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Bill Gates vs. Mother Teresa (1 Viewer)

Which of these two has helped society the most?

  • Bill Gates

    Votes: 15 75.0%
  • Mother Teresa

    Votes: 5 25.0%

  • Total voters
    20

AnonymousBob

Footballguy
This is a spinoff from MoP's teacher thread. A sidenote Shick! made where he compared these very two I'm now bringing to this poll.

So the question is-which of the two have done more to help better society?

Some simple reading of each:

Blessed Teresa

Bill Gates

Personally, I think Gates and his money have done far more to help society and IMO it isn't even close.

 

ElGatoLoco

Footballguy
Some things or people in this world are just not comparable. I believe that this is one of those comparisons. How and why would you even do this? What are the criteria for, "done more to help society?"

 

dgreen

Footballguy
Didn't John Stossel make this argument many years ago (Gates >>>> Mother Teresa)?
I don't think this idea is a John Stossel original.
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own neccessities but of their advantages."
It's not necessarily an Adam Smith original either, but it certainly predates Stossel.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

djcolts

Footballguy
Didn't John Stossel make this argument many years ago (Gates >>>> Mother Teresa)?
I don't think this idea is a John Stossel original.
"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own neccessities but of their advantages."
It's not necessarily an Adam Smith original either, but it certainly predates Stossel.
I agree it wasn't his idea - he interviewed someone who said this (and used Gates vs. Mother Teresa), though, several years ago in one of his specials.
 

Limp Ditka

Footballguy
What did Mother Teresa ever do to make my accessibilty, as well as the accessibility of countless other needy individuals, to pr0n free and easy?

NOTHING!!! THAT'S WHAT!!!

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
What did Mother Teresa ever do to make my accessibilty, as well as the accessibility of countless other needy individuals, to pr0n free and easy?

NOTHING!!! THAT'S WHAT!!!
She would have slapped your hands with a ruler.
 

scoobygang

Footballguy
One reason why this is a crappy question is that Gates has probably done more meaningful charitable work than Mother Theresa. The guy has contributed billions to world health organizations. And if you want to do some capitalism rah rah thing, you can say that he's used smart management techniques in order to make his aid uncommonly effective (he practically created a market for low price vaccines for Africa that several companies now serve).

The question of whether any one successful capitalist does "more" than any one successful humanitarian seems silly to me. You have to unpack far too much. It's easier to say that mostly free markets have the biggest transformative effect on a population's well being. I don't think that's up for debate, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't regulate our markets or fund social programs. It's a false dichotomy.

 

scoobygang

Footballguy
So Gates gets a free pass on how he made the money because he does some good with it?
He wasn't exactly sending children into coal mines or steel mills. He got lucky with DOS, but I don't see where he did anything immoral. Sun and Netscape were trying to bundle browsers into their own operating system when they claimed Gates unfairly did so to gain a monopoly. And it's hard to claim that Gates "stole" the concept of Windows from the Mac OS, when Apple cribbed it from Xerox.
 

AnonymousBob

Footballguy
Some things or people in this world are just not comparable. I believe that this is one of those comparisons. How and why would you even do this? What are the criteria for, "done more to help society?"
That's the thing-the question is certainly one open for interpretation. I was curious if all would view it the same way.
 

dgreen

Footballguy
BTW, some would argue that the computer age is not helping society.
BTW, some would argue Mother Theresa did not help society. So what? What are the arguments against the computer age?
 

saintsfan

Footballguy
OK.

So Mother Teresa who gave everything she owned away and lived among the poor so she could help them can't compare to a guy who created a crappy operating system and bankrupted most of his competitors?

He did so by using unfair business practices, and as a result, has so much money that he can give away hundreds of millions and not even miss it.

Has Bill's money helped more people? Probably, but to equate the two is ridiculous. Bill is not willing to give away his lifestyle to help anybody. BTW, I'm not slighting Bill's philanthropic contributions. Plenty of rich people aren't willing to do anything, so Bill certainly gets points for that. Now, if Bill gave ALL his money away and moved to India, I might agree that he has done more. Otherwise, he's not willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all, HIMSELF, which Mother Teresa did.

No comparison.

 

drpill

Footballguy
OK.

So Mother Teresa who gave everything she owned away and lived among the poor so she could help them can't compare to a guy who created a crappy operating system and bankrupted most of his competitors?

He did so by using unfair business practices, and as a result, has so much money that he can give away hundreds of millions and not even miss it.

Has Bill's money helped more people? Probably, but to equate the two is ridiculous. Bill is not willing to give away his lifestyle to help anybody. BTW, I'm not slighting Bill's philanthropic contributions. Plenty of rich people aren't willing to do anything, so Bill certainly gets points for that. Now, if Bill gave ALL his money away and moved to India, I might agree that he has done more. Otherwise, he's not willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all, HIMSELF, which Mother Teresa did.

