Political Polarization ‘May Bring It All to an End’

  • Bill Gates is sounding the alarm about political polarization in the US.
  • “Political polarization could put an end to this, we’re going to have an election defeat and a civil war,” he recently told Forbes.
  • Gates, who has been the target of many conspiracy theories over the years, also pointed out the dangers of misinformation.

Bill Gates usually focuses on issues like poverty and infectious diseases through his charitable foundation, but another issue worries him about the polarization of US politics.

“I admit that political polarization could put an end to all this, we’re going to have an election defeat and a civil war,” he said recently in the keynote address at this year’s Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. “I have no experience in it. I won’t divert my money to it because I wouldn’t know how to spend it.”

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Political polarization goes hand in hand with another problem: the spread of misinformation.

“The polarization and lack of trust is a problem,” he continued to Forbes. “One of the best-selling books in the last year was a book by Robert Kennedy that said I like making money and killing millions of people with vaccines. What sells well is wild.”

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Over the years, Gates and his ex-wife Melinda French Gates have donated billions to vaccine research, development and delivery through their foundation. Gates has been the subject of conspiracy theories claiming he is putting microchips in vaccines to track people. Earlier this month, Gates said people yelled at him on the street with such allegations.

“People look for simple solutions [and] The truth is kinda boring sometimes. Anyone with good innovations to reduce polarization and make the truth as interesting as the crazy stuff would be worth investing in,” Gates told Forbes.

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Gates’ summer reading list for this year, which he announced in June, includes “Why We’re Polarized” by Ezra Klein.

“I’m generally optimistic about the future, but something that’s dampening my outlook is the increasing polarization in America, especially when it comes to politics,” Gates wrote in a blog post about his book recommendations at the time.

Also during the Forbes keynote conversation, Gates said that he and ex-wife Melinda French Gates hope to keep their charitable foundation going for 25 more years to focus on fighting infectious diseases.

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