Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gates: I made billions now its time to change the rules capitalism

So Gates has made billions founding and running Microsoft - now he wants capitalism to be more benevolent. Some 85% of the world's 6 billion people live in substandard or developing nations, many are in poverty. The rest of the world is controlled by the remaining 15%.

The bottom 2 billion of the world's people live in utter poverty. Reforming capitalism is Bill Gates' answer.

Is reform even possible? And is it the goal of capitalism to be benevolent? What are your thoughts on this and what are some of the challenges/problems with such a proposal. A series of links below the video should take you to the stories and commentary written and broadcast about Gates' comments.

Tatge - Fox Business News:
http://www.foxbusiness.com/video/index.html?playerId=videolandingpage&streamingFormat=FLASH&referralObject=94cfdcf5-0bd6-403a-aff4-9e740a5f0965&referralPlaylistId=search|cavuto%20tatge

Forbes billionaires: http://www.forbes.com/2007/03/07/billionaires-worlds-richest_07billionaires_cz_lk_af_0308billie_land.html

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/23/business/23davos.html?ex=1358830800&en=97546dcd9dec3dd7&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Wall Street Journal:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120113473219511791.html

Google Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql-Mtlx31e8


21 comments:

Annah said...

Gates claims we need a “hybrid engine of self-interest and concern for others.” Are self-interest and concern for others mutually exclusive? Symbiotic? My instinct answer is symbiotic, but can you force companies to exercise concern for others? If you can force citizens to pay taxes to the government, I can’t see why not. Capitalism now is different from its inception since the success of business has become dependent on the exploitation of the human and natural resources of these countries we say we want to help. Instead of hefty aid packages, I think the source of the solution to the inequities of the world has to start with more conscientious business practices. The question is how--government intervention? I don't think the "recognition incentive" will be enough...

Trusso Cafarello said...

It is easy for a rich man to tell the rest of society they should be unselfish. It is a capitalist economy that breeds the innovation of products such as Microsoft. If Bill Gates created an operating system in a third world country, would it have been developed? Would it have been a world renowned product? Would he even have had the tools to create such a thing?
The competition and freedom of capitalism harbors the growth of ideas. The United States’ economic system gives people the opportunity to become a Bill Gates or to develop a product better than his. If it wasn’t for a capitalist society Mr. Gates would not have been able to sue for patent rights. Nor could the Microsoft giant been sued for overcharging customers and for improperly denying benefits to employees.
If Mr. Gates is upset by companies sucking up the world’s money he should encourage computer manufactures to give customers a choices for an operating system, Linux. If people are upset about companies making billions, they can voice their opinion by taking their business elsewhere. That is the beauty of capitalism, choice.
Is it the fault of capitalism, the United States, or Microsoft that countries have extreme weather which may impede growth or a corrupt government which does not allow for classes or segments of society to flourish, nor an infrastructure? He is working against more than just capitalism.
People are selfish whether they live in a poor or rich country. Some people are quick to express their jealousy of the United States, however, they do not realize that the United States was not always this rich. The country has paid its dues. It was built from the ground up, thanks to capitalism. It was not born rich, and neither was Mr. Gates. I am not against corporations being philanthropic, but something about Gates does not sit right with me.
Now that Mr. Gates has made his billions, his motto is a “computer for everyone”. If that is the case, why did I spend $150 for an OS that hardly works?

Bee Anne said...

The call Bill Gates is making for a new "creative capitalism to ease the world's inequities" is certainly an interesting one. His obvious optimism in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos may be refreshing today amidst the uncertainty about our common economic future, but some of his statements left me with more questions than answers about how we should move forward.

Principally, I find the term 'creative capitalism' rather misleading. What he talks about is not really a reform of the capitalist system itself, but rather the practices of individuals and companies who participate in that system. Capitalism itself will continue to be driven by the market, and the theory that every country can gain from trading on the world stage.

