Bill Gates releases annual letter, says there won't be 'poor' countries by 2035

Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates may be helping to find the company's next CEO, but his full-time job is with his charitable group, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, he and his wife issued their annual letter from the foundation, and this year they try to dispel three myths about poverty in the world.

The letter says that one of those myths is that poor countries will continue to stay at that level. Bill Gates says that we only have to look at the progress made in places like Mexico City, Shanghai and other urban areas to prove that is not the case. In fact, he makes a rather bold prediction:

By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. (I mean by our current definition of poor.) Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments.

Gates' definition of "poor" is any of the 35 countries that the World Bank currently labels as a low income region, even when inflation is taken into account. While he admits there will be a few countries that will have their income held back by factors such as war, geography and politics, like North Korea, he still believes that most of them will be above the current low income level in the next couple of decades.

Gates also tries to show that foreign aid is not a waste of money and time. He says that those efforts have helped to improve health care in many third world countries around the world. He states, "What we see over time is people living longer, getting healthier, and escaping poverty, partly because of services that aid helped develop and deliver."

Finally, Melinda writes about the myth that saving lives in poor countries will lead to overpopulation. She states that is not the case, with studies showing that when child mortality rates go down, the birth rates also go down. She adds, "Creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality, and access to contraceptives is the only way to secure a sustainable world."

Source: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Image via Bill Gates

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Prior to 1950, freedom in Western Europe devolved (yes, that's an appropriate term) from the tension between Church and State. Both had elements of natural tyranny to them, but talented people were able to play them off of each other to preserve some degree of creative initiative.

In the global markets of the modern world, freedom devolves from the tension between multi-national corporations and the State (See John Hall, "Powers and Liberties"). While we in the U.S. are currently suffering a decline in living standards due to the portability of intellectual property, in many parts of the world conditions are improving dramatically as sophisticated production and service practices are disseminated by corporations seeking lower costs.

As that process proceeds, tyrants will find that the people that bring jobs and money in the door don't approve when their creative, free-thinking employees disappear off the street one night. And countries that fail to invest in the creativity and security of their people will find that companies go elsewhere when new products and services are needed.

That Bill is investing time not only in carrying this message to the world, but in seeking to fund research and technology that will improve living conditions for the poor, is a great service to humanity, and places him in a position to be able to assess the rate of progress in a realistic way.

The only factor that may stand in the way of this progress is massive ecosystem disruption, although that may simply suppress the carrying capacity of the Earth, rather than saddling us with permanent poverty.

"Better seeds" like hell. His foundation works with the terminator/toxic/frankencrop seed producer Monsanto.

2035 is 21 years away, it's easy to say any old crap you like about what will happen in 21 years. What steps are in place to reach this world of no poor by then? What measurable improvement has Gates' foundation actually achieved so far? How about what will happen in 10 years? 5 years? This year? Thought so.

Not to belittle the good work he may have done, but it seems that his foundation has all the wrong partners and from reports I've seen is doing all the wrong things, taking away sovereignty and pride in many ways and not giving actual sustainable farming solutions.

james.faction said,
What measurable improvement has Gates' foundation actually achieved so far? How about what will happen in 10 years? 5 years? This year? Thought so.

Read the letter. He writes very long annual letters that describe exactly what you're asking for. Last year, it was all about measuring and how to measure better.

One of his personal goals is to eradicate polio. India hasn't had a polio case in 3 years and the WHO is set to declare India polio-free next month. There are only a few hundred cases left in the world (there were over 500 cases in India alone in 2008), and he hopes to have it completely eradicated worldwide in the next couple years.

"No poor countries by 2035"... Yeah, I'm reminded of the line from Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy: "Many men of course became extremely rich, but this was perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of because no one was really poor -- at least no one worth speaking of."

Then again, by 2035 there won't be a MSWindows, so countries may be able to spend money on worthwhile projects instead.

Yes, once the 85 richest (including Gates) are put up against the wall and disposed of, then we can redistribute the wealth (HALF of the world's total wealth, people) back where it belongs.

John Nemesh said,
Yes, once the 85 richest (including Gates) are put up against the wall and disposed of, then we can redistribute the wealth (HALF of the world's total wealth, people) back where it belongs.

...where it will be better managed, surely?

