spending it all - yes of course he couldn't ... but in the past it has often been about hcreating a dynasty, as you know there are a few very wealthy families in england who got rich at the time of the norman conquest and are still rich 1,000 years later.
He has reduced his holding, and he has not. He and his wide still control the shares through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has given away the rights to the dividends, but he has kept the power.
On the other hand, it does make it harder for him to create a dynasty (unless he hands on control of the Foundation)
Also, rich families, especially now, give the next generation an advantage in many ways other than simply handing on assets. Bill Gates's big contract with IBM (which made MS a giant, rather than say, something like Borland) came through family connections. it will be interesting to see how his daughter does.
he could never hope to spend it in the normal sense
Heh, I remember when the Gates Foundation first started becoming very active. I figured someone must have pointed out to Bill that nobody remembers, say, Andrew Carnegie for having lots of money; we only remember him for what he did with it.
I figured someone must have pointed out to Bill that nobody remembers, say, Andrew Carnegie
That someone would have been his parents. For many years they told him he need to "give back" and his response was that he was doing good by creating an organization that gave many people jobs. His parents kept pushing and his first philanthropic endeavor was computers in schools, but there was blowback because everyone thought it was just a ploy to get people hooked on MS products. It was during a trip to Africa that he found something he could really latch onto and thus started the Gates Foundation as we know it.
That's from memory, so you can double-check, but that story (more or less) has been told in many interviews.