No comparison.
The question is not who is a better person, but who has had a greater impact (ie, helped the greatest number of people).
 

DoubleG

Footballguy
OK. 

So Mother Teresa who gave everything she owned away and lived among the poor so she could help them can't compare to a guy who created a crappy operating system and bankrupted most of his competitors? 

He did so by using unfair business practices, and as a result, has so much money that he can give away hundreds of millions and not even miss it.

Has Bill's money helped more people?  Probably, but to equate the two is ridiculous.  Bill is not willing to give away his lifestyle to help anybody.  BTW, I'm not slighting Bill's philanthropic contributions.  Plenty of rich people aren't willing to do anything, so Bill certainly gets points for that.  Now, if Bill gave ALL his money away and moved to India, I might agree that he has done more.  Otherwise, he's not willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all, HIMSELF, which Mother Teresa did.

No comparison.
The question is not who is a better person, but who has had a greater impact (ie, helped the greatest number of people).
Good call saintsfan.Drpill, the question was who has helped society - not the most people, and definately NOT who has had the greater impact - these are very different questions. Hitler had a greater impact than Mother Theresa.

Has Bill Gates helped society? - yep. But Mothera Theresa has helped society (and please note: I would define society as more than just total number of people helped) far more, by providing a viable example. Can we all (as saintsfan put it) write a crappy OS, screw our competitors, use strong arm business tactics then donate millions of dollars - probably not. Most of us can, at least to some extent, give up some things (money, time, etc.) to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Society is not in need of more money. Being a living example of kindness compassion and charity helps society more than throwing ill-gotten gain at the problem, then exclaiming "There, I did my part"

 

bialczabub

Lord of the Flies
1. What has Mother Teresa done for me today? :P

(in all fairness, within the past week, Bill Gates' company's security updates caused my PC to crash every time I right click. This problem persisted until I uninstalled the updates, but I digress)

2. The answer is Gates.

Yes, Mother Teresa was a great person and served as a great example, but Bill Gates has pioneered the computing industry, thereby helping to "shrink" the world through global communications. The full impact of this isn't even yet realized (think censorship in China, which is slowly eroding IMO)

Gates is also a prolific giver, and has allegedly contributed 1/3 of his lifetime income (billions) to charity.

Mother Teresa is a great symbol, but Gates' money makes sure food gets to third world countries, AIDS research gets funded, and other such realities.

 

saintsfan

Footballguy
1. What has Mother Teresa done for me today? :P

(in all fairness, within the past week, Bill Gates' company's security updates caused my PC to crash every time I right click. This problem persisted until I uninstalled the updates, but I digress)

2. The answer is Gates.

Yes, Mother Teresa was a great person and served as a great example, but Bill Gates has pioneered the computing industry, thereby helping to "shrink" the world through global communications. The full impact of this isn't even yet realized (think censorship in China, which is slowly eroding IMO)

Gates is also a prolific giver, and has allegedly contributed 1/3 of his lifetime income (billions) to charity.

Mother Teresa is a great symbol, but Gates' money makes sure food gets to third world countries, AIDS research gets funded, and other such realities.
Gates has given alot of money, but what has HE done as an individual to help anybody. His money does things, he doesn't. Once again, I'm not saying him giving money isn't important. It is and he's willing to do much more than most rich people. For that, he should be commended.Mother Teresa helped people, personally. She gave of HERSELF. She chose to live in poverty to help those less fortunate.

If you want to argue Bill's money has had more impact, that's fine, but don't equate the level of the giving. Bill doesn't miss that money. Mother Teresa lived in squalor because she gave so much. She lived with sick, starving, and dying because she cared so much.

 
C

CrossEyed

Guest
I once heard it said that it isn't how much you give that determines your generosity, it's how much you keep.

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
A better poll would be: in their prime who would win in a steel cage match?
This is one of the few times I would bet on Gates. MT looks like a tough gal, but all those early years of lifting monitors gives Bill the edge.
 
C

CrossEyed

Guest
I once heard it said that it isn't how much you give that determines your generosity, it's how much you keep.
I don't like it. Without keeping his money in the past, he wouldn't have been able to generate this much money, thus not being able to give near as much as he has.I mean. . .would you rather Bill Gates have worked at IBM his entire life giving away every dime he made?
Keeping it isn't the same as keeping control over it. The question is more about how much you sepend on yourself and how much you use to help others.
 
