Saturday, July 14, 2007

Stossel Teaches Bill Gates A Business Lesson

ABC News anchor and 20/20 correspondent John Stossel, one of the few people on television who appreciate the productive and ethical wonders of competition, had a business lesson for Bill Gates after the Microsoft billionaire spoke at Harvard in June.

In his speech, Gates lamented the suffering of the world's poor who have "no power in the market and no voice in the system." Stossel responded that the solution to poverty and human suffering is not philanthropy or blanket criticism of markets:

"Gates faults the free market for problems caused by governments. What constricts the reach of the free market is the state. Gates seems oblivious to all the ways that governments here and abroad cripple enterprise. In poor countries, corrupt bureaucracies smother entrepreneurship while enriching cronies. The lack of formal property rights and stable law keeps average people from accumulating capital. So the poor stay poor. That's what causes "scarcity of clean water" and kills 'children who die from diseases we can cure.'"

People are not poor because of lack of charity. They are not poor because markets make them poor. They are poor because their governments do not protect their lives, their property and their freedom to trade.

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