Wrong model for people to become rich

I headed the team that documented a seminar intended for the Catholic Bishops this January. One of my teammates submitted his documentation of a session and I was surprised at the thought he had captured from a Bishop, thus:

Let us look at what Bill Gates has done. He has created wealth for a lot of people across the globe because he focused on education or information technology. If we do what Bill Gates has done, we can also become a rich people.

I’m afraid that the Bishop is misinformed. Perhaps, he just blindly listened to the good side of Gates, not knowing the bad one. He, the Bishop, did not seem to know that Gates has become rich from out of his software monopoly, by killing other software competitors and demonizing free and open source software alternatives.

I even suspect that Gates’ being magnanimous nowadays, specifically by giving huge donations via the Gates Foundation in poor countries and research and development, is a function of channeling his massive wealth for a good cause (read: a good marketing spiel for Microsoft). This is actually not a phenomenon. Foundations are built by corporations who are either guilty for amassing wealth or pressured by tax laws. As a result, Foundations serve two functions: a) give to the needy and b) promote their products.

In other words, I disagree with the Bishop for choosing Gates as the model for Filipino people to become rich. The Holy Bible consistently marries becoming rich to honor. I’m afraid Gates must be careful in maintaining the latter, if he has that. The Bible says of the rich of the rich: “He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly. ” (Job 20:15).

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