Trade economists point to technology as assisting those who are already ahead, a concept called skill-biased technological change, and leaving behind those who perhaps need help the most.
In an interview with CNN about his ideas for 'creative capitalism' he again quoted Adam Smith, and his belief that individuals do have interests that extend beyond themselves. In Adam Smith's description of capitalism, everyone is able to gain from a system of interdependence and trade - otherwise his most famous book would have been called "The Wealth of Nations and the Impoverishment of Some". (I wish I could say that I came up with that title, unfortunately the credit for the creativity goes to a political science professor.) Since everyone expected to gain, it was easy to say that people's interests extended beyond themselves.

In the real world, however, there are winners and losers in both the short and long term. "Profits are not always possible when serving the very poor" Gates said, basically explaining one of the key reasons governments were created, to provide public goods that the market is incapable of. I agree with Annah when she says that the "recognition incentive" may not be enough to cause the change Gates is looking for, and with the interviewer from CNN who was skeptical of what he called "philanthropy by legislation", referring to the drug law example that Gates gives, and its ability to affect real change in the private sector.

To sum up this rather random collection of comments; I agree with Gates that innovators, businesses, and those who have benefited from the capitalist system should seek to expand the benefits reaching the less developed countries. I am not sure that that means reforming capitalism. Creating better best practices for businesses and getting governments involved with incentives for innovation and assistance are great ideas. The developed world should not be allowed to ignore the problems of the developing world, in my humble opinion, and Gates' foundation strives to find opportunites and solutions in ways that not many others can. I am very interested in how his pledge of $306 million to fund farming initiatives in less developed countries will translate into results - and even how a measure of accountability and effectiveness will be taken. And while I see many of his statements about 'reforming capitalism' as suggestions for reforming the attitudes of businesses rather than the structure of the system, I do think it is helpful that we are thinking and talking about the international economic system in a way demonstrative of its importance in each of our lives. Here's hoping Gates' comments start meaningful discussions around board room tables and in lecture halls about the importance of economics across the spectrum, from the few who make billions to the billions who live on less than the cost of the coffee I'm drinking.

Bethany said...

I know this is naive, but it kind of bothers me that Gates said that corporations typically need the incentives of profit or recognition before they will consider making a significant contribution to the welfare of others. I know that "the business of business is business," but it still seems contradictory to me that if the two driving forces of human nature are, as Gates said, self interest and a concern for others, that corporations would need a reward for being charitable.

That said, I think Gates' idea of creative capitalism is good in theory, but seems almost too vague for application. He said that corporations should work with governments when possible, but it seems that this would be absolutely necessary. In order to address a country’s structural problems, which affect health care and education, a corporation would need to have a deep understanding of what those problems are. To be most effective, it seems that Gates’ creative capitalism would require a third party to guide and advise the corporation. Maybe this is a role that Gates sees his own foundation fulfilling. If a corporation came into a country, donated some money and then left again, it does not seem possible for long-term changes to occur. Some sort of overseeing body, be it Gates’ foundation or a government, should be in place to coordinate the relief efforts most effectively.

Kirsten said...

Depending on who holds the power, in the West there's a tradition of tempering pure free market capitalism with either government intervention or labor unions that act as a check on capitalists. There's some form of counterbalance. And when you have a strong business sector and an effective counterbalance, the economy works as it should and the wealth is distributed. That's a central reason why FDR's New Deal and the Great Society programs worked in the World War II era. There was a system in place where workers had better benefits, providing a foundation for the economically mobile “Baby Boomer” generation.

