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Bill Gates Urges Young Scientists to Consider the “Needs of the Poorest”

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Bill GatesLINDAU, Germany—Microsoft founder Bill Gates thrilled a crowd of 566 young researchers from 77 countries gathered here June 26 for the opening ceremony of the 61st Meeting of Nobel Laureates, and he wasted no time in telling them what to do.

His advice was borne of his own trajectory from technologist to billionaire to philanthropist. As Microsoft became successful, Gates learned of the challenges faced by those not born in "the same wealthy country that I was," he said. And that knowledge then helped him figure out what to do with his wealth and how to give it back to people in an effective way. His focus turned to improving the health, agriculture and innovation prospects for the world’s poorest people.

"I admonish you to consider the needs of the poorest in the work that you do," he told the scientists. "The advances there will be particularly important in coming years and without your attention they will not take place." Gates made his comments following his induction into the honorary senate of the Foundation of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.

During a subsequent roundtable discussion on the topic of global health, Gates outlined more of his positions on the role of scientists in society, and how foundations like his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation can help.

"One thing that is unique about foundations is they can afford to take big risks," he said, adding that it is "incumbent upon them to do so. That is their unique property versus other institutions."

His foundation aims at backing high-risk science, as well as programs on the ground, such as an effort to make polio the second disease to be eliminated by humankind (the first being smallpox). There are now 3,000 new polio cases annually, he said, down from 300,000 in 1988. A lot of the challenge for the final 1 percent of new cases is figuring out why the vaccine fails in some children and finding ways to work with mothers in places such as northwestern Pakistan to encourage them to bring their children in to see a health care worker.

Vaccines are an effective way to target his foundation dollars, Gates said, due to their ease of delivery, in many parts of the world. Children are already making medical visits for routine inoculations, enabling health care workers to just "add another shot" at a cost of $1 if programs are cleverly conceived.

Drug development works well for addressing the major diseases of wealthy nations, Gates said, but not the urgent health needs in the developing world, Gates said. People in the developing world are at far higher risk for contracting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, as well as tropical diseases that are associated with poverty.

"The true market failure is in diseases of the poorest countries because the voice of those people in the marketplace is silent," he said. "So that is why you get [a situation where] male pattern baldness gets 10 times the research [attention] that malaria gets."

Sandra Chishimba of the Malaria Research Trust and Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute called for the education and empowerment of young people so they could "come up with their own research institutes," rather than only relying on Western countries to come to the aid of the developing world. Chisimba’s research includes finding ways to address malaria in her homeland of Zambia, where she faced her own battles with the disease.

Ada Yonath, a chemistry laureate who also participated in the roundtable, advised the crowd to focus more basic and applied research to help with the problem of antibiotic resistance, which she called "almost the most frightening and biggest problem of modern medicine."

She urged researchers to take risks and pursue their intellectual passions, even in the face of skepticism and doubt that a problem can be solved—as she did to solve the structure of ribosomes.

Yonath also encouraged scientists not to worry about whether their research immediately bore fruits to address global health. Basic research on how the immune system works, for instance, will always eventually lead scientists to a position where they can help with applied problems.

Gates agreed, saying that many of the research team his foundation funds start with scientists with expertise in say imaging or nanotechnology who had "no idea that their basic thinking could apply to global health problems."

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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  1. 1. Dolmance 8:29 pm 06/26/2011

    I don’t care how much he gives to charity. Anyone with a hundred plus billion dollars in their checking account who talks about caring for the world’s poor is being simply ridiculous.

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  2. 2. anti-up 11:56 pm 06/26/2011

    hmmmm…help the poor huh? i guess he doesn’t want the people in china, who put ipods together for 50cents a day, dying before the reach maximum out put….

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  3. 3. BareFootDude 2:39 am 06/27/2011

    Video: http://www.mediatheque.lindau-nobel.org/#/Video?id=451

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  4. 4. swissjoe 2:56 am 06/27/2011

    Yes he has money lots of it, giving away doesn’t make him unique.

    What does is his candid admission that it’s time to focus on a win win scenario for the ‘third world. I personally think his "blue hat" turn around is welcome and I hope his meme infects the wealthy.

    It shows that he has evolved as a human and the advice to the young mind is sound and very timely. If a little late coming.
    Welcome news to all positive thinkers I am sure.