C

CrossEyed

Guest
I once heard it said that it isn't how much you give that determines your generosity, it's how much you keep.
I don't like it. Without keeping his money in the past, he wouldn't have been able to generate this much money, thus not being able to give near as much as he has.I mean. . .would you rather Bill Gates have worked at IBM his entire life giving away every dime he made?
Keeping it isn't the same as keeping control over it. The question is more about how much you sepend on yourself and how much you use to help others.
You should have said "how much you give away" vs "how much you spend on yourself" then.I'd be willing to wager that William's given more away than he's spent on himself. I'd also be willing to wager that there's not too many people here who can claim that.
With the amount of money he's made, that really wouldn't be very difficult. How much money can one person spend on themselves?
 

TinHat

Footballguy
OK.

So Mother Teresa who gave everything she owned away and lived among the poor so she could help them can't compare to a guy who created a crappy operating system and bankrupted most of his competitors?

He did so by using unfair business practices, and as a result, has so much money that he can give away hundreds of millions and not even miss it.

Has Bill's money helped more people? Probably, but to equate the two is ridiculous. Bill is not willing to give away his lifestyle to help anybody. BTW, I'm not slighting Bill's philanthropic contributions. Plenty of rich people aren't willing to do anything, so Bill certainly gets points for that. Now, if Bill gave ALL his money away and moved to India, I might agree that he has done more. Otherwise, he's not willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all, HIMSELF, which Mother Teresa did.

No comparison.
effort does not equal production
 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
OK. 

So Mother Teresa who gave everything she owned away and lived among the poor so she could help them can't compare to a guy who created a crappy operating system and bankrupted most of his competitors? 

He did so by using unfair business practices, and as a result, has so much money that he can give away hundreds of millions and not even miss it.

Has Bill's money helped more people?  Probably, but to equate the two is ridiculous.  Bill is not willing to give away his lifestyle to help anybody.  BTW, I'm not slighting Bill's philanthropic contributions.  Plenty of rich people aren't willing to do anything, so Bill certainly gets points for that.  Now, if Bill gave ALL his money away and moved to India, I might agree that he has done more.  Otherwise, he's not willing to make the greatest sacrifice of all, HIMSELF, which Mother Teresa did.

No comparison.
effort does not equal production
:goodposting:
 
C

CrossEyed

Guest
I once heard it said that it isn't how much you give that determines your generosity, it's how much you keep.
I don't like it. Without keeping his money in the past, he wouldn't have been able to generate this much money, thus not being able to give near as much as he has.I mean. . .would you rather Bill Gates have worked at IBM his entire life giving away every dime he made?
Keeping it isn't the same as keeping control over it. The question is more about how much you sepend on yourself and how much you use to help others.
You should have said "how much you give away" vs "how much you spend on yourself" then.I'd be willing to wager that William's given more away than he's spent on himself. I'd also be willing to wager that there's not too many people here who can claim that.
With the amount of money he's made, that really wouldn't be very difficult. How much money can one person spend on themselves?
:thumbdown: to devaluing someone's contributions to charity (which are more substantial to the amount of money they spend on themselves than yours or mine) just because they make money.People who make money are not evil.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that Gates has given so much money to various causes. And I don't think that people who make money are evil. Trying to compare Mother Teresa and Bill Gates is actually pretty absurd. Talk about apples and oranges.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
Has Bill Gates helped society? - yep. But Mothera Theresa has helped society (and please note: I would define society as more than just total number of people helped) far more, by providing a viable example.
A viable example of what? Spreading disease through stubbornness and ignorance?If we want to talk about whose heart was in the right place, an argument can be made for Mother Theresa. But this thread seems to be about results rather than intentions. And Mother Theresa got terrible results.

 

ElGatoLoco

Footballguy
I once heard it said that it isn't how much you give that determines your generosity, it's how much you keep.
I don't like it. Without keeping his money in the past, he wouldn't have been able to generate this much money, thus not being able to give near as much as he has.I mean. . .would you rather Bill Gates have worked at IBM his entire life giving away every dime he made?
Now we are getting somewhere perhaps. Gates was a trust fund baby that used the resources he had to eventually make billions, and then he gave a lot of it away. Mother Teresa was from a well off merchant family (see Bob's links) who gave her worldly posessions away to go and help the poor.Both had means, and they each chose a path. I believe that Mother Teresa probably accomplished more relative to the resources with which she ultimately started her mission. This isn't to say Gate's contributions aren't benefiting people a lot - probably much more in shear quantity. I believe it comes to a "means justifying the ends" question. Is there a certain nobility to the path you take? Does the more noble path have some sort of value?

We're being asked our opinion. We could probably purely quantify the question to come up with a "factual" answer, but I don't know that this would make up a person's mind when asked for an opinion in every case.

