Bill Gates worries about the protectionist fervor gripping some U.S. presidential campaigns.
Those who argue that restricting trade is good for domestic businesses are mistaken, Gates, co-founder of Microsoft (MSFT), told the Financial Times in an interview. In his view, the U.S. reaps huge benefits from the globalized economy.
Both Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic contender Bernie Sanders have argued that the U.S. needs to “bring jobs home.” Trump has also toed a hard line about stopping illegal immigration, with his famous call to build a wall along the Mexican border.
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Gates said increased protectionism will hurt, not help, the U.S. economy. Per the interview, Gates asked (rhetorically):
Who is the monster winner of all time in scale economic business—software, airplanes, pharmaceuticals, movies? Mmm. I wonder who that is? …
“I haven’t watched many [Nigerian] Nollywood or [Indian] Bollywood movies recently, sorry. [The big winner is] the U.S. We’re the big beneficiary of globalization … It’s the biggest beneficiary by far.”
Gates, as the Times pointed out, has supported Sanders’ opponent Hillary Clinton in the past but has also donated to some Republican candidates.
His concerns about protectionism extend beyond U.S. borders. Regarding the upcoming U.K. referendum on whether it should leave the European Union, via “the Brexit,” Gates surmised that the benefits of sticking with the E.U. would outweigh any benefits of going it alone.
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Gates, who co-chairs the mammoth Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is not the first tech titan to take on Trump’s policies. Facebook (FB) chief executive Mark Zuckerberg last week blasted the candidate’s anti-immigration stance.