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  5. 5. OBagle 3:14 am 06/27/2011

    Do you really want to help the poor, Mr. Gates? I have heard nothing about you actually getting to the root of the problem. Put your money where your mouth is:
    1. Make Windows 7 and all future versions open source. People are dying of enforced ignorance, not of resource inaccessibility.

    2. Companies like Medistem, who have been persecuted by the medical mafia and the FDA for successfully curing spinal cord injury, need more white American patients to be flown to China to help turn the tide on stem cell therapy. They pioneered the use of endometrial stem cells (from any woman donor’s uterine lining) to cure basically anything, theorizing that umbilical cord and adult mesenchymal stem cells had already been programmed to be what they are, and therefore to ask them to further transform themselves into complete neural subsystems was asking too much. Compare that to menstrual blood, which has yet to even become an umbilical cord, and thus possesses far less limitations. So, Mr. Gates, fly several hundred SCI cases to China and back and document every step – if you really are half the man that you claim to be.

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  6. 6. jtdwyer 3:46 am 06/27/2011

    Good comments!

    In actuality Bill Gates is far less a technological pioneer than a ruthlessly competitive investment banker (from a ruthless banking family).

    Now he wants to leave a legacy as a magnanimous supporter of the underprivileged rather than the privateer of the creative technological development community?

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  7. 7. roelfrenkema 7:28 am 06/27/2011

    Bill Gates should be a little more prudent. First he stole so much money from the system that we are now on the brink of collapse, and now he is trying to convince us he’s a nice guy.

    These ‘poor’ he is talking about wouldn’t exist if he hadn’t been potting up all that wealth in the first place but had redistributed it as a economy requests.

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  8. 8. JJJ1969 8:37 am 06/27/2011

    Love the picture! "Saint Bill" screwed small companies using legions of lawyers when M$ bought them out, and worked his employees to death to write code, taking time when THEIR children were growing up!

    Now, he realizes that there is a world outside Redmond, WA? Oh, that’s rich! Young scientists can’t afford $147.5M mansions on Lake Washingon, either. To Hell with the Third World, Bill. There are homeless in Redmond and Seattle and L.A. and N.Y. and Houston and Plattsburgh and Flint and Scranton. They are much closer, but I guess don’t make as big a photo op?

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  9. 9. theunseen 10:22 am 06/27/2011

    So much cynicism…

    I don’t care if the guy is giving away billions of dollars because he wants to be remembered as some great philanthropist. Either way, the end result is we have the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the consequences of that are real. The fact that we are CRITICIZING his "motives" (which we are only GUESSING at to begin with) is pretty hypocritical. When was the last time you donated to charity or went to a third-world country to help people? How do I know you weren’t just doing it to feel good about yourself? So you could claim to be a charitable person to others? Sure, even if he donates 99% of his wealth to charity it won’t really affect his lifestyle so one could argue he’s really not giving up anything, but at the end of the day he was not bound to do anything in the first place and yet here we are criticizing him for picking the more philanthropic option. It’s as if humans as a species are never satisfied. You’d bitch if he did nothing and you’d bitch if he tries to help out.

    In regards to individual points:

    Dolmance: Yes, believe it or not, rich people can care as well. More below about separation of business and personal life.

    Anti-up: I don’t even know to to reply to your ludicrous post.

    OBagle: I don’t think you understand the difference in living conditions between the "poor" of first-world countries and the "poor" of third-world countries. I’m fairly certain having "free Windows" or cutting-edge stem-cell treatment aren’t their most pressing concern. By the way, one study does validate a treatment; however, assuming that it works like the miracle you claim it to be, do you REALLY think that people who live in developing countries could afford it anyway? From a private, for-profit corporation? Really? I’m sorry, but to put it bluntly, this post was pure ignorance.

    jtdwyer: Yes, he was probably "ruthless" in his business practices, but that’s business. Believe it or not, that’s how business works. Get used to it. That does not preclude him from doing charitable work outside of business.

    roelfrenkema: Pretty sure you don’t know what you’re talking about. How did he "steal" money from the system? I think you’re thinking of banks like Goldman. Really? Third-world countries wouldall be developed if Bill Gates hadn’t charged money for software? OK…

    JJJ1969: Again, there is a HUGE GULF between the living conditions of those "homeless in Redmond and Seattle" and the poor of Third World countries. It’s like saying someone who makes 6 digits annually is "poor" because he doesn’t make 8 digits.

