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Bill Gates on the Future of Poverty

Yesterday at AEI, Bill Gates sat down with Arthur Brooks to discuss practical ways to move the globe from poverty to prosperity. In the their Foundation’s 2014 annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates optimistically suggest that, by 2035, poverty in all but 10 countries or so will be eliminated.

You can watch AEI’s video-transcript to see Gates speak candidly about the power of markets to help the needy, as well as creative ways for innovative public/private partnerships to help poor countries experience the blessings of both justice and charity:

Instead of pitting “bad government” against “good philanthropy,” Gates discussed the responsibility each one of us has to roll up our sleeves and to learn from direct involvement with local organizations, such as entrepreneurial charter schools, fledgling hospitals, and small businesses. People helping people is a team sport.

“When it costs only $2,000 to keep someone alive in one of the world’s poorest countries,” Gates said, “we have to think long and hard about spending those resources on other priorities—particularly when they’re consumption-oriented priorities.” He went on to discuss education reform, agriculture subsidies and the value that comes from ruthlessly measuring results. Gates also noted that healthy competition is essential to create an environment in which good ideas are nurtured and rewarded. We need an educated middle class where a majority of people “truly know their work matters,” he said.

Bill Gates is putting his money where his mouth is, as he and his colleagues are fighting to undermine diseases and eradicate the worst forms of global poverty. Those of us who have tasted the gift of redemption in Christ are also wise to make the most of the technological gift of Microsoft software, even now, right at our fingertips. We are invited to support the exciting development work of economic growth, wise policymaking and results-based philanthropic enterprise—and to help give our brothers and sisters in developing countries a fighting chance.