It is super hip and woke to crap on billionaires these days. The narrative is that people like Zuckerberg, Bezos, and Musk are sitting on hoards of wealth accumulated by seizing the labor of the workers.
A billionaire could literally dedicate their entire fortune to eradicating disease in the world and they’d probably still have people complaining. Not probably. That’s exactly what Bill Gates is doing. And that’s the reaction he’s getting.
Is their wealth really theft?
For the purpose of this conversation, I’m talking about tech billionaires, not people rich from oil or inheriting a monarchy somewhere or something. Let’s talk about them because they are the ones people like to vilify.
How did tech billionaires get their wealth? They created it. Not accumulated. Not extracted. Created.
We live in a world where almost everyone has the ability to have a powerful personal computer. They can use that computer to connect with people around the world, write and publish their own book, and start and run a low cost information or cottage craft based business.
These modern miracles are due to, respectively, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk.
Before Zuckerberg created the modern social media platform, our ability to connect beyond our local community was very limited. The ability to have global networks was largely the exclusive domain of the rich.
Before Gates created operating systems that could be easily used by the masses, the power of computing technology was limited to a select few.
Before Musk (and others) created a simple and accessible online payment platform, only larger companies could afford to do commerce online.
Each of these platforms, Facebook, Amazon, PayPal, Windows, Google, and the rest created tremendous value from nothing. Their founders created the value from nothing, and that is what they have accumulated. In creating that value, they created opportunities for billions of people including myself.
I was able to publish my book which is a key part of my business because of Kindle Direct Publishing. I am able to build and maintain a global network because of Facebook and LinkedIn. All of this is possible because of the Windows based machine I run it on.
Much of it is greatly simplified by the hegemony of some of these companies. Google has created standardization of file sharing through Gmail and Google Drive which has been a huge asset for myself and millions of other entrepreneurs. Facebook’s ubiquity makes it a powerful and cheap platform for global communication, including getting this message to you.
These companies aren’t perfect. There are all manner of problems with them. That is to be expected. They reshaped the world, and that always has challenges.
However, far from the myth that billionaires strip wealth from the masses, the tech billionaires that people so love to vilify have created opportunities for wealth building and financial independence for the masses that have never been conceived of in all of human history.
Next time you feel the urge to boot up your Windows computer to get on Facebook and quote some book you got on Amazon, linking to a blog you found on Google, about how billionaires never gave anything back, I encourage you to instead take a moment to appreciate the incredible wealth that you hold because of the technologies they created. Then, ask yourself what you can do with those technologies to get yourself a piece of this new opportunity.
Michael Whitehouse helps people everyday to find the opportunities for themselves that our technological times are creating for people. To discover what opportunities exist for you, set up a free coaching session.