Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bill Gates says helping the world's poor is a good investment

Read about his efforts directed at poverty and polio here at the Wall Street Journal, and here at the Seattle Times. Short blurb here with Daily Show clip.


  1. It was interesting in the clip when John Stewart spoke about the "three drops" being a direct action, rather than education and poverty, which are more "complex". I guess he was referring to the corruption and overhead, that we discussed yesterday in class, as one of the main reasons that throwing money at foreign aid can be so frustrating and ineffective. That being said, the vaccination for Polio seems like a great form of aid, because the ability to administer it directly. And like Bill said, when you have good health, the environment, jobs, and stability become more favorable.

    - Jonathon Rienerth

  2. Slightly off point, but on topic - at times one can find Bill Gates hate (maybe just envy) lurking in our culture. I wouldn't dismiss him out of spite, however. One might not care or like what he has to say, but if lucky enough to come across an article that he has written for a newspaper or blog, one should read it. He is arguably as good at writing as he is operating systems.


  3. Gates is basically saying, "We need to support those countries who need it to promote stability for the world as a whole."
    Could it be possible for very well functioning countries to balance out the dysfunctional countries with respect to the stability of the global economy?

  4. Many of the articles reporting on Gates' fight against polio referenced the eradication of smallpox in 1977, which led me to examine the parallels (if any) between the two diseases.
    For example, the subcontinent of India, Afghanistan, and Nigeria were all last to exterminate smallpox, or in the case of polio, are the last places where the disease remains an endemic. I suspect problems of ease of transportation, political instability, and resistance to modern medicine due to religious beliefs to be some of the many problems that continue to plague these regions.
    These findings led me to another question...What did the World Health Organization do right in 1977?? Some information about the WHO published by the University of Toronto helped to shed some light on the situation: http://choo.fis.utoronto.ca/fis/courses/lis2102/ko.who.case.html
    The article sites technological advances in vaccines and their administration, as well as WHO workers "bending the rules" at times as major factors that led to the eradication of the disease. For example, traditional steps in health care hierarchy were bypassed in Bangladesh when WHO workers stepped in to help with the vaccination program. My guess is that this helped to deter much of the corruption that prevents aid dollars from getting to the people that need them most.
    One interesting consequence of global smallpox eradication was an increased investment in aid related research after 1977. Thinking on a microeconomic level, we know that a population's perception of future trends can affect the outcome today. Or in other words, the population saw the global fight against smallpox drawing to a close in the near future and thus, invested more capital today.
    This being said, I think the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation needs to spend more time focusing on the strides that have been made against the disease and how close we are to eradicating polio globally in order to increase the amount of capital investment today.