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This is a dangerous thought, imo. Robber Barons turned philanthropists are still evil old men trying to buy social indulgences. I argue that the weight these monopolists tied around their industries had larger negative impact on GDP and innovation than the positive value of the 'works' their charities re-invest in society.

Oh, I completely agree. The point I was trying to make was simply that increasing funding for medical research on malaria, tuberculosis, etc. was more significant than anything he did (or could do) with Microsoft.

But regardless, I agree that the world would be a much better place if addressing our solvable problems didn't require the support of a retired billionaire first.

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