Jan 29 2008

“Creative Capitalism”: Harnessing the power of markets to serve the poor – by Bill Gates

Bill Gates Issues Call For Kinder Capitalism – WSJ.com

“We could make market forces work better for the poor if we could develop a more creative capitalism…” – Bill Gates at the 2007 Harvard commencement address

Is capitalism capable of lifting the world’s 4 billion poor people out of poverty? Bill Gates, the world’s greatest beneficiary of capitalist markets, thinks the system that forms the foundation of our market economy requires some re-thinking. Gates is calling for “creative capitalism” in which firms respond to incentives aimed at developing technologies that serve the world’s poor.

Gates first expressed his interest in a capitalist system with a focus on helping the poor in his Harvard commencement address last year, and reiterated his vision last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Gates envisions a future where profits will motivate industies to create goods and services not just for the top 20% of the world’s income earners, those in the rich countries of the OECD (the “country club of the UN” as Hans Rosling calls it), but by developing products that are meant to benefit the world’s poorest people, those in the bottom 20%, who suffer most from poverty.

Watch the videos below and discuss the prospects of Gate’s vision becoming a reality.

June 2007 at Harvard

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and January 2008 at Davos

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About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

One response so far

One Response to ““Creative Capitalism”: Harnessing the power of markets to serve the poor – by Bill Gates”

  1. Sam Youngon 08 Feb 2008 at 2:43 pm

    The idea of providing economic incentives to promote charity is an excellent one, and could possibly be quite successful with the right incentives, but if the task falls into the wrong hands (not to sound like a bad action movie) then these stimuli could quickly turn into a "donate or else". If done right, it should not be hard to avoid, after all, one of the first things you learn in economics is "people respond to incentives".