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  10. 10. theunseen 10:23 am 06/27/2011

    *does not validate a treatment

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  11. 11. Anticynic 10:40 am 06/27/2011

    Thanks for taking the time to write this and respond to each of the cynical idiots in this article. I think it succinctly and perfectly articulates any positive and right thinking person’s opinions regarding this article. If only there were more people like yourself responding instead of the former which the online world has no shortage of.

    Hardly surprising considering it can be refuge to people who find life in the real world too tough or just plainly fail at it and thus you end up with this warped sense of self righteous logic.

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  12. 12. Anticynic 10:41 am 06/27/2011

    *above was in reference to "theunseens" response.

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  13. 13. drafter 11:18 am 06/27/2011

    Thanks "theunseen" I’m a mac user and don’t really care about Bill Gates but these comments seem baseless or jealous.

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  14. 14. Renzo 12:26 pm 06/27/2011

    *theunseen – totally smashed it. I now need to write very little as you’ve said exactly what I was thinking.

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  15. 15. ironjustice 12:49 pm 06/27/2011

    Quote: "Vaccines are an effective way to target his foundation dollars, Gates said,"

    Answer: "People who get vaccinated with the herpes zoster vaccine Zostavax to prevent shingles can shed the
    virus in their saliva for weeks afterward, according to research presented here at the 69th annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology."

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  16. 16. HowardB 12:50 pm 06/27/2011

    A bit too much Gates-hating nonsense for my liking.

    I commend Gates for what he decided to do with his money. He is doing a great thing and encouraging other billionaires to do the same. Good on him.

    My only problem with this speech of his is that he built his fortune on opportunism, not the needs of the poor. He should be saving his breath for millionaires and billionaires and not expecting young scientists, who have a living to make and a future to build, to sacrifice that to the poor in a way that he never did.

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  17. 17. jtdwyer 1:40 pm 06/27/2011

    Sorry to expose any "positive and right thinking persons" to some cold, harsh reality. Frankly, I was a little surprised that there was so much vehement Gates hating expressed here, but you should ask yourself: why would one person draw so much ire?

    As for theunseen’s remark concerning my comment, Gates’ company did not behave like any prudent business in his anticompetitive bashing of the computer and software industries over a period of more than 25 years.

    As an employee of one of the world’s most admired, fastest growing and successful companies during that same period I can tell you that the predatory types of business practices employed by Gates’ company are neither necessary nor usually condoned by antitrust enforcement agencies.

    Microsoft’s success was not won on the basis of superior product and service qualities but through competitive manipulation of the marketplace.

    Yes, Gates seems to be attempting to purchase his desired philanthropic legacy, to replace his most deserved and appropriate reputation as the monopolistic baron of the computer age, just as the monopolistic barons of the industrial age have done: see the weapons manufacturer Nobel, Carnegie – the steel magnate, Rockefeller – oil, et al. They were all swell guys in the end…

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  18. 18. timbo555 2:02 pm 06/27/2011

    JDweyer! Comrade! what fine Marxist profile you have! Although, I would have preferred "Bloated lackey of the Corrupt Capitalist warmongers!"

    Still, it’s nice of you to reveal yourself finally as a member in good standing of the looney left. I’d suspected as much for months….

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  19. 19. theunseen 2:38 pm 06/27/2011

    I don’t know the details of what business practices Microsoft engaged in; I will admit that. But in a society where the sole responsibility of a corporation is to maximize profits (I believe all this "corporate responsibility" stuff is just to put on a pretty face, so to speak), this is the kind of behaviour I expect. This is not to say I personally approve of a profit-at-all-costs model; in fact, I think it leads to society focusing too much on short-term gain while ignoring or marginalizing the long-term detrimental effects of our decisions. Long story short, the game incentivizes behaviour of this kind so if you want to change that, you’re looking at some pretty fundamental societal changes, not just a a change in Bill Gates or any given executives/corporations.

    That being said, this article isn’t discussing his business practices, it is discussing his philanthropy; something that, as I mentioned before, is to be commended.

    jtdwyer: More specifically, what do you mean by the practices weren’t necessary? That statement seems overly generalized. Nothing is necessary. It can be necessary for something, but you can’t really classify it as necessary or unnecessary in such general terms. For example, the practices were obviously necessary for Microsoft’s dominance of the market and earning huge profits but they were probably unnecessary if all Microsoft wanted was to exist. If you think of it in that light, and then think back to profit-maximization, you can probably see why such behaviour is incentivized. As for what is codoned by antitrust regulators, it seems far too subjective to use as a measure of how badly Microsoft did or did not behave. (Some would say wireless and oil breach antitrust regulations.) Main point though is incentives drive people and the rest is game theory.

