Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bill Gates takes higher education to task.

Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum ,2007.
Bill Gates at the World Economic Forum ,2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess when you've donated half a billion bucks, you are entitled to say what's on your mind.  But here's the thing:

It's what a former partner in the law firm where I worked called "The smart/stupid syndrome."  When you are riding high everyone thinks you know everything about everything… whether you do or not.

Bill Gates had one great vision: an operating system for desktop and laptop computers that he --- with a little help from his corporate-counsel dad and a phalanx of talented employees --- drove to its extreme, i.e., monopoly level.  As a result he became one of the richest people on earth.

We can debate whether a capitalist system that provides such outlandish rewards is just or even optimal.  Here I'm trying to make a different point:

Bill Gates is a college drop out.  Is he really the best qualified person to dictate what's wrong with higher education and how it can be cured?

Or is this an example of the smart/stupid syndrome in action? ---  Bill Gates is enormously wealthy, so he must know everything and be right about everything.  The higher education industry has  fallen short in many ways and has many serious problems.  Therefore everyone in it must be stupid and ought to sit at the feet of the guru and take instruction from him.

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