Closing The Gates On Poverty

Bill Gates is widely known as the richest man in the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he started aims to end global poverty. Every year, Bill and his wife Melinda send out a letter detailing how the Foundation failed or succeeded in its annual goals and what the organization should focus on in the coming year.

For 2014, Bill Gates decided his letter would focus not on the successes of his foundation but on disproving misconceptions about the issue of poverty as a whole. Taking an in-depth look into false reasons why global poverty is not yet solved proves to be an interesting read in this year’s Gates letter.

Poor people are destined to remain poor. False. With increased incomes and innovative social business models, those struggling with poverty can increase their incomes and sustain future generations. Using business helps to educate communities on how to successfully generate revenue through mutually beneficial exchanges of services.

Increasing income leads to better quality of life and ability to reinvest money back into the economy, which is good for everyone. This example also serves as evidence towards a second falsehood about global poverty; that foreign aid is a waste of money.

Foreign aid gives refugees of natural disaster the necessary means of food, shelter, and medical care. Economies spiraling into debt and devastation are rejuvenated by foreign aid and essentially given a second chance to provide jobs and continue positive production in society. Bill and Melinda gates have been known to double the amount of aid given by the United States government to poor peoples of the world.

Over their collective time together to date, the Gates have given nearly $30 billion to charity and underdeveloped countries. Bill has forecasted the absence of poor countries by the year 2035. He writes in his letter that it is shocking to him how many people think the world is getting worse instead of better when compared to 20 years ago, almost everyone living in Mexico City is now middle class.

This is a huge change from the 1980’s, when Bill visited and watched people walking miles and miles just to retrieve water since their homes had none. The eradication of poverty all over the world should be a priority in every country, and people need to remember that billions of dollars or $1 can make a huge difference in this battle.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: Forbes, Gates Foundation, Gates Foundation
Photo: Barton Adkins