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  20. 20. jtdwyer 3:09 pm 06/27/2011

    Based on my 25+ years employment experience with one of the most respected corporations in America, which has defined and dominated its market, the anticompetitive business practices employed by Gates’ company were not necessary to dominate the PC system software market.

    Microsoft gained market dominance when IBM selected their yet-to-be-written DOS operating system (culled from existing operating systems) for their PC hardware platform, which defined and dominated the standard PC
    hardware/software market.

    Specifically, for example, over many years Microsoft repeatedly incorporated discrete software function developed by start-up independent software companies into its operating systems. Since the start-ups’ software products did not compete with Microsoft products, the incorporation of ‘free’ function imbedded within the OS was simply a preemptive strike against an upstart potentially competitive software company. This could be construed as a means of improving product quality for its customers, but it can be argued that most of the product enhancements offered by Microsoft over the years originated as individual products from independent software companies.

    In fact, initially, the consensus of software developers was to offer their products as ‘freeware’, similar to the way that web content is offered freely. It was Bill Gates that stood alone to vehemently demand that software be sold at a price in order to establish market value. He then proceeded to absorb or crush his potential competitors.

    I admit I’m just working from memory here in response to you question, but I believe this is a reasonably accurate assessment from the perspective of an individual software customer.

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  21. 21. theunseen 3:14 pm 06/27/2011

    So you just illustrated that a company wanted to make a lot of money…

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  22. 22. jtdwyer 3:47 pm 06/27/2011

    I can now award you an honorary MBA degree – certificate pending…

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  23. 23. theunseen 4:51 pm 06/27/2011

    The point was how is this unexpected? And how is this relevant to his philanthropy?

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  24. 24. anumakonda.jagadeesh 6:44 pm 06/27/2011

    Excellent advice to young Scientists to serve the needs of the poorest Mr.Bill Gates.

    Youth is a dynamo and one should find out what to drive with this energy. If the student force is galvanised and directed to face the challenges of our time, namely, to provide people with basic minimum needs of consumption like food,clothing,shelter,drinking water and health, if the method of education is so modified as to enable the students to realise their responsibilities to the society, and if this student force is directed towards taking relevant technologies to the doorsteps of our rural people then the pace of our growth, our economic and social development would be much faster.

    It should be recognised while invention is a discovery, innovation is an act of introducing something novel or new. Innovation means a change – a novelty added or substituted. Change is also associated with risk and change is usually resisted, though the only constant thing in life is change. Life tends to look for stability, safety, security be it nature, or in industry, bank or government. Change and risk respond only to competition, crisis or an urgent need. Unless there is dissatisfaction with the existing state of affairs, unless there are strong incentives, support and back up systems; unless there is a firm conviction that there is always a way to better the best performance, innovation would not thrive.

    Technological innovation is an important means of growth and change. The process of technological innovation involves the creation, design, production,first use and diffusion of a new product, process or system. The changes that occur may be only incremental or major with a large impact on employment, wages and skills of labour. In general, technology change relates to increase in wages, incomes, leisure,the character and the working environment at the level of the firm, industrial sector or specific labour market.

    The major micro-factors that influence innovations and productivity are a wide range of social, economic, technical, infrastructural, institutional and administrative support and various government economic policy measures and incentives. The micro-factors that stimulate innovations are the social responsibilities of the public and private enterprises; the quality commitment and motivation of leadership and functional managers – looking out for change with an open mind, workers attitude and involvement, industry-labour relevant R & D and training programmes.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP), India
    E-mail: anumakonda.jagadeesh@gmail.com

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  25. 25. jtdwyer 7:31 pm 06/27/2011

    Did you not read my reference to robber barons’ purchases of their public legacy? I will not join in praising Bill Gates for his seemingly most generous use of his ill-gotten gains nor express regard for his seemingly magnanimous advice to scientists.

    This is not the Bill Gates that obtained his fortune at the expense of individual consumers – this is a public relations campaign. That’s my point and I’m sticking to it!

