Growing up I always had this image of Bill Gates as some kind of dark and sinister businessman that used con-artistry and charisma to climb his way to the top and destroy the competition. This negative vision of Microsoft’s founder was at least partly built on his sometimes ruthless business tactics when acquiring new companies and making deals pass through.
Still, in the time since he left Microsoft he has really done a ton of good through the Bill Gates Foundation and you really have to admire his actions there, even if you don’t care for him personally. There has been rumors in recent times that Gates might eventually return to the helm of MS, but I really think he has seen that there are more important concerns out there, like the needs of those less fortunate.
Its funny because both MS and Gates used to be my favorite target for criticism, but these days I find myself largely saying positive things about both of them.
Recently, Gates called for a ‘digital revolution’ to alleviate world hunger at the UN rural proverty agency IFAD, in Rome. Between the use of satellites to target and monitor what fields will have the best yields and other important data, farming can really be improved. Additionally the use of genetically-engineered seed varieties are also equally important according to Gates.
While there has certainly been some controversy on both ‘land grabs’ and genetically modified organisms, Bill argues that there are some very positive reasons to defend both of these practices. As far as land grabs, he feels that if there are clear guidelines in place for land deals it creates job opportunities in these developing areas and produces food, they have more positive than negative impacts, he claims.
In regards to GMOs, he makes a pretty good point.
“You should go out and talk to people growing rice and say do they mind that it was created in a laboratory when their child has enough to eat?” he told reporters at a small media roundtable after his speech.
“The change in the way mankind lives over the last several hundred years is based on adoption of innovative practices and we simply haven’t done enough for those in the greatest need to bring these things,” he said.
I strongly agree. While GMOs might have some controversy surrounding them, it is certainly a much better option than going to bed without enough food in your belly. I think it is hard for those that aren’t in a more ‘developed’ country to really envision just how difficult live is for many folks out there across the globe.
The Gates Foundation has also launched $200 million in new grants to finance research on drought-resistant maize, a vaccine to help livestock farmers and a project to train farmers. They also have committed to a $2 billion investment in seven crops and one livestock vaccine.
I’m glad to see that Gates acquired fortune is at least getting some good use. You have to stop and think, I like the next best thing like the Playstation 3, a new smartphone, and HDTV as much as anybody, BUT if companies focused more on developing the way we got work done, from the farming level and upwards, I think we would have more jobs and less starvation across the globe. That’s just one man’s opinion though. What do you think?