Dec 2, 2013

We can´t always rely on Bill


In this on-going philanthropic stage in his life, Bill Gates’ endeavor (along his beloved wife, Melinda) seeks to claim victory in the most difficult fights against the enemies of humanity.

Think what you like about economic theory and defend whichever standpoint you’ve chosen to defend but, regardless of left or right, libertarian or statist, the world cannot afford to build the sustainability o its economic systems and economic development based on the altruism and donations of the likes of Bill Gates.  In the essay titled:  “Here’s my plan to change the world”, Bill addresses some of the aching problems of our world that are killing millions of human lives and hopes… and the way he plans to solve them, something that only a person in his position can devote time to plan realistically with a shot to success. But, he also makes a case for philanthropy and tries to teach the whole world a lesson:
I have been sharing my idea of catalytic philanthropy for a while now. It works a lot like the private markets: You invest for big returns. But there’s a big difference. In philanthropy, the investor doesn’t need to get any of the benefit. We take a double-pronged approach: (1) Narrow the gap so that advances for the rich world reach the poor world faster, and (2) turn more of the world’s IQ toward devising solutions to problems that only people in the poor world face. Of course, this comes with its own challenges. You’re working in a global economy worth tens of trillions of dollars, so any philanthropic effort is relatively small. If you want to have a big impact, you need a leverage point—a way to put in a dollar of funding or an hour of effort and benefit society by a hundred or a thousand times as much.
We have to think beyond the immortal paradigm of economic inequality deriving from the idea of causality of the “immoral wealth of the rich” being accumulated at the expense of the "impoverish of the poor". Surely, not all (not even “most”, maybe just a “handful”) of the wealthiest people in the world are as committed as Bill in changing the world and helping the ones who suffer most, but let’s say we made the rich pay more and more taxes, diminishing their capital to amounts which become unattractive to engage in charity, who or what is going to fill up that void? Which government, institution or company is willing to do what the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation” is doing? If by any chance willing, which of them are capable of doing it? Ethically, power requires accountability and responsibility, which is not in any way synonym of “taxability” and definitively is no warranty for investment in charity. The other path is to enforce transparency and pressure our governments to be more efficient in their spending and commit to invest in their people, why not delegating such tasks to private institutions with public accountability.

We love you, Bill and Melinda Gates. The whole world is grateful for having you, the many lives you’ve saved and enhanced, the abundant knowledge you have shared and divulged; each and every one of the people that have strived and triumphed thanks to your charity and are now active in changing the world for the better. But even your philanthropy has a cost and that just might be people, companies and governments bailing out of charity and investment in education and social responsibility because that is “for the rich to give back to the communities of the world” and “Bill is already on his way”. 

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