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  26. 26. jtdwyer 7:44 pm 06/27/2011

    Since this site apparently has no policies prohibiting personal remarks I’ll tell you directly that you are out of bounds and have no basis for your ignorant personal remarks. For your information I enlisted in the Army and served in Viet Nam, solo driving fuel tanker trucks on the open road and refueling helicopters.

    Frankly, I’m apolitical and would not vote for anyone who would run for public office – although that’s none of your damned business, and I’ll fight for my right form my own independent opinions without being misrepresented or falsely characterized by any politically biased idiots.

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  27. 27. Dr. Strangelove 10:51 pm 06/27/2011

    Mr. Gates,

    The needs of the poorest are money to buy food, healthcare, education and eventually find employment or livelihood. They need money to get out of poverty and to begin helping themselves. I think poverty is more a political problem than economic. There is more than enough wealth in the world to end global poverty. The casino industry earns $380 billion every year. If gamblers give to charity instead of spending it in casinos, that will take 1 billion poor people out of poverty.

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  28. 28. theunseen 1:59 am 06/28/2011

    I really don’t understand your obsession with what he did while running a business. For the third time, this article is about his philanthropy. In short form so you don’t miss the point this time around:

    1) He did NOT have to even donate anything, but he CHOSE to donate a significant portion of his TIME and MONEY. Would it appease you if he also donated an arm and a leg, literally?

    2) People act for various reasons. MAYBE he really just wants to leave behind a good name or MAYBE he actually cares. Your argument seems to be "he wants to leave behind a good name because of all of the bad stuff he did in business". Seems to me a bit circular to assume his motives are selfish and then to say his actions had selfish motives. And even if that was his motive, what is the problem? Do you go out of your way and do things that benefit others to the detriment of yourself (and I mean this not only in the financial sense, but also in the psychological, feel-good-about-yourself sense)? Yeah, didn’t think so, because those kind of people are very rare.
    Note: Yes, I read your reference to robber barons’ purchase of public legacy, but if you stop to think about it for even one second I’m hoping you will see how obviously flawed your logic is. Your argument starts with a blatantly negatively biased tone, comparing him to a robber baron despite not having provided any evidence for said claim. You then weave in your assumption that he is doing this to buy a public legacy, which, as has been mentioned twice now, is an assumption you are making. So good job? You can make assumptions and then argue them as if they were facts?

    3) Let’s ASSUME he did terrible things while he was still in business (and let’s face it, whatever he did wasn’t terrible to the point of murdering anyone or oppressing people’s freedoms or such; we’re talking about at MOST some anti-trust issues, which one could argue occurs in many markets as a consequence of how the market works). However, even in your nostalgic post about the 90s or whatever, you never really illustrated anything major. Oh no, he took other features and incorporated them into his software. Sounds familiar, as if it was commonplace in the high-tech industry. But there’s more you say? He wanted to charge money for a product?! INCONCEIVABLE!

    For someone who tries to make sarcastic posts about awarding MBAs, it certainly is difficult for you to grasp that when there are shareholders and profit is all anyone cares about, businesses do whatever it takes (within certain limits) to maximize it.

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  29. 29. theunseen 2:16 am 06/28/2011

    Furthermore, it seems difficult to grasp that there is a difference between the First World and the Third World. No matter how badly he "screwed" the customers in the First World (which is also an unbacked claim you made), they could obviously AFFORD to be screwed. Third World countries don’t have the luxury of worrying about all this "Bill Gates did this and that" BS because they’re dying, which seems a little more serious than "Oh man, I had to pay for software". So to compare his "ill-gotten" gains (again, a completely unbacked claim) to the benefits that accompany his philanthropy… they’re just not in the same league even.

    So in closing, yes, you’re entitled your opinion, as are we all. Personally I’d had hoped I could sway you with my arguments, but for some reason you seem caught up on whatever business practices he participated in that you don’t even consider how much good the philanthropy will do. At least he is using his gains, whether they be "ill-gotten" or just the spoils of business, to try to solve some problems in the world.

    P.S.: Why do you keep listing your qualification as someone who has worked in the industry for over 25 years when addressing me? It seems like another irrelevant point since a) I can’t verify it (I could claim I’m a quantum physicist, for example) and b) it doesn’t strengthen any of your points by providing relevant, factual backing.

