People with what Bryan Caplan calls “pessimistic bias” see the world in zero-sum terms, or worse. Kevin Brancato points out a pattern in Bill Gates’ thinking that is just the opposite:

“China and India are the big change agents for the years ahead,” Gates told students at the University of California Berkeley. “We have to go into the risky new areas. That’s what’s going to allow the United States to stay at the forefront…”

“It’s a little scary to me that people are thinking of this as a zero sum game,” Gates said, referring to criticism of outsourcing and growing overseas tech markets.

“We’re at the start of a process where the whole world is getting into this virtuous cycle,” Gates said.

Whoever wrote that Reuters summary picked out excellent quotes. This “virtuous cycle” language is not unique to Gates, of course; but it occurs again and again in Gates’ speeches, regardless of topic.

A well-hyped new book by Kay Redfield Jamison touts Exuberance as a personal quality that promotes creativity.

Pointer from Lynne Kiesling. Of course, my book says that economists are rationally exuberant.
And there is a whole book on Rational Exuberance, from Business Week’s Michael Mandel.

For Discussion. Does it require exuberance to believe that economic processes are positive-sum?