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Gates Asserts That Philanthropy, Progress Depend On Innovation

News outlets report on comments by Bill Gates at events in Washington, D.C., this week.

The Atlantic: Bill Gates: ‘The Idea That Innovation Is Slowing Down Is … Stupid’
“Bill Gates is aware that there’s a lot of gridlock in Washington. He’s just not sure it matters all that much for innovation. … ‘[T]he way that money’s being spent has gotten more intelligent every year’ since 2000 [Gates said]. As the practice of buying friends in foreign capitals with development aid has faded with the end of the Cold War, he argued, the impact per dollar of assistance has become easier to track. And almost 40 percent of U.S. aid, he said, now goes to the most measurable categories: health and agriculture…” (Friedman, 3/12).

Fiscal Times: Gates Gives Clinton Administration a Low Grade on Foreign Aid
“Bill Gates and Bill Clinton are soul mates and fellow travelers who for years have fought for increased funding for global health, education, agriculture and anti-poverty initiatives. … In grading the federal government’s performance in providing critically needed overseas assistance during the past couple of decades, however, the Microsoft co-founder and multi-billionaire gives his friend the former president a Gentleman’s C at best…” (Pianin, 3/13).

Huffington Post: Bill Gates Isn’t Worried Because Progress ‘Doesn’t Depend On Washington’
“… The world’s richest man again, with a net worth of $76 billion (despite having given away some $28 billion so far through his Gates Foundation and other vehicles), the 58-year-old Microsoft founder claimed not to be worried about the dysfunction junction that is Washington. ‘Fortunately,’ he said, the forces of material progress, augmented by the continuing ‘miracle of software,’ do not entirely, or even mostly, depend on ‘Washington doing something different’…” (Fineman, 3/13).

VOA News: Gates: Philanthropy Depends On Innovation
“Bill Gates, one of the world’s leading inventors, businessmen and donors, said that philanthropy, like technology, depends on innovation to achieve the best possible results. Gates said in Washington Thursday that most innovation is driven by private enterprise, but that only governments can make broader social improvements…” (Hoke, 3/14).