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  30. 30. jgrosay 5:51 am 06/28/2011

    The Christian definition of poor is "The one who lives on the revenues of his/her work", as in contrast to the "Rich", that were just the landowners. Workers do have to dedicate an important part of available resources to survival, and even when the standards of living in many places are very low, the image of people starting to mate at around 17, and having many children is someway shocking to developed nations guys, as in developed countries people are forced to delay the marriage age, and use some kind of family planning not to be ruined by unaffordable needs. There is the technology and the money to keep everybody alive and somehow well, but systems of sharing from a powerful state, such as the one Saddam Hussein implemented, where people were given coupons for food and other goods coming from the oil sales, finally proved to be unsustainable. Shaping and structuring a society, a basic requirement for any kind of poverty relievement, can’t be done in a few decades.Primitive groups do have all of its members engaged in basic activities such as hunting and farming, but a modern society cannot work without some kind of sofistication and development of economical sectors such as industry and services; this requires a level of education, and education always represents ideological choices that should not be imposed, just the ethnic persons involved must choose how and when. It’s impossible going from a stone age group to the kind of complex society that is required for full employment in just a few decades. Lula in Brazil did this very well, but Brazil never was a stone age place. Who the cap fits, let them wear it. (Bob Marley)

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  31. 31. jgrosay 6:10 am 06/28/2011

    For an economical unit to work, you need al least 40 million inhabitants, otherwise it will stuck. This is the reason why the communist Ceaucescu banned abortion in Romania

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  32. 32. Frank33 8:09 am 06/28/2011

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a criminal organization to impose neo-conservatism and disaster capitalism, especially to the world’s poorest people. Gates also is trying to destroy public education which will certainly help poor people. Gates wants to replace not-for-profit education with the neo-con privatized bizarro world version of education. Gates and the Washington Post are subsidized through Kaplan. Millions of dollars of government student loans pay for these failed "colleges".

    Gates’ "Foundation" is taxpayer subsidized but it is totally political. Taxpayers help pay for Gates’ conspiracy with Monsanto to poison us with "Franken Foods". The polio campaign is a joke. Almost five million children die every year in Africa. The poorest children in Africa do not need polio vaccines, especially Gates’ defective vaccine. They need fresh water and decent nutrition.
    http://www.aed.org/Publications/upload/Taking_Stock.pdf

    Gates is a greedy predator who puts "backdoors" on his inferior computer software, . And Gates has never helped anyone unless it helps the corporate overlords.
    http://my.firedoglake.com/frank33/2009/10/18/bill-gates-and-the-world-banks-plan-to-eradicate-polio-in-nigeria-is-an-epic-fraud/

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  33. 33. electric38 5:13 pm 06/29/2011

    Worldwide cell (microwave) towers, inexpensive computer tablets (which would include internet access to all digitized publications), inexpensive educational programs sent in a multimedia (multilingual if possible) form will enhance the education of the poorest.
    The old adage of teaching a man to fish (via online education) will help him more than giving him a fish.

    Bill would do better using his time allowing teachers (the best and most productive from all levels) around the world to develop teaching programs that make it fun and interesting to learn. These programs would be free to all.

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  34. 34. mnunziante 6:56 pm 06/29/2011

    Thank you for your responses.

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  35. 35. Quinn the Eskimo 10:31 pm 06/29/2011

    There was *no* Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation until *after* his conviction (and wonderful video tapes) for Monopoly Abuses.

    Wikipedia has been edited to show a lie. They’re including the start date of his FATHER’s foundation.

    BG’s generosity is a product of Microsoft PR.

    Nothing more. Nothing less. Hypocrisy.

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  36. 36. lamorpa 4:47 pm 06/30/2011

    @ Dolmance "I don’t care how much he gives to charity. Anyone with a hundred plus billion dollars in their checking account who talks about caring for the world’s poor is being simply ridiculous."

    And? Do you have any basis for this absurd conclusion? Any?

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  37. 37. jtdwyer 12:47 am 07/1/2011

    In an attempt to respond to each of your assertions, I will summarily repeat them.

    “I really don’t understand your obsession with what he did while running a business. For the third time, this article is about his philanthropy. In short form so you don’t miss the point this time around:”

    It goes without saying that you don’t understand my concern with Gates’ business practices, but you might understand that there is a connection between his anticompetitive practices and the financial wealth he accrued which he now applies to repair his business reputation through humanistic endeavors.

