Sunday, December 18, 2005

Getting Rid of Poverty

Time selected Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono as their people of the year. I read a book by Jeffery Sachs recently. My cynicism just melted away while reading the Time article and the book.

Undeniably, America (at least private American citizens) is at the forefront of this battle against poverty. Their approach is based on sound economics (with Jeffery Sachs, you certainly can bet that the economics is going to be sound), business genius (Bill Gates - the richest man in the world - a better businessman probably does not exist ) and perhaps the biggest phenomenon in HR ever. (Bono, perhaps the most influential rocker on the planet).

I believe that it is time I leave my trademark cynicism behind and actually appreciate the work done by charitable organizations headed by these people. They know where the problem lies, they know how to tackle it and they have the money to tackle it.

To see such amazing charitable work done by rich and lucky human beings like the aforementioned goes a long way in restoring one's faith in Humanity as a whole, which had been lost due to rampant corruption and, among other things, gross environmental negligence.

It also assures me that the only way I can make even an iota of difference to the developing world is by becoming a motivated expert. A jack of all trades will not do. As an engineer, I do know that opportunities abound for effective social work. I do intend to do vast charitable work in the future in areas that I am an expert in. I need to become an expert first.

Bono, Gates and Sachs are inspirational people. Reading about their lives and their intellegent acts of kindness cannot but egg me on to complete my PhD ASAP, become an expert and then do my bit for humanity.

Perhaps until then all I can do to help charitable causes is to buy microsoft software, knowing that at least a bit of that money is going to help charitable causes in the third world. A benevolent monopolist in the rich world is like a respectable Robin Hood. I really do not feel bad spending money on Microsoft anymore. For within that economics text - book triangular box that I see labelled as "loss to society due to monopoly", I see resources being transferred to the third world from the first world. One way to address God's big injustice: the inequitable distribution of natural resources around the world. However, I just wish this were a sustainable model, not just the benevolence of a kind rich man and his wife.