Bill Gates shares his vision for “creative capitalism” at the World Economic Forum in Davos this past week. His speech is 20 minutes long, but very worthwhile for people interested in what the leader of the world’s largest foundation is thinking.
Here are a few of his points I noted:
- Bill is an optimist … he sites examples of how overall the world is getting better including improved rights for women, doubling of life expectancy in the past century, access to medicines and more … but he is an impatient optimist as there is a lot more than can be done
- About 1 billion people live on < $1/day … most of these people don't get enough food/nutrition, clean water or have access to electricity
- Market incentives enable benefits in inverse proportion to need … that is, the most less off benefit the most and the least well off benefit the least
- He believes we need an innovation in the capitalist system … a new form of incentives for businesses to serve the 1/3 of humanity who benefits the least from capitalism
- He calls this new endeavor, creative capitalism
- Capitalism encourages self-interest … creative capitalism adds interest in caring for others … especially the poorest others
- He proposal is that companies who engage in serving the poor should be given public recognition as their reward for these investments
- He encourages companies to compete with each other to do the most good (in addition to making profits) and governments should create market incentives for this behavior
- He challenges companies to contribute their “best minds” for innovation and their core expertises and not just their cash to these efforts
If you prefer reading a summary of what he talks about, here is Wall Street Journal article.
This idea is clearly aimed at big companies and government which is fine and good. I’m going to write more about social entrepreneurs as I believe they could even have a more significant long-term impact on bringing beneficial products and services to the poorest.
Do you agree with Bill Gates? Post a comment with your response.