 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
I believe that Mother Teresa probably accomplished more relative to the resources with which she ultimately started her mission.
What did she accomplish? She took in over $100 million a year by some estimates. Where did it go? It seems to have gone to the Vatican's general account even though the donors were told that their money would be going to help the poor. Mother Theresa's group never built a single hospital. Mostly what she did was gather sick people all in one place, have them share blankets that were not machine washed since she didn't believe in that (thus spreading bacterial and viral infections), and baptize them before they died. Maybe she saved their souls by baptizing them, but she didn't do much to save their bodies. She even refused to give anyone pain medication since their suffering was "beautiful."
 
C

CrossEyed

Guest
I believe that Mother Teresa probably accomplished more relative to the resources with which she ultimately started her mission.
What did she accomplish? She took in over $100 million a year by some estimates. Where did it go? It seems to have gone to the Vatican's general account even though the donors were told that their money would be going to help the poor. Mother Theresa's group never built a single hospital. Mostly what she did was gather sick people all in one place, have them share blankets that were not machine washed since she didn't believe in that (thus spreading bacterial and viral infections), and baptize them before they died. Maybe she saved their souls by baptizing them, but she didn't do much to save their bodies. She even refused to give anyone pain medication since their suffering was "beautiful."
I have to admit that I'm really not familiar with any of the details of her life and ministry. Is this really true?
 

drpill

Footballguy
I believe that Mother Teresa probably accomplished more relative to the resources with which she ultimately started her mission.
What did she accomplish? She took in over $100 million a year by some estimates. Where did it go? It seems to have gone to the Vatican's general account even though the donors were told that their money would be going to help the poor. Mother Theresa's group never built a single hospital. Mostly what she did was gather sick people all in one place, have them share blankets that were not machine washed since she didn't believe in that (thus spreading bacterial and viral infections), and baptize them before they died. Maybe she saved their souls by baptizing them, but she didn't do much to save their bodies. She even refused to give anyone pain medication since their suffering was "beautiful."
Yikes. I had no idea. Another "saint" bites the dust.

 

Leroy Hoard

Footballguy
What did she accomplish? She took in over $100 million a year by some estimates. Where did it go? It seems to have gone to the Vatican's general account even though the donors were told that their money would be going to help the poor.
Hey, that popemobile uses a lot of gas.
 

Maurile Tremblay

Administrator
Staff member
I have to admit that I'm really not familiar with any of the details of her life and ministry. Is this really true?
More info at Wikipedia. I read about the hand-washing of linens years ago in an article by a nurse who'd volunteered in Calcutta.
 

ScottNorwood

Footballcutie
I believe that Mother Teresa probably accomplished more relative to the resources with which she ultimately started her mission.
What did she accomplish? She took in over $100 million a year by some estimates. Where did it go? It seems to have gone to the Vatican's general account even though the donors were told that their money would be going to help the poor. Mother Theresa's group never built a single hospital. Mostly what she did was gather sick people all in one place, have them share blankets that were not machine washed since she didn't believe in that (thus spreading bacterial and viral infections), and baptize them before they died. Maybe she saved their souls by baptizing them, but she didn't do much to save their bodies. She even refused to give anyone pain medication since their suffering was "beautiful."
:own3d:
 

bialczabub

Lord of the Flies
1.  What has Mother Teresa done for me today? :P

(in all fairness, within the past week, Bill Gates' company's security updates caused my PC to crash every time I right click.  This problem persisted until I uninstalled the updates, but I digress)

2.  The answer is Gates. 

Yes, Mother Teresa was a great person and served as a great example, but Bill Gates has pioneered the computing industry, thereby helping to "shrink" the world through global communications.  The full impact of this isn't even yet realized (think censorship in China, which is slowly eroding IMO)

Gates is also a prolific giver, and has allegedly contributed 1/3 of his lifetime income (billions) to charity.

Mother Teresa is a great symbol, but Gates' money makes sure food gets to third world countries, AIDS research gets funded, and other such realities.
Gates has given alot of money, but what has HE done as an individual to help anybody. His money does things, he doesn't. Once again, I'm not saying him giving money isn't important. It is and he's willing to do much more than most rich people. For that, he should be commended.Mother Teresa helped people, personally. She gave of HERSELF. She chose to live in poverty to help those less fortunate.

If you want to argue Bill's money has had more impact, that's fine, but don't equate the level of the giving. Bill doesn't miss that money. Mother Teresa lived in squalor because she gave so much. She lived with sick, starving, and dying because she cared so much.
You should admire private industry as a public good. Private industry is the main part of structured society that creates wealth, which is an inherent good. What I'm saying is that Bill Gates, beyond his charitable donations, has done more through fostering private business enterprises than Mother Teresa did through strictly charitable measures. Like it or not, more and more, business is a global catalyst for social change and improvement.
 

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