The House Always Wins

People who are suckers for gambling have the irrational belief that lotteries, casinos and similar enterprises dedicated to harvesting money from suckers and gambling addicts are in business for their health.  They aren’t.  They are designed and built to make money and they do so in prodigious quantities.  That means that their “generosity” is always ordered to making sure that no matter how big you might win, the bulk of people lose most of the time because the goal is for the rich masters of the game get richer.

I think of that as I look at the “generosity” of Bill and Melinda Gates, devoted to culling the herd of poor people and charitable giving to immense companies that treat their serfs like serfs.  Exxon, Walmart and McDonalds: Truly the Deserving Poor.

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  • Marthe Lépine

    I “like” this quote from a private prison company where some of the Gates Foundation money is invested: “In its most recent annual report to investors, private prison company
    GEO group listed some risks to its bottom line, including “reductions in
    crime rates” that “could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and
    sentences,” along with immigration reform and the decriminalization of

  • Ken Crawford

    I’m no defender of the Gates, but that analysis is stupid and misleading. “Investing” does NOT mean “donating”, it means where the money is held/invested before they are ready to donate it to the causes they care about. This analysis is the equivalent of looking where the mutual funds my 401K invests in and implying it is what I stand for.

    If instead they decided to go very conservative and put their money in bank CD’s as opposed to stocks, would Mother Jones criticize them for “Investing” in evil banks too?

    The fact of the matter is, when you’ve got billions and billions to invest, you have NO CHOICE but to invest in the biggest companies, because they’re the only ones who big enough with enough stock to do take it. Thus, that’s all this list was, a list of the biggest corporations of America.

    If someone wants to criticize what the Gates foundation donates to, have at ’em, but this was just stupid.

    • thisismattwade

      “This analysis is the equivalent of looking where the mutual funds my 401K invests in and implying it is what I stand for.” I would say that’s a very legitimate assessment I could make, if I knew what your investments were. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

      The sadder part of this to me is that a lot of the commentators at MJ are “shocked” and “saddened” by this news. What in the world did they expect??

      • Ken Crawford

        Sorry, but that’s a very flat-footed understanding of Matthew 6:21. The verse is about orienting oneself towards heaven and NOT having a strong attachment to one’s financial holdings. Thus it actually makes the opposite point, that one can have money and wealth but it can very poorly represent what he truly cares about, that where his treasure is, because he could be more concerned with building up treasure in heaven.

        To think you could analyze what’s important to me by my 401K, is ludicrous.

    • KM

      Gates Foundation does have a choice to invest where it wants, and could easily decide to invest in smaller companies that have a positive impact on the common good. I agree with thisismattwade below in that, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

      In the 1980’s this was the idea behind the divestment movement that pressured companies to divest funds from companies doing business with apartheid South Africa. In today’s world, retirement plans like TIAACREF provide options for people to invest only in companies that meet certain social criteria.

  • KM

    I like this post, and think it applies more broadly beyond the Gates Foundation and Microsoft. The largest corporations have their lobbyists in Congress and the government, giving them special access that you, I, and small companies don’t get so that they can make laws for themselves that enrich them even more. So it’s like a club where the top players in The House get ahead, and everyone else below loses. The largest corporate players are all in The House Club and help (aka “invest with”) each other.

    Here in Silicon Valley the largest tech companies have it made, with their angel/venture fund capital, a network of financial and government cronies, and laws that enable them to get rich while others struggle just to get their small businesses off the ground or stay afloat. The tech libertarians believe it’s a free market but don’t realize that these large companies are favored by regulatory government laws, financial subsidies (aka corporate welfare), and cozy political alliances (like the NSA-tech alliance).