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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

By Shan Li, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Billionaire and former tech mogul Bill Gates predicts that there will be almost no poor countries left in the world by 2035.

Almost all nations will be either lower-middle income or wealthier, and most will have surpassed the 35 countries that are currently defined by the World Bank as low-income, Gates says in his annual letter for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In the letter, Gates and his wife try to dispel what they say are myths about global poverty that hinder development: Poor countries are destined to stay that way, foreign aid is not helpful and saving lives leads to overpopulation.

The first myth, about poverty-stricken countries staying down, has been negated by the jumps in income of countries around the world, the letter says. Gates points out that since 1960, China’s real income per person has gone up eightfold, India’s has quadrupled, and Brazil’s has almost quintupled.

“In the next two decades, desperately poor countries will become the exception rather than the rule,” Gates wrote. “Billions of people will have been lifted out of extreme poverty.”

The billionaire also says that critics of foreign aid tend to cite examples about waste and ignore the overall good that such aid has delivered to people in need through goods and services.

As for the Mathusian notion that saving lives ultimately will lead to overpopulation, Melinda Gates writes that countries with high child-mortality rates — such as Afghanistan — actually have high birth rates as well. Families in nations where children tend to survive to adulthood usually decide to have fewer kids, she said.

Photo: Batmoo via Flickr

  • Sand_Cat

    Sorry, but Mr. Gates should stick to what he’s good at.
    There’s at least one country I can think of that’s likely to be desperately poor by 2035 if current trends continue, and its initials are USA.
    This is not to say that there won’t be a few fabulously wealthy individuals at the top of the heap, but any nation in which most of the people can’t count on food and shelter and who have declining real income is “poor” by my reckoning.

  • Dorothy N.

    I suspect that what Bill Gates means is that virtually all people in
    all countries will be equally poor under ‘globalization’, while those at
    the top levels of corporations will be equally wealthy, no matter which
    country they may reside in.

    Corporations are to be assisted in
    draining the world under ‘trade agreements’ using a bizarre concept
    termed ‘investor-state protection’, placing corporations/investors in a
    position of absolute protection and control rivaling that of ancient
    kings, allowing such corporations
    to control domestic law in all involved countries by using their own
    private ‘trade courts’ – overriding all established domestic law and
    rights – to determine
    the results of corporate-instituted lawsuits using criteria based only
    the maximization of anticipated corporate profits, at all costs to all

    Maximized corporate profit is to overrule all else,
    regardless of each country’s democracy, sovereignty, domestic law and to-be-arbitrarily
    invalidated domestic Court system, of citizen/human and environmental rights and
    survival, with hundreds or thousands of corporations suing the
    taxpayers of each country into destitution and submission in
    obliterating any law potentially – in each corporation’s own estimation –
    reducing their own maximized potential profits by any law such as those
    protecting against unrestrained industrial pollution or protecting
    workers, consumers or the general public against any corporate abuses,
    so that maximized corporate profit forms the entire and only purpose of global

    We have seen what insufficient corporate restraints have
    wrought in less-protected countries with large areas poisoned and
    devastated, entire populations sickened and/or more directly terrorized,
    raped, enslaved and slaughtered by complicit government or
    corporate-hired private forces, and can therefore predict the results of
    utterly unrestrained global corporate power over industrialized
    countries being accepted as ‘legal’.

    We are already seeing
    ‘test’ multi-hundreds-of-million and billion-dollar lawsuits being
    conducted by corporations against countries maintaining standards to
    protect their citizens against such things as corporate medical fraud
    and industry pollution…

    The fact remains, though, that nobody, even those
    temporarily holding public office, has the right to effectively
    surrender any country and its people and their sovereignty to any
    outside power, even indirectly, by handing a mechanism to would-be invaders and abusers
    by which they may take control.

    The TPP – involving 600 corporations to be given precedence over all law and human rights – and other such private
    arrangements are not ‘trade agreements’ or ‘treaties’, but secretive
    personal agreements between those betraying their public office –
    existing specifically to serve the public interest – and those corporations who would so easily
    ‘legally’ gain the power of using and abusing the people and countries
    so betrayed, although these people and domestic law-courts intended to be unknowingly
    sold by the stroke of a pen can no more be regarded as being legally bound by
    these than they would by any other fraud or betrayal.

    such as those of democracy, human rights and the protections of domestic
    law for the involved people, environment and country are in each case
    inherent and entailed for those to come, and cannot be voted, traded,
    sold, or given away by anyone or group.

    And I would expect that
    the armies of each country would recognise their duty to respond
    appropriately to any attempted invasion and subjugation of their country
    and people by any country or corporation(s) under any guise, included that of
    ‘trade’ or ‘law’ created to ‘justify’ this.

    So, if that’s what
    Bill Gates was referring to, we’re going to have to demand Fair Trade
    deals only, and honestly raise the standard of living of us all around
    the globe, something that would actually – and sustainably – work.

    the poor may well be virtually gone by then, indeed – at best, starved,
    poisoned, deprived of safe water, food and air – and in the ‘investor state’ scenario, there’s liable to
    be almost nothing left but the enclaves of the few richest people,
    perhaps, indeed, even by 2035…

    How many unlimited polluters and exploding toxic facilities can any one area or group of people survive?

  • Dopple Gang

    Obamacare isn’t about more choices and lower prices, it’s about fewer choices, higher prices, and centralized control over your medical care.