Home » ExchangeEveryDay » In Defense of Bill Gates

ExchangeEveryDay Past Issues

<< Previous Issue | View Past Issues | | Next Issue >> ExchangeEveryDay
In Defense of Bill Gates
August 23, 2002

"It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile, the sweet fundamental things such as love and duty, work and rest, and living close to nature." —Laura Ingalls Wilder


In the August 16 edition of ExchangeEveryDay, Kirsten Haugen responded to the May 24 edition, "Bill Gates Addresses World Leaders on Child Health," questioning Gate's credentials as a health expert. Today, in Gate's Defense CicZara writes in part....

As an (American) ex-pat currently living in Africa, I am more aware of the philanthrophic side of Bill Gates, these days, than his corporate side. The Mr. Gates the general public knows today is not the Mr. Gates our grandchildren will remember. Bill Gates has a vision of the future in terms of vaccines and great improvements in agriculture, education, world public health and population--a world where the death of an African child will be considered just as important as the death of an American child. He comes from a family dedicated to philanthropic works, where both his parents spent many years as community leaders.

If it takes a highly successful and visionary businessman to speak to (and encourage) our world leaders, for them to sit up a moment and take notice, then more power to him. (It would also behoove America if our "CEO thieves" took notice as well). Like Ted Turner before him, who bullied others who had 'money and lots of it,' to do more and foster a new spirit of philanthropy throughout the world. (Ted Turner, set up a $1 billion UN foundation - the biggest private gift the UN had ever received). Turner warned that the "new super-rich won't loosen up their wads because they're afraid they'll reduce their net worth and go down on the Forbes list."

As Arianna Huffington wrote, "Those helping the needy have been in short supply, while those giving to already-flush universities and museums, often to fund buildings bearing their names, have been everywhere.... I'm a big believer in using any means necessary-including shame-to bring about a fundamental shift in the way we deal with the least among us." She awarded MINUS points for self-aggrandizing gifts, and PLUS points for gifts that help overcome poverty, alleviate suffering, and turn lives around.

The Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation demonstrates a 'hands-on' attitude to their giving and both are actively involved in their effective philanthropy. As a resident, now, of an East African country, I have witnessed (as in other parts of the world) millions and millions of dollars pouring in (to the pockets of politicians) and a degree of corruption that leaves well-intentioned donors and aid agencies without reliable partners for development programs.

Prior to an address to the World Leaders in Davos (2000), Gates participated in an announcement for the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a public-private partnership created to address the devastating health problems caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies, of which the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $50 million commitment over five years to support the alliance. For as much money as Bill Gates has made, he plans to give the bulk of that wealth away during his lifetime. I think his participation and involvement in his philanthropic foundation, which funds efforts and supports initiatives in areas of public and global health, global education and the empowerment of the economically disadvantaged, more than qualifies him to make his appeal on Child Health.

As much money as the 'Bill Gates of the world' have donated, PEOPLE (i.e., politicians) are the resources which have to make a difference."We're talking about saving millions of lives a year here. It's about people" and "difficult problems might be solved by the intervention of enormous resources and armies of intelligent people." It seems that Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation have "bank-rolled" some of those experts and resources for the world's children to survive. Private Funding is not enough. Governments and their politicians must step up to the plate as well.

Correction: In an ExchangeEveryDay earlier this year we incorrectly identified Kurt Vonegut as the author of some advice to MIT graduates. The advice was actually written in Vonegut style for the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich. Thanks to the many readers who pointed this out


Delivered five days a week containing news, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.

What is ExchangeEveryDay?

ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.

Post a Comment

Have an account? to submit your comment.


Your e-mail address will not be visible to other website visitors.

Check the box below, to help verify that you are not a bot. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this form.

Disclaimer: Exchange reserves the right to remove any comments at its discretion or reprint posted comments in other Exchange materials.