Memo to Gates: The Cause of Third-World Poverty Is Not Capitalism, But a Lack of Capitalism

Ayn Rand Center's picture
Submitted by Ayn Rand Center on Tue, 2008-01-29 20:57

Ayn Rand Institute Press Release
Memo to Gates: The Cause of Third-World Poverty Is Not Capitalism, But a Lack of Capitalism

January 28, 2008

Irvine, CA--Bill Gates made waves at the World Economic Forum by calling on Western nations to adopt a new, “creative capitalism.” He complained that under “pure capitalism . . . . the great advances in the world have often aggravated the inequities in the world. The least needy see the most improvement, and the most needy see the least . . .” Gates called for corporations and governments to devote far more time and money “doing work that eases the world's inequities.”

“Gates’s entire speech essentially blames Western capitalism for the Third World’s poverty,” said Alex Epstein, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute, “and offers a slightly more sophisticated form of foreign welfare handouts as the antidote. But the West did not become wealthy at the Third World’s expense--we did not seize computers, houses, pharmaceuticals, and railroads from the Sahara. We created our wealth under capitalism, the system that liberates individuals to produce and trade without interference. And Third World countries could do the same if they adopted that system.

“The last 200 years have shown that wherever capitalism is adopted--from Singapore to the United States to Hong Kong to Australia--it enables its citizens to create wealth and prosper. Yet not one word of Gates’s speech calls for poor countries to change their anti-capitalist governments.

“No matter how many billions Bill Gates gives to poor nations, until he starts advocating universal capitalism instead of attacking it, he is acting as an enemy of prosperity in the undeveloped world.”

###  ### ###


Copyright © 2008 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

( categories: )

A rose by any other name wouldn't smell like excrement

personallydisinterested's picture

Bill is under the misperception that the 3rd world practices capitalism. 

This is a serious misperception throughout the world in all areas.  In the United States we are about to nationalize our healthcare/insurance industry because capitalism has failed.  Calling our healthcare/insurance industry capitalism is thoroughly frustrating and the cause of our decision to nationalize.  We don't recognize that all the problems with the system started with medicare and ever increasing regulations.  So the lesson for the developed world is mixed economies fail due to socialism not capitalism.  Again, the lesson for the third world is that capitalism mixed with corruption fails due to corruption.  

capitalism + evil is not capitalism 

Spot On Callum

Sandi's picture

Ayn Rand's words......

"If concern for human poverty and suffering were one's primary motive, one would seek to discover their cause. One would not fail to ask: Why did some nations develop, while others did not? Why have some nations achieved material abundance, while others have remained stagnant in subhuman misery? History and, specifically, the unprecedented prosperity-explosion of the nineteenth century, would give an immediate answer: capitalism is the only system that enables men to produce abundance—and the key to capitalism is individual freedom."

Too simplistic

personallydisinterested's picture

I agree that capitalism is wonderful.  But it appears to have failed to Bill Gates for the simple reason that it has.  Capitalism requires three ingredients 1. Capital 2. Entrepreneurs 3. Economic security.

Capitalism hasn't worked in the third world because of a universal lack of economic security.  It doesn't matter how low your taxes are if your entrepreneurs are constantly affraid of losing their investments to corrupt government officials. 


Callum McPetrie's picture

Back in the early 20th Century, when the European powers were still in Africa, many African nations actually had good infrastructure system, such as roads, railways and ports, that could've been used to quickly and efficiently build up the economies of the African nations after colonialism ended. Unfortunately, Africa choose socialism/communism over capitalism, tribalism over political freedom, and dictatorship over civil liberties. The result is that Africa has gone backwards since the end of colonialism.

"Socialism may be dead, but its corpse is still rotting up the place." -Ayn Rand

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.