In his book "The Wealth of Nations," Adam Smith, whom people have dubbed "the father of capitalism" and whom free market purists often quote to support their positions, Smith warns against abuses of power by industry owners where the workers don't have leverage. Smith said the situation would inherently sour if business held all the cards. If we are considering pure, free market capitalism, where market decides everything, job suppliers have the power. Without some outside force, such as the government, to intercede and provide workers with leverage, the employers have no motivation to offer it themselves. But Smith encouraged some kind of balance and government intervention has proven to be a way to achieve that balance. So if you are effectively balancing capitalism, you're forcing the people on top -- who have an absolute overabundance of everything -- to give up some of the privilege they have. People such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates seem to understand that, because they are at the pinnacle of societal wealth, gaining more wealth is immaterial. They've reached an inconceivable point where garnering more money would not create any observable change in their lifestyles. So, on the one hand, it's easy for them to say, "Yes, we should re-distribute this wealth," because Bill Gates could give away $1 billion tomorrow and it wouldn't affect his life one iota. That's the cynical view. The optimistic view dictates that their privilege has given them a sense of responsibility to help others. So in this sense, Bill Gates is right in saying capitalism is the economic answer for improving the Third World. The problem is, internationally, the poor countries have no bargaining chips over the wealthy nations.

Capitalism naturally encourages the rugged individualist ideal, and there is no law and no international organization with the authority to strong-arm the U.S. or its counterparts to behave benevolently, the same way businesses were made to give workers rights. Before unions had power, workers were forced to accept low wages and atrocious working conditions because if they didn’t, factory owners would simply find someone else willing to do so instead. Similarly, “banana republics” live or die based on underselling unrefined commodities to the U.S. for pennies. These countries accept these terms because they have no other alternative.

The U.N. can’t create the necessary bargaining atmosphere because it doesn’t have a true executive arm. To create a balance, the world needs a legislative body designed more like the European Union, where, when a country joins the organization, it must sacrifice a portion of its own sovereignty to do so. The laws of the EU parliament supercede the laws of each individual state, the same way that U.S. federal law overrides state law. An international economic union could be useful because it would engender economic fairness. In short, yes, Gates is right: capitalism can be wielded as a benevolent force, but only if you can somehow pressure capitalist countries to even the playing field.

Arman said...

Several years ago when I was in Lebanon I met many people, mainly refugees from Palestine, who hate the Western world. When I asked one of them about the reasons of that hatred to my surprise the main reason was not the issue of Israel. “Because, he said, the food and medicines, which USA and Germany waste in one week, would be enough to save thousands lives in my country”. He did not know the rules of the market economy and have never heard about Adam Smith. But he was angry; as angry as two billion poorest people in the world.

Indeed, nowadays, two billion people who live in utter poverty represent real threat for the Western world. In the age of Internet and supersonic speeds no state can fence itself off the rest of the world. If your neighbor starves while your store is packed with food your neighbor will stole it one day. There is no doubt, Mr. Gates’ sagacious eye discern this threat, and his idea of a "creative capitalism" that uses market forces to address poor-country needs besides its humanitarian value has another, preventive aim.

However, Bill Gates has step on the unsteady bridge, which connect morals with capitalism. “Morale sentiment” is an individual category, which has little to do with the public, because “morale sentiment” has one addressee, not a group of people. Bill Gates as an individual may gain pleasure from philanthropy. However, it is unclear how “morale sentiment” can be divided among a group of 3,000 share-holders of a big corporation.

At the same time, Mr. Gates is not abandoning his believes in capitalism as the best economic system. Capitalism did great on the national level in the United States and Europe, however, it needs to be complemented to fit post-industrial global world.

In early 1990's another great philanthropist, billionaire George Soros said that money in philosopher's hands can change the world. Bill Gates has already changed the world and, who knows, if he is going to do it once again.

Heather said...

Gates's creative capitalism plan is an interesting idea and definately worth researching further. While capitalism, by some, is considered the best economic solution, it is not without its faults. The major fault is that capitalism creates a huge gap between the rich and the poor. Even in America where capitalism has prospered, you can see one fault in the lifestyles lived by both the rich and the poor. In America, the wage inequality is four to one and continues to grow (the superrich continue to grow richer). If this happens in one of the wealthiest countries, imagine the effects it has on developing countries.

