Richest man in the world spent it on…
Ten billion is one of those numbers that’s simply too big for our human brain to grasp. The truth of the matter is, not many people alive have the privilege of sitting down to think of how to spend $10 billion. You would have to be the richest man alive to have that problem, right? Absolutely. That man is Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft.
This year, Bill Gates committed $10 billion to help develop and distribute vaccines in developing nations. Mr. Gates believes that better health can be a catalyst for more wide-ranging improvements in the world’s poorest countries. He explains his cause here.
How other experts would spend it
Imagine if you had $10 billion to further a cause–What would it be? The Wall Street Journal asked several prominent philanthropists for their ideas. Below are a few ideas from the article:
Percy Barnevik, Hand in Hand International: Stimulate job creation. It costs $200 to create a single job in a developing country. By investing in training and coaching, that $200 has the potential help a poor person earn $2,000 a year for the rest of their lives.
Mo Ibrahim, Mo Ibrahim Foundation: Create a statistics office in Africa. Having reliable data can help improve the decisions of policy makers, investors, and philanthropic organizations.
Nic Frances, Cool nrg: Develop toilets that capture methane to use as fuel. The technology would earn carbon credits by capturing the gas and secondly, use it as a fuel. This provides an economic incentive for companies to provide low-cost sanitation and fuel to much of Africa.
Ronald Cohen, Apax Partners: Create social-investment banks that lend money to social enterprises and allow people to invest in social projects.
Dr. Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation: Discover the “next big thing.” Harness talent and resources to find new answers to big problems. One way to do that is invest in “networks that connect entities across disciplines and sectors, assuring that successful local innovations are more widely adopted.”
How I would spend it…
Personally, I love Dr. Rodin’s idea. I think investing in an organization that networks people and organizations to foster innovation and collaboration is a great idea! Then again, I’m a little biased, *wink.
In all seriousness, I agree that the solution does not lie in a single idea, but rather in our collective willingness to solve the world’s problems. It doesn’t matter if you are the world’s richest man or an ordinary Joe–there’s capacity inside all of us to do something. To harness that capacity, we need to connect, share ideas, and organize to take action. With today’s technology, we can all become global citizens.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes. It summarizes well why we do what we do here:
The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems. – Mohandas Gandhi
CNN feature on Gates’ Astronomical Donation