    This article is about Gates; moralistic advice to scientists – encouraging them to magnanimously focus their professional efforts to help the poor of the world rather than professional or financial gain. For those of us who have been familiar with Bill Gates actions for decades, this is the epitome of disingenuous hypocrisy! For those who are Microsoft stockholders or employees or young and naïve perhaps this seems to be genuine concern for humanity…

    If this is the “short form” I’d hate to see the long form!

    “1) He did NOT have to even donate anything, but he CHOSE to donate a significant portion of his TIME and MONEY. Would it appease you if he also donated an arm and a leg, literally?”

    Are you familiar with the income tax regulations of the IRS? If you had Bill Gates’ income you would certainly be advised to the benefits of charitable donations.

    “2) People act for various reasons. MAYBE…

    You seem to be completely unaware of the implications to the customers of personal computer equipment as a result of Gates’ elimination of so many alternative products in the marketplace.

    “3) Let’s ASSUME he did terrible things while he was still in business…"

    It has been argued in court much better than I can that Microsoft oppressed many citizens’ right to pursue gainful employment. See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_antitrust

    In closing, I don’t really have the energy or interest to pointlessly debate Bill Gates with you and will not respond any further. I hope I’ve adequately expressed my outrage with such a disingenuous public relations campaign. I’ll concede the Bill Gates debate to anyone still interested.

    Link to this
  38. 38. citizensnipz 5:21 pm 07/6/2011

    Bill Gates doesn’t have "a hundred billion dollars in his checking account". Last I checked, his NET WORTH, was around $70 billion, and has planned to give most of that away. He is at the forefront of the humanitarian revolution. Who else is donating this kind of cash OUT OF HIS POCKET?!?! How could you even begin to rip on him. Steve Jobs is comparably wealthy to Gates, yet he only donates in small amounts and to collect on the tax write-off.

    Link to this
  39. 39. citizensnipz 5:37 pm 07/6/2011

    Bill Gates doesn’t have "a hundred billion dollars in his checking account". Last I checked, his NET WORTH, was around $70 billion, and has planned to give most of that away. He is at the forefront of the humanitarian revolution. Who else is donating this kind of cash OUT OF HIS POCKET?!?! How could you even begin to rip on him. Steve Jobs is comparably wealthy to Gates, yet he only donates in small amounts and to collect on the tax write-off.

    Link to this
  40. 40. drewverlee 2:34 am 07/23/2011

    I will use tiny words so it will be obvious to you:

    1.currency (money) is used as a medium of transaction and by itself is useless. (Confused? try eating your money tomorrow and see if your body agree’s)

    2. Currency then should reflect value.

    3. Value cannot be "distributed" by giving away the currency.

    EXAMPLE: Your on a island with 3 others. One man will call him Mr.Gates (so you get the point) owns a pear tree and only he understands how to make it produce pears.

    You and the other guy are pretty useless at doing anything.

    Now imagine you introduce a currency will call it Island dollars! Imagine you have 1,000,000 island dollars! how many island dollars do you think you would pay for 1… just 1 pear? why all of them! but wait… mr.gates isn’t going to take your island dollars (sad face) why? because your island dollars are useless. The repersent nothing and for them you get nothing.

    Ironically what caused our recent economic trouble, investment systems that were essential doing what your asking mr.gates to do… distribute wealth without regard to value.

    Junk bonds given triple AAA ratings. People with no credit …given lots of it.

    Jesus why i’m i wasting my brain power on this…

    Link to this
  41. 41. fastboxster 8:39 pm 07/24/2011

    While among the most financially influential people in the world, his billions are mostly but pieces of paper traded on Wall Street. I feel pretty confident he is contributing as fast as possible to his causes while still maintaining sustainability for his portfolio (which if he cashed them out, those companies would collapse). His influence is only powerful if his "empire" stays afloat. I admire Gates for recognizing his influence while still able to use it to better the world. A lot of people in his position would have not been able to walk away from a successful company to better the world.

    I will never understand the naysayers in the world. No offense intended, but I recommend that you get your own billions if you want to influence the world your way.

    Link to this
  42. 42. yp_joshi 12:43 am 07/27/2011

    Some people have the habit of finding fault with others. They should better set an example of their own philanthropic activity before criticizing others’ actions. Bill gates is doing something – at least something, however ‘insignificant’ that be – and that he is doing with his own earnings.

    Link to this

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