Gates's idea that capitalistc businesses need to find a way to help the world's poor is innovative. I feel that in the current situation where America is becoming more aware of social issues like global warming and the world's poverty situation, a motivated person with power and money can make strides to provide developing countries' people with aid. Also, you can look at this an advanced form of community PR. Businesses recognize that the public respond to their business when they do charity. So even to a rich man who might have selfless reasons to help the world's poor, it could no doubt benefit his business's reputation and profits, which would still maintain the capitalism that many Americans enjoy. While Gates's plan is by no means a solution, it is a start to improve people's lives. It may seem idealistic, but isn't that how many reforms begin?

Andy Heger said...

Bill Gates' idea for "creative capitalism" that would attempt to solve some of the world's poverty issues is noble, but unlikely to succeed. I am not sure capitalism is able to be reformed because it has taken the foundation of profit reinvestment and development and turned it into a "free-for-all" based mostly on greed in its purest form. Corporations, at times, exploit workers and damage lives and the environment simply for its own reward, and a lot of times this is done in the poor, developing nations Gates is looking to aid. Many corporations have foundations that are essentially a front to make them look “compassionate.” I don’t believe this would change even if providing incentives. I feel that self-interest and concern for others can exist together in a general sense, just not in a capitalistic business sense for now. As Muhammed Yunus mentioned (via the Wall Street Journal article), capitalism is only “half-developed”, as in the profit side not the side which calls for helping others. Gates has his billions and his foundation is more than secure, and for this reason, he is allowed to promote such a new brand of capitalism with relative calm.

The idea of capitalism and its resulting greed seems to have intertwined itself in some government systems of developing nations. In other words, it’s not so much that capitalism or any economic system is the issue, but it’s the government or ruling system in which it exists that controls the shots. Therefore, in some countries, it may be beyond the control of economics and markets as to see that citizens are served. I feel that billions of dollars in aid has already taken place, and yet we hear that the world is becoming poorer every day. I don’t know why the existence of “creative capitalism” would change the reality that not everyone who needs aid sees it. In the end, I feel that capitalism has truly benefited those who profit from it, not to those that supposedly benefit from its existence.

I once lived a slowly-developing nation and was alarmed by the amount of poverty, but even more so by the abundance of technology that existed in the presence of the people who lived in the streets and in shacks on the outskirts of town. Most of it was technology for entertainment, and not for direct development of infrastructure or health care or any useful. Did it provide some local jobs? Maybe. Did it provide necessary benefits to others? (no, unless needing a cell phone is priority when you are making maybe barely enough money to support your family). What it did, in my eyes, was continue the trend that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (in that poor people would buy beyond their means), which is how capitalism thrives these days.

So, I applaud Bill Gates and his ideas. If he somehow is able to develop them, I wish him luck, because the world needs all the help it can get. I just won’t hold my breath that it would bring about any real, concrete change, because it simply may be beyond his control.

Kirsten said...

An addendum to my earlier post: I don't buy into the idea that capitalism necessarily results in greed. As I mentioned previously, with the proper controls in place, wealth in capitalism can be theoretically redistributed.

Annah said...

I wanted to respond to a few comments in the posts:

“Is it the fault of capitalism, the United States, or Microsoft that countries have extreme weather which may impede growth or a corrupt government which does not allow for classes or segments of society to flourish, nor an infrastructure?”
Yes, actually, it is the fault of the U.S.. Many of the corrupt governments are in place because it is in the interest of the United States to keep them there.

“United States was not always this rich. The country has paid its dues. It was built from the ground up, thanks to capitalism.”
It was built by annihilating 90% of the indigenous population so our forefathers could do things their way. We’re not the first, but we certainly won’t be the last.

