Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bill Gates Criticizes Capitalism?

The Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) put out a press release today criticizing Bill Gates for statements about "creative capitalism" that he made at the World Economic Forum.

According to the ARI, Bill's speech "essentially blames Western capitalism for the Third World’s poverty". They also say that "not one word of Gates’s speech calls for poor countries to change their anti-capitalist governments" and “No matter how many billions Bill Gates gives to poor nations, until he starts advocating universal capitalism instead of attacking it, he is acting as an enemy of prosperity in the undeveloped world".

You can read the entire speech for yourself.

While the ARI may be overreacting a bit, I think their concerns about what Bill is saying are very valid. While Bill makes some interesting points, I do think his "creative capitalism" is very flawed.

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Blogger Nick Steffen said...

What does he mean by "creative capitalism?

10:43 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Its sort of complicated to define, but you can get a somewhat clear conception of the way he's using the term from few excerpts from the speech itself:

"The challenge here is to design a system where market incentives, including profits and recognition, drive those principles to do more for the poor.

I like to call this idea creative capitalism, an approach where governments, businesses, and nonprofits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world's inequities."

"Creative capitalism takes this interest in the fortunes of others and ties it to our interest in our own fortunes in ways that help advance both. This hybrid engine of self-interest and concern for others can serve a much wider circle of people than can be reached by self-interest or caring alone.".

"Another approach to creative capitalism includes a direct role for governments. Of course, governments already do a great deal to help the poor in ways that go far beyond just nurturing markets: They fund aid research, healthcare; they've done great things. But I believe the highest-leverage work that governments can do is to set policy to create market incentives for business activity that improves the lives of the poor."

11:01 PM  
Blogger Nick Steffen said...

Mark, what are the flaws you see in his approach? Is he allowing too large of a role for the government? Is he not recognizing the role played by institutions that aren't businesses? Is he just being naively optimistic? What would be your preferred approach (if I remember rightly, you have libertarian blood in ya...but how far does that flow)?

11:20 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Stayed tuned.. I'll probably sharing my specific thoughts on the topic in a post.

7:03 PM  

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