Bill and Melinda Gates say it’s unfair to be so rich

  • In the 2018 Gates Letter, Bill and Melinda Gates answer the question: “Is it fair that you have so much influence?”

  • They both responded that it was unfair that their wealth opened doors that were closed to most people.

  • The Gateses added that it’s one of the reasons they created their philanthropic foundation, which aims to direct funding toward ideas and programs that can reduce poverty and inequality around the world.

  • Critics of the Gates Foundation say it has become too big and powerful to fully scrutinize.

Bill Gates is the second richest person on the planet, which gives him a lot of power. He and his wife Melinda use this power extensively for philanthropic purposes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which funds projects aimed at reducing poverty, inequality, disease, education inequality and hunger in the world.

In their 2018 letter about the foundation’s charitable work, Bill and Melinda Gates answer 10 questions people frequently ask them. One question is, “Is it fair that you have so much influence?”

To this they both answered “no”.

“It is not fair that we have so much wealth while billions of others have so little. And it is not fair that our wealth opens doors that are closed to most people,” wrote Melinda Gates . “World leaders tend to take our phone calls and think seriously about what we have to say. Cash-strapped school districts are more likely to divert money and talent to ideas they think that we are going to finance.”

Their immense wealth, privilege and influence is one of the reasons they started the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they write.

“We do this work, and use whatever influence we have, to help as many people as possible and advance equity in the world,” Melinda Gates wrote.

Bill added that he realizes that critics of the foundation’s charitable work often don’t voice their concerns for fear of losing their funding.

The Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world, and its considerable influence deserves critical examination. As Vox notes, although many experts believe the foundation has improved the state of the world, some say Gates’ health philanthropy has become too large to evaluate. The scale of his giving highlights the trend of philanthrocapitalism, in which billionaires – from the Gates to the Zuckerbergs – make charitable donations through foundations that may have little oversight, regulation or public input due to the financial power they exercise.

“That means we must hire well, consult with experts, constantly learn, and seek out different points of view,” Bill Gates wrote.


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