“Indeed, nowadays, two billion people who live in utter poverty represent real threat for the Western world.”
Here lies the rub: we can debate capitalism all we want from our comfy armchairs while drinking our $4 lattes in front of our new iMacs, but much of the world is impoverished and looking into ideological solutions that threaten all of us, including capitalism. I think we have to admit to all the relevant realities—and systems, whether likable or not. Capitalism is one slice of the pie, and we can’t discuss it without debating others simultaneously.

Tina* said...

Capitalism has never been an economic system that put its focus on charity or how to make others benefit from a business' profit.

The thought of American companies giving billions of money to the poor in times the American economy itself is not in its best condition and most countries in Europe and Asia fear a crash of the world market had something ironical in my opinion.

What about the years before? Has any of the profit organization ever cared about the people, when they relocated factories in countries like China, where humans and even children work for a ridiculous salary? Wasn't that just about the profit, too as a way of reducing production costs?

Bill Gates ideas sound nice. Who wouldn't like them? They sound like the words of a good Samaritan. However, I doubt that Bill Gates, even though he is one of the richest persons alive, has enough power to make a whole economic system change that has been intact for centuries. I also agree with some others mentioned in their comments that it is not really a big deal for him to give away his money.

Another point is that in terms of poverty, everyone thinks about the developing countries right away. However, capitalist countries have not deleted poverty either. It might be not as bad as somewhere else, but the bottom line is that capitalism gives individuals the chance to strive for success, but leaves the common welfare behind.

GERBER said...

In a perfect world large discrepancies between the rich and the poor would not exist. Our world is far from perfect. Gate's proposed creative capitalism is not an answer to world poverty, especially now.

America has been hit with economic hardship. According to this week's Economist "Across the globe, more than $5 trillion has disappeared from the value of public companies in the first three weeks of January. Many markets are 20% or more below their highs." So now is when Gates feels the need to pitch his 'creative capitalism' plan to help developing countries? Maybe he should rather focus on a creative way to dig not just the US but the rest of the world out this tumultuous economic situation.

Gates is essentially advocating for corporate responsibility. As the world's richest man it is easy for him to say give give give. In my opinion if corporations chose to donate and help developing countries that's great, but that is not their primary role, nor should it become.

Kim said...

Financial gain and altruism are not usually seen as partners, but Bill Gates is trying. The poverty and disease in the world is not new. Gates even admits that the conditions are improving throughout the world, but he is impatient. It’s great that Gates will start to dedicate more of his time to his charitable organization, but I wouldn’t expect the business community to immediately jump on the bandwagon. The sub-prime mortgage crisis has put many companies on the defensive. Capitalism does not support morality, but bolsters competition.

Capitalism is not the reason, the rest of the world is in bad shape, but it is a factor. Governments could give more money to charity if they chose to, but many of the countries that are in desperate need for help are not linked to the national interests and trade/financial agreements of the capitalistic countries. I would like to see companies and countries contribute more to developing nations, yet I cannot demand anything charitable from private companies. Citizens can require more of their nations.

Amanda Teuscher said...

I find Gates's comments very interesting and not altogether surprising. He of course profited enormously from the "old" capitalism, but that is not to say that he would not have become just as rich if he had employed then the same initiatives he discusses now. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an example of the importance he attaches to philanthropy. So it is not surprising, nor is it particularly interesting, that he is here advocating further attention toward charity from the world's corporations.

What is interesting, though, is the whole framework Gates is now placing capitalism in. A commonly-held, and perhaps rather naive, view is that capitalism naturally rights the wrongs of the world because of its ability to bring about progress in technology and living standards. But Gates accounts for the growing poverty gap by blaming capitalism. I do agree that such disparities and the world's poverty can be seen as resulting from international capitalism. Industrialized nations rely on resources of the underdeveloped nations, and those nations are being left behind, unable to integrate fully into the international system. This can be from internal instability, or even a byproduct of decolonization. Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank executive, recognized that conditions placed upon underdeveloped nations by organizations such as the IMF are often too stringent and unhelpful because of the same simplistic view that untouched capitalism will right all the wrongs. And the world's poor are not only left out of new technologies, they remain searching for clean drinking water.