Bill, I am one of your biggest supporters. I disagree with you on this one Billy. As long as selfish humans roam this earth, their will be poor countries.

… And Bill Gates has proven himself to be a great prophet. NEVER. Go read his book 'The Road Ahead' if you want a good laugh at vacant and obvious predictions of the future. It's far more reliable that humanity will have successfully regressed into its last dark age by 2035, at the rate our Corporate Oligarchy is managing to destroy itself and all things economic. You'll enjoy that, Lord Gates and family.

Capitalism is based in scarcity and Bill Gates knows it very well.

So, what he is saying and what he is trying to accomplish are different matters.

Gates may be correct. However, one must consider how a country becomes not-poor. The likely path is to establish manufacturing sites in these countries. This will be attractive to world wide corporations due to low wages (not job competition). Like China, once a middle class develops the country's GDP will push it above the "poor" rating. In fact, China has been investing in some African countries with the possible goal of not only utilizing untapped African resources, but also outsourcing low margin manufacturing. Here is a link: http://www.reuters.com/article...china-idUSL6N0FI3TE20130721

last time I looked at that it was china doin coal mining not only did they not employ a single native of that country they bought everything in from china and used Chinese only work force the govt of said country was paid a poultry 1% in taxes / profits everything else was taken back to china... now tell me how that countries GDP is going to grow in that situation for the opposite to happen the likes of the UN need to step in and regulate what one country can do in another with regards to big business in making sure that the country being used gets a fair deal

"benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments"

Translation: We'll continue to poison you with our vaccines, we'll force you to buy and use only Monsanto seeds, we'll be everywhere watching you and we'll help you specialize in new areas, so you can work for us for just a fraction of the money we now have to pay to highly qualified western specialists.

For as smart as we all think Bill Gates is I can't believe how dumb he is with regards to his philanthropy.

Poverty is a symptom of a greater problem, corrupt and/or oppressive government. Would improved health care help the people of North Korea? Would improved "education" help the people of South Africa? Who would provide that "education"? The drug lords?

I always find it silly that otherwise smart people think they can fix poverty and plight with gadgets and money. Typically it is those of a liberal mindset that view government as a type of benign non-factor rather than the necessary evil it really is.

If Bill Gates truly wanted to effectively combat poverty he would be talking about ways to encourage and assist uprisings in populations that are ready to take responsibility for themselves... unfortunately as we see in the middle east some newly democratized nations aren't ready for the responsibility of self-governance...

Auditor said,
Bill is certainly rich man but the way MS products are tanking, I wonder if MS will exist in 2035.

Why even tie this story with Microsoft?

Bill gates failed to revolutionize the mobile phone and tablet. I don't care if he is still the richest man in the world. Windows might be his greatest contribution to the world but it has stagnated due to lack of serious competition.

I really wish windows market share will eventually drop below 50% and monopoly is a dark age for everyone.

Master of Earth said,
Bill gates failed to revolutionize the mobile phone and tablet. I don't care if he is still the richest man in the world. Windows might be his greatest contribution to the world but it has stagnated due to lack of serious competition.

I really wish windows market share will eventually drop below 50% and monopoly is a dark age for everyone.

Considering the subject matter here, do you have any idea how petty you sound???

Master of Earth said,
Windows might be his greatest contribution to the world but it has stagnated due to lack of serious competition.

Of course it isn't. It's his philanthropy work.

What other charities do you troll?

Not trolling. He can help to advance the technology even further in the last ten years if he choose to continue work full-time at microsoft instead of fixing poor countries that their future is agnostic.

I kinda felt he is avoiding to involve in technology since Apple and Google become the forefront of leading innovation software and product. Unfortunately, some of the people don't get my point.

Master of Earth said,
He can help to advance the technology even further in the last ten years if he choose to continue work full-time at microsoft instead of fixing poor countries that their future is agnostic.

He has more important things to do.

Like keeping those people who can't feed themselves alive you mean so what's the point of that again oh that's right so he can feel good and say to the world look at me I saved 100K people from suffering from malaria so now they'll live to starve slowly till they die

Athlonite said,
Like keeping those people who can't feed themselves alive you mean so what's the point of that again oh that's right so he can feel good and say to the world look at me I saved 100K people from suffering from malaria so now they'll live to starve slowly till they die

There are plenty of people who can in fact feed themselves that have been afflicted with polio and malaria. India has only just now become polio free.

