From poverty to prosperity: A conversation with Bill Gates
AEI’s Philanthropic Freedom Project

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Playlist: The Best of Bill Gates 

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Event Summary

On Thursday, March 13, AEI’s Philanthropic Freedom Project welcomed Bill Gates to AEI for a conversation with AEI President Arthur Brooks about how governments, private charity, and free enterprise can combine to fight poverty around the world.

Gates began by expanding on several of the provocative claims from the Gates Foundation’s recent annual letter. He explained the optimism behind his prediction that by 2035, almost no countries will remain officially “poor” in terms of per capita GDP. He discussed the ways in which foreign aid and private philanthropy will need to evolve as the landscape of global need continues to change, but warned that serious global health challenges persist even amidst vibrant economic growth.

Brooks and Gates discussed how philanthropy and free enterprise can form a virtuous circle: Global capitalism and the spread of markets are the ultimate solution for improving living standards around the world, but short-term aid plays a crucial role in helping societies initially escape from acute poverty.

In addition to discussing his global work, Gates described how we can increase opportunity in the US. He expressed skepticism of public policies such as agricultural subsidies and minimum wage increases that can have counterproductive consequences, but voiced support for initiatives such as expanding the earned income tax credit, taxing consumption rather than income, and implementing Common Core education standards.

His practical advice for individuals looking to make a difference? Avoid paralysis by analysis, pick a cause you care about, and get to work.

Event Description

The greatest antipoverty achievement in human history is unfolding before our eyes. The percentage of people living in extreme poverty has plummeted by 80 percent in the past four decades alone. Child mortality has fallen to record lows. Whole societies where deprivation and hopelessness seemed inevitable just a generation ago now rank among the world’s fastest-growing economies.

What brought about this remarkable transformation? How can we build on its success? AEI’s Philanthropic Freedom Project welcomes Bill Gates for an exclusive event at AEI. In conversation with AEI President Arthur Brooks, Gates will describe philanthropy’s role in reshaping the landscape of global poverty, dispel myths about development that prevent the poor from rising, and discuss his prediction that almost no countries will still be poor by 2035.

Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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