Originally Posted by boeyc15
Please read this and tell us how the money could have better spent to solve these problems.http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Pages/home.aspx
BTW have you volunteered your services to Bill etc so you can tell him how to do it better?
Originally Posted by stelligent
You have so much to learn if you believe eradicating deadly and debilitating diseases, supporting research in science, education and socioeconomics, and building schools and infrastructure in underdeveloped regions have short term benefits. Without knowing you, I'm quite certain this is the most mistaken statement of your entire life.
You both speak to the same issue, so I'll answer together. I've noticed that a lot of people who support Big Philanthropy, like they support Big Government, value the intent of the philanthropic act as much as they value the end results of that act. When I talk to people about hugely wasteful and destructive government programs (like welfare, or school bussing, etc. etc. etc.) I've heard people say "at least they're trying", as if hugely failing in the endeavor is acceptable because the government was at least "trying" to help.
And that's why I think people like you ultimately value what Bill Gates and his ilk do. Unfortunately, people don't actually bother to measure their true impact on creating a better world, because they're simply satisfied that the intent was there and that money was spent. It's like the old pagan ritual of sacrificing a lamb on the alter while asking for a good crop. You really have no idea if the crop will be good or not, but by making the sacrifice, you've done all that you can do.
Regarding Gates efforts, here's what I think on a case-by-case basis:
Ending malaria and polio seem incredibly misguided to me, and Gates' billions will go down the drain like previous billions of dollars in foreign aid spent on Africa and other third world ditches. Really, why is he investing his effort in the shit-hole third world, where even if he cured malaria and polio, we'd still have incredibly backward societies that can't take care of their people? Those societies aren't backwards because they suffer from malaria and polio, they're backwards and dysfunctional largely for cultural reasons....ie, attitudes towards human rights, towards strongmen/leaders, towards religion, towards the value of the individual and most importantly, respect for a true free market (most shithole third world countries are practitioners of command-and-control socialism). The Western world had polio and malaria and a lot of other diseases, and they solved them how? Not by one of the world's richest men giving them cures, like mana from heaven. It was the energy and industry and ingenuity of Western society that solved those problems, and was able to solve countless others that even the richest men in the world couldn't afford to solve by throwing their money around. Honestly, you solve polio and malaria in the third world, and you'll simply have more people waiting to be killed off by famine or civil war or some other tragedy. I'd be more impressed if Gates were trying to invent a time machine to reach back through time and haul the British Empire back to the present day. People in Africa were better off under the British than they have been since the British left.
Please. What is the Bill Gates Foundation going to do about the pathetic state of public education? Public education isn't working precisely because it's free for everybody, and is required to be given to everybody, whether they take it seriously or not. Can you imagine how crappy a phone, a car, a house, a TV, etc. would be if it had to be free for everyone, and where people that abused/neglected the free product they were given could always get another free replacement, no questions asked? Would any of you want a product like that? Probably not, but that's what public education has become. A free product that's designed for the lowest common denominator, and people wonder why it doesn't have good results, despite throwing more and more money at the problem. Free public education worked earlier in our society because people could remember what it was like when they didn't have access to education that directly led to them acquiring useful skills that led to economic growth, and so they valued what was suddenly given freely to them and used the opportunity wisely. It took a few generations for that "memory" to wear off, to become muted, and now, free education is taken for granted. That's why you see more and more education watered down by elective courses that don't produce economically useful learning for most kids. It's also why more and more colleges are coming up with economically useless majors like "Peace and Conflict Studies" and "African American Studies" and "Communications", but graduating fewer and fewer kids that can think critically, write/speak clearly, and that are actually prepared to start working in a job that requires real skills, and creates real economic growth.
P.S. If Gates really wanted to haul kids out of poverty through education, he would create a business of boarding schools that get kids out of their deadbeat neighborhoods and households from an early age, that teach technical subjects that have economic value in the real world (along with English and History), and that take a 10-20 % cut of all the kids' earnings for the first 20-30 years of their working lives (to repay the earlier investment made in the kids). That creates true motivation on everyone's part--the business is motivated to mint competent people that can earn good livings, and the kids are motivated to earn good livings that leave plenty of money left over for them. The kids also emerge with an appreciation of how acquiring hard-to-come-by skills really affects their lot in life, which they then pass on to their own families.
Again, Bill Gates' freebie giveaways to science research are not going to come close to having the impact on society that scientific developments by the private sector have. I look at all the science/technology in my house, at my office, and at my doctor's office, and I don't see much that came through philanthropic munificence. If there's something to be invented, it's far more likely to be invented by people pursuing good old fashion profit, and operating under the limits of a for-profit enterprise.
So that's what I think of the stuff that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are going to do with their money. In other words: waste it, for the most part. Their money will get spent. It will have short term impact that looks good in press releases, but do very very little that's lasting. If Bill and Warren and their ilk were wise (they're clearly smart, but I don't think they're wise), they would fund a ton of new for-profit businesses that, when successful, would actually increase their wealth, not water it down. But of course, increasing their wealth would not look good for the newspapers and liberal masses whining about 1-percenters.