Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bill Gates's Charitable Vistas

A critique by by economist Robert Barro on the role Bill Gates's philanthropic activities have had on the world, verses his activities as the founder of Microsoft.

While I think Barro is a little harsh here, he makes an interesting point that creating a product that increases productivity is far more beneficial to the world that simply giving away millions (billions?) to charitable causes. The argument goes that creating such a product (Windows), increases the ability for people to generate their own economic value. It is hard to argue with this point and in general terms, I would agree with it.

Of course, Gates isn’t just throwing around money and the focus of his foundation is (in part) funding research for cures that may not be economically attractive to some pharmaceutical companies (building software can be profitable, finding a drug that only poor people really need is not).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why Africa needs a Marshall plan

An excellent opinion from Glenn Hubbard and William Duggan of Columbia Business School. As I start my new gig with the global BD team, this sort of thing very much inspires my thinking. Is there a role for big business in helping the development of small business and of economic activity in general in poorer parts of the world?

I'm not talking about charity or "CSR" here, I mean opportunities that hold economic upside for all involved; opportunities that make strong business sense for all participants. / Home UK / UK - Why Africa needs a Marshall plan