But is it hypocritical, or even ironic, that, as a man who made his fortune developing such advanced technology, Bill Gates should call upon corporations to re-orient themselves toward more charity-focused work? I don't think so, because Gates is viewing capitalism in a new way. If corporations are going to be the top groups of society, groups that dole out shares of wealth, they need to behave responsibly. He is not simply calling on the rest of society to give more money away; he is calling for these large pools of wealth (corporations) to actually perform the way advocates of pure capitalism think they do. Gates recognizes that capitalism is not a pristine system -- it has the capability to do even more.

Samantha said...

I believe many will agree with what Gates is trying to accomplish with his idea of "Creative Capitalism". However, I doubt we will see it brought into action. The reason? Gates admitted that when he first went into business with Microsoft, he was driven to simply make a profit. He stated that his knowledge and understanding of global inequalities was minimal. Now, older and wiser (and richer), he is ready to call for what seems to be a reformation of the ethics of business practice.
Although I praise Gates for his recent dedication to reducing the poverty rate and improving the quality of life for the poor, I think it is unlikely that large corporations are going to jump on the bandwagon right away.
First, there is the current world economic situation to deal with. Corporations will focus on whatever means are necessary to stabilize the world economy before they worry about humanitarianism. Second, the (Forbes billionaires?) article stated that the average billionaire is two years younger than in 2005. Younger entreprenuers are entering the scene and, although I'm not saying that they don't care about the satisfaction of helping others, they want to prove themselves successful too.
However, with an increase of meetings and debates between the titans of industry, I don't see why a shift in business practice couldn't be accomplished. In our capitalist world, the easiest way to make a difference is to put yourself in a position to create change. In a sense, that is what Bill Gates has done and, hopefully, the younger generation of entrepreneurs will follow.

Susie Shutts said...

The growing chasm between the very rich and the very poor is disconcerting. But Bill Gates’s “creative capitalism” business model is flawed for several reasons. First, although it sounds good in theory, its application is unlikely if not impossible. Businesses answer to shareholders, not to the world at large (unless consumers begin to take philanthropic or ‘creative capitalism’ endeavors into consideration while purchasing, the way economic impact is considered as part of the ‘green movement’ businesses now cater to). This is best summed up by Bill Gates’s simple observation that “as people’s wealth rises, the financial incentive to serve them rises. As their wealth falls, the financial incentive to serve them falls until it becomes zero.” On the Fox News clip, Jonathan Hoenig argues that capitalist countries are the more prosperous than countries under different economic systems. He takes it further by suggesting that Gates’s capitalist endeavors have done more than his philanthropic efforts. Perhaps what Hoenig is referring to here is the idea of sustainable change. I admire Bill Gates’s ideas but am skeptical about implementation. Is capitalism inherently exploitative? Capitalism provides jobs, but it also tends to consolidate wealth in the hands of a few, and treat people and the environment as resources to be used and irresponsibly discarded. I think the best solution is for capitalism to be forced to adhere to baselines set by governments such as minimum wages, maximum work hours, child labor laws, anti-trust laws and resource conservation. Capitalism doesn’t have to be as exploitative as it currently is, with the chasm ever widening, and by proactively enacting legislation (and selectively trading) it is possible to decrease these negative effects.

Sanford said...

I can't really talk about capitalism and what is changing because I don't entirely understand economics, but I do commend Bill Gates for taking a stand and challenging other corporations to financially support developing countries and their issues. From the blog and different stories it doesn't seem that capitalism needs to be reformed because it is failing, it needs to be reformed to benefit more people. Gates, along with celebrities such as Bono and Alicia Keys, is setting a wonderful example for sincerely giving back. For example he is physically working to make this work, by leaving Microsoft for while, and not just writing a big check to somewhere.

Major corporations are the solution to the problem of poverty and disease in developing countries but they can make a big step.

