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I think we get a lot of heat--positive and negative--and not much light on the topic of Gates.
The issue of whether Gates represents a paragon of free market rewards or a great satan of greed comes down to how solid the argument is that his wealth represents the leveraging of unique visionary know-how vs. simply being in the right place at the right time with the right kit of jimmies and crowbars.
Gates is such a touchstone because he's pushing on so many boundaries: His industry (software) is a rarified spinoff from military tech public funding; it's a borderline public trust, and the Internet component still emits an aura of post-war public funding to most people's eyes. And he makes so much money. When pushed up against the wall on anticompetetive behavior, he's so shamelessly loose with free-market rhetoric.
- It's not just the money;
- It's not just that he makes it in computers;
- It's not just that the info-age economic...