The only way to completely eradicate a disease is to eradicate it everywhere.

rfirth said,

He has more important things to do.

Sounds like you work for him more than anyone else in the planet. Those poor countries will continue to occur because those people just have no idea whether or not they can afford to have baby and still insist to have one or more. If they don't stop that then bill gates is just feeding them. That's not gonna fix it because it just keep repeating. You're easily clouded by something and just accept whatever people opinion. Flat out absurd!

deadonthefloor said,

And as long as there are poor countries, capitalist companies will exploit the labour force.

The population of poor countries are only exploited by 'corporations' with consent of the government.

mikefarinha said,

The population of poor countries are only exploited by 'corporations' with consent of the government.
Unless it happens to be a puppet government with the corporation pulling the strings.

Actually there will be more poor people and countries, they will just redefine again what is considered poor and claim there are less based on their new definition

z0phi3l said,
Actually there will be more poor people and countries, they will just redefine again what is considered poor and claim there are less based on their new definition
Well done on not reading the article.

Please report to the front desk to claim your illiteracy reward.

Exactly you can't claim to be poor if everyone else is as poor as you... in 2035 I say the world will be more like that portrayed in the movie Elysium than in startrek

That is a very very BOLD prediction. Considering 2035 is basically right around the corner when you think about it.

For as smart as Mr. Gates is, I believe he is wrong on this one. Maybe a day like this will come, and I am happy that he has faith int he human race that this can happen. But 21yrs ahead isn't much time in the grand scheme of things.

But people who are, greedy, bittern, hateful, oppressive, control freaks, and those who just want to see things burn. Won't go away in that short a time period.

But I am praying that Bill Gates is right though.

Waiting 21 years is like waiting for the 1st iPhone launch without upgrading your brand new computer running Windows 3.1.

It is not "around the corner" by any stretch.

Grumphus said,
Waiting 21 years is like waiting for the 1st iPhone launch without upgrading your brand new computer running Windows 3.1.

It is not "around the corner" by any stretch.


It seems like yesterday that I was 18yrs old... and Last week I was 10yrs old...

Open my eyes today and it's 35yrs later. Time flies believe it or not.

And humans haven't changed much in all the years we've been on the planet.

For every step forward we take, we always seems to take 3steps back...

Bill's greatest contribution to the world is not Microsoft, it's all the humanitarian work that he's done and continues to do. You've got to respect that!

Vlad Dudau said,
Bill's greatest contribution to the world is not Microsoft, it's all the humanitarian work that he's done and continues to do. You've got to respect that!

Indeed! Though the success of MS has allowed him to do these things. Still he wouldn't be the first man in history to use his personal fortune to genuinely help others. Wish it wasn't the exception ...

Better check into The Gates Foundation's work. It's not all good.

"Gates Foundation Pushing Dangerous Contraceptives on Black Populations"
http://www.thenewamerican.com/...ptives-on-black-populations

“Depo Provera (made by the Pfizer Corporation), the most deadly contraceptive (according to the FDA), is being marketed with malice and forethought at our precious women and girls of African descent world wide,” said Dr. Randy Short, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Rebecca Project for Human Rights

ThinkingWhiteMale999 said,
Better check into The Gates Foundation's work. It's not all good.

"Gates Foundation Pushing Dangerous Contraceptives on Black Populations"
http://www.thenewamerican.com/...ptives-on-black-populations

“Depo Provera (made by the Pfizer Corporation), the most deadly contraceptive (according to the FDA), is being marketed with malice and forethought at our precious women and girls of African descent world wide,” said Dr. Randy Short, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based Rebecca Project for Human Rights

The New American is so radical right that it's hard to trust as an impartial source. Sorry.

What with once rich countries gradually becoming poorer, and with population levels still climbing, I fear that this prediction is about as accurate as his earlier prediction that 640 kB ought to be enough for anybody.

Shiranui said,
I fear that this prediction is about as accurate as his earlier prediction that 640 kB ought to be enough for anybody.

There's no proof that he ever said that and he denies having said it.

M4x1mus said,

There's no proof that he ever said that and he denies having said it.

He probably didn't as it doesn't make any sense.

But I think he is overly optimistic about the future of poverty.