At a recent media conference, Phoenix Finance asked Bill Gates, “How does it feel to be the richest man in the world?” Bill Gates laughed and said, “Obviously I didn’t give enough money.” That’s good news, he says, because it means he can give more money to the foundation, “And I’m still on the list after giving $50 billion, which is really interesting.” I hope others will be able to donate too, competing with me for a faster decline in the rankings.”
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates became the world’s richest man on November 16th with a net worth of $110bn over Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the first time in more than two years that he has become the world’s richest man, according to public filings.
In 2000, Bill Gates and his wife co-founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which published the Target Guardians Report in 2019, noting that, despite significant global progress in health and development, inequality, particularly the gap between the richest and poorest countries, remains. and will seriously affect the achievement of the United Nations sustainable development goals.
Bill Gates is a staunch supporter of foreign aid, and “the solution to the problems of poor countries should play an active role in foreign aid”. He argues that the scale of foreign aid should be increased to three to four times the current size, and that “at present, only a few countries, such as Norway and Sweden, are very generous in terms of foreign aid”.
For China’s progress in philanthropy, Bill Gates points out that Philanthropy in the United States is well developed, accounting for about 2% of the U.S. economy, and that Chinese philanthropy has its own characteristics: “In China, philanthropy is more about helping children with disabilities, education or environmental protection.” “
Bill Gates wants to help those who promote philanthropy in China, “and we need to make sure that recipients are really and effectively using these donations and that the public is aware of the information before they encourage friends to participate in charity.”
(Interview live picture)
Here’s a transcript of a partial conversation between Phoenix Finance and Bill Gates:
Phoenix Financial: What does it mean for you that you’ve recently overtaken Amazon’s Bezos to return to the top of the world in two years?
Bill Gates: Obviously I didn’t give enough money. I’ve donated more than $50 billion, but the stock market and my investment returns are good. That’s good news because I can have more money to donate to the foundation.
Obviously, at this extreme level of wealth, it will not have any effect on my personal well-being. 0.1 percent of that is enough for me to live a safe life. So what’s more important is that it will allow the foundation to further improve its work to help people adapt to climate change, eventually eliminate malaria, and so on. We have reduced the number of child deaths from 10 million to 5 million per year, and now we want to reduce them further to 2.5 million. Having more resources would undoubtedly help more.
The foundation now donates more than $5 billion annually. Over time, I’ll fall off the rich list because these years will be spent in the next 30 or 40 years. Of course, I’m still on the list after donating $50 billion, which is really interesting. I hope others will be able to donate too, and compete with me for who’s going down faster.
Phoenix Finance: The three winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics have focused their research on “experimental approaches to reducing global poverty”. The Target Guardian report also mentions that inequality persists. In your opinion, can people living in poor areas and countries escape poverty by their own strength? To what extent should external forces be used? Does relying on external forces have some negative effects?
Bill Gates: If countries are stuck in their own areas, not in exchange, it’s not a happy situation. Advances in vaccines and electricity have really changed human life. If a country tries to study how to print and how to make steel on its own, it could take thousands of years. In fact, humans have been trading and exchanging ideas. Many great inventions come from China. Historically, China has led the world in innovation.
Poor countries therefore need the innovative forces of other countries. They should not be alone in developing AIDS vaccines, producing mosquito nets or finding improved crop seeds to combat climate change.
I support foreign aid, and addressing these areas of poverty in poor countries should play an active role in foreign aid. I believe that the scale of foreign aid should be increased to three to four times the current size. At present, only a few countries, such as Norway and Sweden, are very generous in terms of foreign aid.
The measure of foreign aid is its share of GDP. If a country could spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid, it would be very generous. Only eight countries in the world currently meet this standard. The U.S. figure is 0.25 percent. The most generous are European countries and some Middle Eastern countries. We should, and can, help poor countries with greater efforts. Of course, I have great hopes for China’s foreign aid. The scale of China’s foreign aid has been expanding, and I think this trend will continue.
Many countries have joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a platform on which official official development assistance (ODA) is officially recognized, allowing comparisons and research on foreign aid. China is not yet a member of the OECD, but it would be a good thing if it could do so in the future.
Phoenix Financial: According to relevant data, China’s public welfare funds in China accounted for more than 90% of entrepreneurs’ donations, and the United States public welfare funds more than 80% from the public, how do you understand this difference? How can a wider range of people be encouraged to participate in the public good?
Bill Gates: Ideally, philanthropy should exist widely in society. For example, we see that when natural disasters occur in China, there are a wide range of people involved in donations, not just the rich, but everyone involved. But how do we get people interested in other types of charitable giving – children’s deaths, for example, is actually a daily tragedy – and that’s still a question.
Religious donations are a large category in many countries, which may not be the same in China. But in some countries, this is actually helpful because it allows people to get into the habit of donating. Even if they start with the church, they will consider donating to other sources over time.
In China, philanthropy is more about helping children with disabilities, education or environmental protection. Some institutions have come up with ground-breaking ideas, such as Tencent’s creation of “99 Public Interest Day”, and similar institutions are on the rise. We try to work with them and offer some help. China’s philanthropy has its own characteristics. I hope it continues to grow.
Philanthropy in the U.S. is well-developed, accounting for about 2% of the U.S. economy. In fact, the Middle East is also very charitable. Although not well organized, the proportion of donations may exceed 2% under the influence of Muslim traditions.
For Chinese philanthropy, we want to help those who promote the concept of charity. Whenever there is a rumor that charitable donations have been embezzled and abused, it has a great negative impact on the industry. We need to make sure that recipients are really and effectively using these donations and that the public is aware of the information before they encourage friends to participate in charity. I hope that not only do more charity for the rich, but society as a whole can get involved.
The foundation (in China’s charity promotion) is not the main character, but hopes to play some supporting role.