Gates Urges Companies to Get Creative to Improve Lives

He ruminates on how to tweak market forces to help more people
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2008 6:04 PM CDT
Gates Urges Companies to Get Creative to Improve Lives
Microsoft founder Bill Gates listen during a press conference in New York, Wednesday, July 23, 2008.    (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Bill Gates tweaks his corporate colleagues with an essay in Time urging businesses to look harder for ways to extend the benefits of capitalism to a greater portion of the global population. As a philanthropist, he says, he recognizes the need for nonprofit work, but as a businessman, he knows that only corporations have the resources to improve people’s lives on a grand scale—they just need incentives.

Sometimes an overlooked market can provide the incentive: Gates cites cell phone firms that courageously expanded into places like Kenya and have seen their profits soar, while using technology to improve the lives of millions. But government can help “creative capitalism” along, too: Gates notes a recent US law that rewards drug companies working on neglected diseases like malaria with fast-track FDA review for another, more profitable drug. (More malaria stories.)

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