Jennifer said...

First I want to comment on the FOX news piece. I really enjoyed comparing how Mark and Jonathon were dressed differently- A perfect example of conservative-liberal stereotypes. Jonathon in a suit and tie and Mark in a sweater and flannel.

I side more with Mark than Jonathon. Money notoriously equals power and many of these multibillion-dollar companies have a lot of influence. Bill Gates is only asking for a corporate executive to have three Porsches, not eight, and then give that money to an impoverished country. Especially when 800 million people in the world are starving or inadequately nourished (from Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler, NY Times).

If Gates’ plan is adopted by even a few companies, the state of the world could measurably improve.

vincent said...

I whole-heartedly agree with Bill Gates in using market forces to address the needs of poor countries. I think of it like this: when you break down capitalism to its simplest form it is basically described as competition. With any competition there is going to be a winner, in this case the wealthy, and a loser, the poor. That is all fine and dandy but the problem arises when the winners take unfair (or is it fair?) steps to keep themselves at the top and thus thwart the attempts of the losers to gain any kind of ground. When this happens, competition is no longer in effect because the winners are in too high up of a position already to compete with. Meanwhile the losers are not in the position to take advantage of opportunities and resources due to exploitation and are unable to advance toward the winning status due to the barriers set up by the winners. I believe this is exactly what the big time corporations are doing.

Karen said...

This is a complicated issue, and as one of the posts said, it is not entirely about capitalism. There are many other factors, but capitalism is one of the largest driving forces.
I commend Bill Gates for all of his economic achievements, and even more so for the fact that he has created one of the largest charities in the world, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was started in 2000, with a $126 million dollar contribution from Bill Gates.
Other financially successful business people have contributed vast sums of money in the past several years. Warren Buffett contributed $30.7 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Barron Hilton gave $1.2 billion to the Conrad Hilton Foundation and Leona Helmsley gave $4 billion to the foundation with her family’s namesake.
These are generous contributions made by these individuals because they wanted to give money to those with less than what they have. Not everyone who has lots of money is going to or will want to donate money. I think that Gates saying businesses should establish themselves to make money and focus on providing services to the poor is a bit na├»ve and far stretched. In a perfect world, that’s how things would operate. I don’t think Bill’s idea for creative capitalism will work. If so many business people were worried about the poor--sweat shops, slaves and child workers would not be as prevalent as they are around the world. We wouldn’t see such a rush of our jobs being outsourced, because everyone around the world would receive equal pay with health care.
There are philanthropic souls, some which I have named above, but I honestly believe that most people go into business to make as much money as they possibly can, and they will do whatever it takes to make that money. Even exploit and rob the poor.
Even though, kudos to an optimistic man who seems determined to help change the world.

Jourdan C. said...

Well, after years of record gains Bill Gates is starting to consider his legacy. Much like Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller, Gates is at the top of his game at the precise time of this speech. He may have had the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation for some time, but never have I heard him suggest so blatantly that other follow suit.

And more power to him for it. God knows all of those Ford scholarships did someone good. I support anybody motivating that greed take a backseat to monetary gains. However, I found it slightly concerning that he kept reiterating the gains charity would have on the corporations. He insisted that recognition for charitable deeds would be good for the company. Despite all of this goodwill, the bottom life is ever-present. The bottom billion may not be benefiting - but what kind of pollution have his ventures afforded the earth?

I'm glad he took the medical approach to helping other nations. It's so hard to just throw money at problems because they carry so many dimensions. Physical health is a universal concern. The real issue is creating self-sustaining environments for these people. But it's the governments and the history that keeps these people down. Productivity will stay down so long as you oppress women and eliminate half your potential workforce.

I support his ideas, but who's going to follow? Everybody wants a 300 ft. yacht like him; then we'll start talking about the others. The goodness of hearts and business seldom mix and I doubt Gates will get anyone to agree until they've gotten a slice so big of the pie.

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