Richest man in the world still admired, even if he believes the world is flat..

I get frustrated by people who believe the only way to fund creativity is to charge royalty fees (monopoly rents), charging a marginal cost to their clients for their creativity. The marginal cost is the change in total cost that arises when the quantity produced (or purchased) changes by one unit. For creativity, the marginal cost to the producer is always zero. While it is possible to amortize the fixed cost across many units, that is a business model choice, and it is just as legitimate to fund the fixed costs in other ways and not charge any monopoly rent at all.

When someone states that knowledge must have a marginal cost, I suggest they are on the "flat earth" side of the Jefferson Debate.

On August 13, 1813, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Isaac McPherson, part of which read:

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.

The most well known opponent of knowledge development and distribution being paid for as fixed costs, rather than a marginal cost, is Bill Gates. He became the richest man on the planet by charging a large marginal cost for developments which only cost fixed amounts to develop. In the recent decade he has been a strong proponent of things such as information and mental process patents (patents on software and business models), which would impose a marginal cost on this type of knowledge, and disallow people from choosing fixed-cost based business models. His opposition to Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) is well known, and he sees it far beyond a competitive threat to being a threat to his personal ideology.

Even in "retirement" he is said to oppose worldwide moves towards Open Access and/or commons-based Peer Production. Open Access publishing funds the fixed costs relating to publishing material, and allows the information to be accessed by anyone without additional permission or payment. Press releases that said that he was further moving away from day-to-day operations at Microsoft to focus on Health and Education with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was of great concern to me, given these are the areas worldwide that like software are ideal for fixed-cost business models.

I have never seen his work worldwide as being philanthropy, as his ideology always enters into discussion with his promotion of marginal-cost over fixed-cost methods of production, distribution and funding of creativity.

While I don't see his work as philanthropy, other people do. Today I read an Angus Reid Strategies World Poll of how 20 Countries Ranks Most and Least Admired World Leaders. Bill Gates ranked #2, just under Nelson Mandela.

The worlds richest person will likely continue to use his wealth to stifle progress, and a large amount of the worlds population will continue to not recognize his political participation for what it really is. I still believe that moving to methods of development, distribution and funding which recognizes the nature of creativity are inevitable. There are many rich and powerful people that don't believe in evolution, but that doesn't stop human beings from evolving.