Gates: 'Creative Capitalism' Can Fight Global Poverty

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gave a glimpse of his future as a philanthropist in a speech in Switzerland last week, calling for a new kind of "creative capitalism" from businesses to help improve the lives of the world's poorest people.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Gates challenged companies worldwide to work with governments and nonprofits to find ways to be charitable and solve the problems of the poorest people without sacrificing their own business needs.

"We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve the wealthier people serve poorer people as well," he said, speaking via a webcast from Switzerland.

'Refine System' to Benefit All

The idea of creative capitalism combines the "two great focuses of human nature -- self-interest and caring for others," Gates said. By keeping in mind business acumen, corporations can find new and innovative ways to solve major problems for 1 billion of the world's poorest people, who don't get enough food or don't have drinking water or reliable access to medication, which the rest of us take for granted, he said.

"This system driven by self-interest is responsible for incredible innovations that improve lives," Gates said. "But to harness this power to benefit everyone, we need to refine the system."

Gates plans to retire from full-time duties at Microsoft in July and devote most of his time to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic organization he runs with his wife.

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