Gates Optimism Buoys Mood in Davos

After glum start, 'creative capitalism' speech rallies leaders
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2008 7:59 AM CST
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates speaks during a media conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Friday Jan. 25, 2008. Buoyed by a burst of optimism from Bill Gates, business and government...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – An upbeat, optimistic Bill Gates livened up the dour World Economic Forum in Davos with a speech on "creative capitalism" and a pledge of $306 million to support African agriculture. After two days of muttering about the subprime fallout and an American recession, Gates told delegates yesterday to cast off their fear and construct "a new system with the twin mission of making profits and improving lives of those who don’t benefit from market forces."

For Gates, market forces work wonderfully for serving the rich, but "people benefit in inverse proportion to their needs"; pharmaceutical companies put more money into drugs to reverse baldness than to prevent malaria, for example. Creative capitalism would see corporations and non-profits work together, with corporations reaping "reputational benefit" where there isn't financial gain.