To begin Apple users, of which I have been happily one for the last four years having been released from corporate Windows, do not rever Bill Gates but see him rather as a destructive monopolist who has done much to ruin the pleasure of computing and destroy much creativity in the computer and internet space. We are only too happy to see him give his money away which he has mostly stolen but regret that this gives him so much power and control over charities, charitable work, intellectual forums within the circles of power and the "mindless" many of whom praise his multi-generational theft on this board. On the plus side, he does do it with a smile!
Yes, we have our baronial titans of industry pillaging and buying up smaller creative companies as they go, in much greater numbers than Europe but hold on, there's always China and their guys and assorted gals seem ready to do some big time plundering of their own.
As for philanthropy in general most working class people would rather earn their due - not 1/1000 of the CEOs take - than have to take food stamps or Gates foundation computer outreach programs.
As for creativity, as one interested in philosophy - especially as imo we are all going to die and have not been put here to consume as many i-pods or LPGs as possible - the French have contributed dozens of major philosophers to Western civilization just in the post-war years, including philosophical movements which have furthered our understanding of society, language psychology etc. compared to exactly none for the Americans. I am talking about things like Existentialism, Structuralism, deconstructionism, semiotics, post structuralism and people like Sartre, Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Lacan (psychology), Bardaud (history), Baudrillard (sociology), Althuser, Levi-Strauss, etc.
So you guys continue to rever the economic exploits of wal mart, amazon, windows, Mac Donalds, YUM Brands (Kentucky Fried Chicken - now expanding in China), I will tell you that Carrefour has biger and better stores with fresher produce, ikea classier and less expensive furniture; Sony and Philipps do as well as Microsoft and in the case of gaming and blue ray technology Sony makes a much better product but in making this comparison both you and I would be missing the point
The point is to live and learn from others not to be so blinded by ones jingoism and prejudices to miss most of what is out there and especially when it concerns ones unfortunate neighbor like the American blacks, all that this oppressed people has contributed, in terms of joy, music dance, theater literature and now leadership as to render onself absent from modern society by one's close mindedness. Imagine what American society would be without the great contribution of the African polity, a smaller narrower place ready to consume itself with hatred. One may say the same of Asian Americans and Hispanics and even all the white groups but one must begin by seeing "the other" as the French Philosophers say.
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