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Bill Gates & Creative Capitalism
Philanthropy sounds like a jolly nice thing.  In essence it is.  Like most things in life it has two sides.  The bottom line is that someone is better off than someone else and affords an effective non conditional transfer of benefits.
The historical circumstances of the human condition indicate that there is never equality.  Philanthropy seems to be one of the natural human responses.  There is always the question of why and how one person is significantly advantaged over another.  And there is also the question as to whether philanthropic actions are designed to gain more advantage or to dilute the dangerous effects of the inequality.
But regardless of whether the world should be in the state it is in or not the fact remains that there are too many people who are suffering whilst there are enough resources to go round.  The art is to redistribute the wealth.
This is where Bill Gates comes in.
Bill Gates is a visionary.  What?  A visionary?  That sounds a bit ancient, historical, even biblical.  But he is.  I don't know why one human being has a clearer view of reality than another but there are examples littered through history.  I suspect it has something to do with upbringing and a lack of oppression.  But what I can see in Bill gates is that like Freud, Einstein and A.J. Ayer, he cut through the fog and saw the obvious.  Unlike the aforementioned trio he didn't write about it he simply acted on it.  Now history could have proved him wrong.  Circumstances could have too.  And I am sure there are thousands of people who could have done as good a job as he did.  But history has him as the individual who brought about Microsoft and the phenomenal advantages that it has afforded the world.  Like dozens of ants all randomly trundling about, if one of them happens upon the food it drags it to the nest.   All were capable of such an act but one of them did it.  I suspect Bill Gates would agree with me that he was just a well functioning human in a particular circumstance.  The reason I suspect he would agree is because of his incredible philanthropic activities.  He is acutely aware of how circumstances have a lot to do with people's experience of life.  He seems to value the quality of life quite highly and he acts to use his advantage for the benefit of others.
Back in the late 1970's Bill Gates could see how the information technology revolution was about to happen.  In a way it was obvious but for most mortals trapped in their repression-like suits of armour it is unsafe to dare to see the obvious.  It reminds me of "The Emperor's New Clothes" by Hans Christian Andersen.  People can see that the emperor is naked but they think no one else can so they dare not stand out from the crowd, just in case.  But Bill Gates went for it like the innocent child.  He had the conviction of his belief and worked with it.  If I recall correctly he even foresaw spam before email was invented.  He saw the age of micro payments before ecommerce happened.  When you can see what is happening clearly you can see over a horizon that others can't.  He has had some quite neat ideas and I believe he's doing it again.
Creative Capitalism is a term that will become commonplace.  Probably coined by Bill Gates but attributed to him anyway, creative capitalism is the idea that capitalism can work for the poorest people in the world by concentrating on combining the needs of the poor with the needs of the markets.  He made a speech at the World Economic Forum in January 2008 in Davos outlining the ideas behind creative capitalism.  It is definately worth watching and you can see it here: Bill Gates Davos 2008 speech.  For the full transcript and access to the video of the speech you can check out the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Newsroom.
In short he is saying that we need to reorganise things so that doing the right thing becomes economically advantageous.  He is profoundly right.
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