A Good Billionaire Vs a Bad One: Elon Musk Is Pro-Human, Bill Gates Is Anti-Human

Here’s a summary of why Elon Musk is a “good billionaire” while Bill Gates is a “bad billionaire.” The most important distinction arises from the two billionaires’ opposing points of view on humanity’s population growth. In short, Gates wants to hamstring an already threatened human population with a depopulation agenda while Musk wants humanity to grow, avoid population collapse, prosper, and eventually continue as a civilization amongst the stars.

While billionaires often tend to be unscrupulous pursuers of wealth and power, there are, of course, exceptions. (To paraphrase George Carlin, with any group of people there are a few winners… and a whole lot of losers.) One such exception is Elon Musk; founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX and CEO, early-stage investor, and Product Architect at Tesla, Inc. Musk has said on numerous occasions that population collapse—or the winding down of the number of humans on Earth, generation by generation—is perhaps the most significant existential threat humanity faces. He specifically highlights the danger of letting the human species shrink and the human spirit dissipate. With SpaceX in particular, the engineer and entrepreneur says he seeks to “preserve the light of consciousness.

Elon Musk speaking during an interview after his acceptance of the 2020 Axel Springer award.

This point of view, which is humanist at its core, and calls for a flourishing human species, runs in direct contrast to Gates’ point of view: one that espouses humanity is growing so rapidly it will test the carrying capacity of Earth; an outlook that particularly calls for the slowing of humanity’s growth. And a forced dwindling of the human population, one generation after the next.

In the video above, Musk, speaking after accepting the 2020 Axel Springer award—an annual award given to outstanding personalities who are “exceptionally innovative”—reiterates his fear of population collapse.

“I think we need to watch out about population collapse,” Musk says in the interview with Springer. “This is somewhat counterintuitive to most people…but that’s just because they live in a city.” The Tesla and SpaceX CEO goes on to say that “low birth rate is…a big risk, and it’s not exactly top secret. You can go and look at the Wikipedia birth rate, and this is…definitely [a case] where humanity ends with a whimper, not a bang.” Indeed, the Wikipedia “birth rate” page notes that the average global birth rate was 18.5 births per 1,000 people in 2016. The free, online encyclopedia notes that In 2012, the average global birth rate was 19.611 births per 1,000 people according to the World Bank.

Bill Gates giving a TED Talk in 2010.

In opposition to Musk’s point of view, Gates—a co-founder of Microsoft and “investor, author, and philanthropist” according to Wikipedia—claims that the human population needs to be curtailed in order to decrease the odds of environmental disaster. I.e. humanity burning through Earth’s resources; leaving a hungry population that cannot be fed and an environment devastated by CO2-induced climate change.

In the 2010 TED talk above Gates outlines an equation for minimizing the impact of CO2 on the environment: CO2 = P x S x E x C. Where C stands for the amount of CO2 put out per unit of energy used by humans; E, how efficient humans are; S, the amount of services people use; and P, the size of the human population itself. Gates notes in the talk, with the P variable of the equation highlighted behind him, that “probably one of these numbers is going to have to get pretty near to zero.” Gates specifically notes that “if we do a really great job with new vaccines, healthcare, reproductive health services, we could lower [population growth] by perhaps ten or 15 percent.”

In a 2018 World Economic Forum article titled “Bill Gates has a warning about population growth,” author and Reuters correspondent Kate Kelland notes that “Rapid population growth in some of Africa’s poorest countries could put at risk future progress towards reducing global poverty and improving health, according to a report by the philanthropic foundation of Bill Gates.” Kelland goes on to quote Gates as saying that “Population growth in Africa is a challenge” and that “The biggest [ways to slow the population growth] are the modern tools of contraception.”

Gates’ concern with the population growth of African nations is perplexing and devoid of logic. Not only does the “birth rate” Wikipedia page note a human population in decline, many other sources do as well—a World Population Review report from 2021, for example, notes that “Due to varying demographic challenges around the world, many countries are facing shrinking populations.” The report goes on to note that “The United Nations publishes demographic projections regularly…to study the fertility, mortality, and international migration projections to determine the 20 countries projected to have the largest percentage population declines over the next three decades (2020-2050).” At the top of this list are Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Latvia. Rounding out the bottom of the list are Italy, Cuba, and North Macedonia.

The second reason Gates’ urge to limit population growth in Africa is strange is the specific hamstringing of African peoples. While Gates’ claim that underdeveloped nations’ populations grow faster than those of more developed ones may be true, Africa is currently only the third most densely populated continent after Europe and Asia. World Atlas notes in a 2019 report that “The population density of [Africa] is 87.15 people per square mile.” A fraction of Europe’s 187.84 people per square mile and Asia’s 246.11 people per square mile.

While Africa’s population is indeed growing at a faster pace than any other continent’s, it clearly does not have an issue with population density. Not yet, anyway. And considering the world’s population growth overall is clearly on the decline, why not let Africa “fill out” with people? Especially knowing that as the continent grows more developed, its population size will naturally level off. Oddly enough, even Gates himself tweeted out a 2014 article from the “modern media company” OZY, which noted that “[population decline] is a difficult trend to reverse once it’s in motion, as Japan well knows after decades of unsuccessful state campaigns promoting having children.” The article goes on to note that “it turns out we do have a major population problem—it just may not be the one we thought.”

Considering the essentially universal agreement that human population is not a threat to the planet, and that humanity is indeed in danger of population collapse, why does Gates continue to push for limiting its growth? It’s a bizarre and unethical stance to take; it focuses on limiting the number of Africans in the world and serves to deride and levy guilt on those choosing to have children.

A glimpse of Bill Gates’ 66,000-square-foot home, “Xanadu 2.0.” Image: jeffwilcox

What’s especially odd is Gates obeys exactly zero of his dictums regarding the slowing of population growth or the lowering of personal resource consumption. The billionaire has three children—one more than replacement rate—and lives a spectacularly lavish life that requires an enormous amount of resources. His primary residence, for example, is 66,000 square-feet in size and took seven years to build. The palatial mansion, valued at $127 million according to a 2018 Business Insider article, has seven bedrooms, more than 24 bathrooms, and required more than one million board-feet of lumber for its construction. The “home,” which Gates refers to as “Xanadu 2.0” as a nod to Charles Foster Kane’s home in Citizen Kane, even has a reception hall that can accommodate 200 guests and a garage that can hold up to 23 cars.

Overall, Musk’s stance on population growth is not only more in accordance with reality, but also supported by his own actions. The good billionaire has six children as of this writing—a number you’d expect from somebody worrying about a dwindling population—and constantly encourages the public to have children themselves. Likewise, instead of trying to decrease the amount of non-renewable energy each person consumes, he’s building a sustainable energy future via Tesla’s vehicles and its solar panel/rooftop business.

Link to Elon Musk’s tweet.

Regardless of lifestyle choices, it’s abundantly clear Gates has, in essence, a depopulation agenda. A very strange and cruel agenda that also calls for controlling agriculture in other countries, against their wills. This urge to control—to determine how other, free people live their lives—is an equally clear hint at why Musk is a good billionaire and Gates is a bad one. The former tech titan aims to encourage people to change without coercion; building a bright future that attracts people to it like a moth to a flame. The latter billionaire, on the other hand, seeks to impose his will on humans around the world. Something that would be significantly easier for him to do if there were far fewer people to push back on him.

Feature image: Heisenberg Media / Dan G

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