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Microsoft Founder Calls for Kinder, Gentler Capitalism

January 24, 2008

Bgates_2008_2Today's Wall Street Journal is reporting that Bill Gates, one of the wealthiest individuals in the world and its most generous philanthropist, will issue a call in a speech at the World Economic Forum this afternoon for a more "creative capitalism" that harnesses market forces to do good in poor countries ("Bill Gates Issues Call for Kinder Capitalism," Robert A. Guth, 01/24/08).

According to the Journal, Gates has grown increasingly aware of capitalism's shortcomings as a result of his many trips to developing world countries and through his "voracious" reading of books "that propose new approaches to narrowing the gap between the rich and poor."

"Talk of 'moral sentiments' may seem suprising from a man whose competitive drive is so fierce that it drew legal challenges from antitrust authorities," the Journal notes.

But Mr. Gates said his thinking about capitalism has been evolving for years. He outlined part of his evolution from software titan to philanthropist in a speech last June to Harvard's graduating class, recounting how when he left Harvard in 1975 he knew little of the inequities of the world....

Gates' speech, "A New Approach to Capitalism in the 21st Century," will be Web- and podcast live on World Economic Forum Web site later today. For a complete listing of Web- and podcasts from the 2008 annual meeting, click here.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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