets minus liabilities but of merit, and of one’s contributions to society.” A billionaire like Gates or Warren Buffett is “the platonic ideal of the good billionaire, something like capitalism’s teddy bear.” And better billionaires will never save us.

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Round-up of Recriminations

Corey Pein

Recriminations will abound in the days to come. The finger-pointing won’t stop for months, years, maybe decades. After all, it’s not every day global empires collapse from within, tweet by inexorable tweet. Given the scale of the disaster, we should expect the arguments to be spiteful and counterproductive. It cannot be any other way, for some people are in fact responsible for this historic debacle, and those people will try to shift the blame to others less deserving.

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Further Reading

 April 27

Without the broader class background furnished by the righteous elite crusade against Sandersism, the miscalled general election comes off as freakish.

 April 26

A refusal to assess damage is tantamount to caring only that a bombing occurs rather than what or whom it kills.

 April 17

Or, put it this way: Paul Ryan went out onto the tightrope. The crowd, so long adoring their golden child, cheered. But a jester got the best of Ryan.