Bill Gates' annual letter

This year, Gates has decided to do the world a favor by dispelling the 3 myths that block progress for the poor.

Myth 1 - Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.

Myth 2 - Foreign aid is a big waste.

Myth 3 - Saving lives leads to overpopulation

And here is where he explains it all in his annual letter where he also states that, by 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.

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If I question the Gates' motives . . .

. . . does that make me an atheist?

"Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives."

Reflexively I'm wary of anyone putting a 'value' on life, mine or yours. But the key to Gatesianism is 'PRODUCTIVE lives'. And what is it we merry minions are to produce? Progress, pues. Widgets. Wealth. Not kids, that's not the Gates sense of 'productivity', not because they're childless, or maybe it is.

Now a lot of anxious, moneyed people think they know what's best for Nicaragua. But, as long as they have food on their plates, a disturbing (to those who know best) number of Nicas are happy with, what all tell them, are miserable lots in life. How is it they haven't genuflected to the true god, progress, Mammon? Don't they know they're POOR? They've been told so by ever economist from the developed fifth of the planet. What is the source of this elusive HAPPINESS that citizens from the fully developed territories spend their wealth to achieve, yet cannot?

I think some of this has been known before Bill Gates

"Postwar" is interesting reading about how the UK survived WWII and from reading I did after I got back from my first Nicaraguan visit, parts of France and Italy has what seemed then like hopelessly impoverished peasantry -- and they're not that poor now. Greece seems to be doing some economic experimenting to get around the more toxic effects of their own middle man culture.

Pretty much all over Latin America, birth rates have been dropping as women have careers (my former next door neighbors haven't had a second child -- she has a supervisory position in a bank).

A lot of theories about the poor are really justifications for treating other people badly.

There's some interesting research coming out of Qualla Boundary on how children fared when their parents were given lump sum pay offs from the gambling lease there -- considerably better. Some other studies I've come across seem to indicate that just giving the poor money is more productive than people who assume the poor are crazy or stupid tend to believe. I wonder what the outcome would have been if all the money spent to attack the FSLN government in the 1980s had just been given to Nicaraguans.

Rebecca Brown

Hope he is right.

That long analysis is creating lots of controversy - Who knows?
He is a very smart guy who was wildly successful and spends lots of money in poor countries.
Maybe Nicaragua does have a chance to be something other than a welfare nation.

I doubt that'll change in our lifetimes

Unless the next politician to come into office has substantially different views than Sr Ortega.

Google's definition of welfare: "statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need." That pretty much means promoting a minimum standard of living in some form or another. I don't speak spanish, but that seems like one of the major goals of the Sandinista revolution. e.g. universal literacy and healthcare and a manzana for all (except those traitors allied with Somoza)

Even in terms of international politics, it's highly unlikely to change anytime soon, if ever. Nicaragua is a small nation with few highly valuable natural resources (read: oil). That makes it dependent on foreign investment and its human capital for growth. With low educational standards, its people are unlikely to substantially change the outlook soon. Foreign investment is ramping up, but I'm still taking a wait and see approach to how that'll go.

Without anything that will clearly increase the fortunes of the country, Sr Ortega and his party will continually have to either:

a) ally themselves with a massive foreign power

b) play as many sides as they can to maximize benefit from each massive foreign power

Even if a new administration came in and switched to option a, I'm not sure how much change that would effect.

BONUS NOTE: Nicaragua is not the only country in the world to take this approach. One interesting example is North Korea. They have their own unique twist (a nuclear weapons program), but they also are a small, economically disadvantaged country that's playing off superpowers to maximize gain. I'd like to better understand what implications this form of diplomacy has for the future of such small, dependent nations.

Nicaragua is a rich nation

its just full of poor people and untalented ruling classes that have run the country into the ground for centuries. Nicaragua has always had tremendous potential for agriculture, transport, hydropower and both coasts are in the perfect position for Hong-Kong type light industry. Like they say in my country--You snooze, you lose.

North Korea has the minerals to be an industrial power, but south korea is the industrial power. could communism be a problem?

the chinese piƱata will fix many of these problems if they can bring discipline to their new neocolony.. Smart folks, them chinese.

``Socialism works fine until you run out of other peoples` money``

Margaret Thatcher

Sr Ortega and his party will continually have to either:

Submitted by jamesb2147
a) ally themselves with a massive foreign power
b) play as many sides as they can to maximize benefit from each massive foreign power
Isn't that what Nicaragua does now?

By "welfare" I meant the country itself!
Does Nicaragua generate any wealth or money to support the country internally?
I seldom buy anything that has "Hecho en Nicaragua" printed on the box.
I don't recall a single public works project like roads or water system that was paid for by Nicaragua.
Always a handout or a never to be repaid loan from another country or outside organization.
At a personal level lots of support from remittances from Nicas working aboard,
OK money brought here by tourists or ex-pats is probably considered internally generated.

Sure - Pelas will export more rum - Will that help anybody other than the Pelas empire?

The Nicaragua minimum wage is now about half of the reported pay that Apple Computer Chinese electronics manufacturing workers earn. Why has Nicaragua not captured a significant part of that business? - It is only a couple of hours from the US.

This country and its people have a long road to internally generated prosperity and "progress for the poor".