Bill Gates Debunks 3 Myths That Block Progress for Poor

Bill Gates Debunks 3 Myths That Block Progress for Poor

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Every year Bill and Melinda Gates write an annual letter for the Gates Foundation. The recently published 2014 Gates letter is titled “Three Myths that Block Progress for the Poor.” In this letter, Gates debunks these 3 myths that are often used as reasons to not give aid to the poor.

Bill Gates Debunks Myths

Myth One – Poor Countries Are Doomed To Stay Poor – by Bill Gates

How does Bill Gates debunk this Myth:

  • Many of the countries we used to call poor now have thriving economies.
  • The percentage of very poor people has dropped by half since 1990.
  • In Africa, income has climbed by two-thirds since 1998 and 7 of the 10 fastest-growing economies of the past half-decade are in Africa.
  • Africa has also made big strides in health and education

Prediction: In 2035 there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. There will still be poor people but almost all countries will be self-sufficient.

Bill Gates Debunks Myths

A growing number of countries in Africa are building community health systems, which are extremely cost-effective (Accra, Ghana, 2013).

Myth Two – Foreign Aid Is A Big Waste – by Bill Gates

How does Bill Gates debunk this Myth:

  • People think we spend too much money on Foreign aid – The U.S. spends less than 1% of our budget or about $30 per person a year. Would you ask for your $30 back rather than help people in need?
  • Approximately a third of that 1% is spent on health: vaccines, bed nets, family planning, drugs to keep people with HIV alive, and so on. Many lives, especially those of children,are directly saved.
  • Some don’t want to give foreign aid because of episodes of corruption. Many do get caught and there have been more episodes of corruption lately in the U.S. but funding doesn’t get cut to those districts. The Internet is making it easier to hold people accountable.
  • To the argument that foreign aid keeps countries dependent, many countries that previously received aid no long need it or receive very little. Also, not all aid is to help governments. Some is sent to fund research for vaccines or seeds – “A vaccination campaign in southern Africa virtually eliminated measles as a killer of children.”

Conclusion: “I hope we can stop discussing whether aid works, and spend more time talking about how it can work better. I have believed for a long time that disparities in health are some of the worst inequities in the world—that it is unjust and unacceptable that millions of children die every year from causes that we can prevent or treat.”

Myth Three – Saving Lives Leads To Overpopulation – by Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates debunks this disgusting myth:

The fact is that a laissez-faire approach to development—letting children die now so they don’t starve later—doesn’t actually work, thank goodness. It may be counterintuitive, but the countries with the most deaths have among the fastest-growing populations in the world. This is because the women in these countries tend to have the most births, too. Scholars debate the precise reasons why, but the correlation between child death and birth rates is strong.

Gates Debunks Myths

Like millions of women in sub-Saharan Africa, Sadi didn’t know about contraceptives when she got married.

 

  • When children survive in greater numbers, parents decide to have smaller families.
  • This pattern of falling death rates followed by falling birth rates applies for the vast majority of the world.
  • “The amount of children in the world today is probably the most there will be! We are entering into the age of the Peak Child!”
  • The planet does not thrive when the sickest are allowed to die off, but rather when they are able to improve their lives.

Conclusion: Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world.

I hope that Bill and Melinda Gates have convinced you that there is every reason that we should help the poor. I’ve only shown you snippets of what they each said in their 2014 Gates Foundation letter. You can read the 3 Myths That Block Progress for the Poor letter in its entirety at the Gates Foundation organization.

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Comments

  1. Great article! I try my best to help the poor whenever I can. How great would that be if by 2035 there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. It would be wonderful to see all countries self-sufficient by then.

  2. LOVE THIS! Debunking myths is always a good thing. I especially like #2.
    Kas

  3. REALLY great post. I’m cataloging these facts for the next time this conversation comes up! I’m happy to hand over my $30. It actually seems QUITE low when you put it like that!

  4. Interesting articles, and all of their points for debunking each myth are sound. We need to help other countries until they are able to support themselves.

  5. What a great way to start thinking in a different direction. One that leads to change.

  6. Excellent post. Bill and Melinda give back so much. They are a inspiration to all billionaires to give forward. I hope they are right – that in 2035 there will be no poor countries….that would be fantastic

  7. Great article! If people don’t want to be charitable, they should be upfront and admit their lack of generosity rather than rationalize it with arguments that lack substance. I’m glad Bill and Melinda Gates don’t fall into that category.

  8. I didn’t know he did this. Thanks for sharing an interesting read.

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