NERB（NetEase Economic Research Bureau）Some aspects of technological innovation will
increase global inequality because most technologies are controlled and used by
developed countries. Do you agree? And how can low-income countries, especially
those in Africa, share benefits of technological innovations?
BILL GATES: Well, if you look at life expectancy or
childhood survival, which are two fairly interesting things, today, even at
very low levels of income, child survival and life expectancy is much higher even
for very poor countries. And that's
because of technologies like the smallpox vaccine, the measles vaccine, the
Green Revolution seeds for wheat or rice.
Many technologies do help the poorest and helps avoid their children
dying of smallpox or measles or diarrhea or pneumonia or malaria.
foreign aid to those poor countries or the philanthropy to those poor countries
is specifically aimed at helping those most in need.
can get an HIV vaccine or a TB vaccine, it is actually a huge help for global
equity as these diseases are mostly amongst the poorest. If we can get seeds to these poor farmers so
that they don't suffer from climate change, that's a huge help for global
equity. Everything the foundation does
is about taking innovation to help the poorest.
The world is better off, even because of innovation. We have to be very careful about if we are
making innovation available to these poor countries. Sometimes it takes time, for example a lot of
these cancer treatments are very expensive and can't be accessed in the poor
countries. But there are lots of things
like dealing with high blood pressure that now we're rolling out, which was
only available because the drugs were expensive and you had to have a doctor
and the instruments were expensive. Now,
that's gotten so inexpensive that we have a partner rolling that out even in
the poorest countries to check blood pressure and help treat your blood
pressure, which causes a lot of deaths.
intentional about it, we can make sure innovation is pro-equity. The greatest inequity of technology is that
climate change was caused by the middle-income and rich countries, but the
suffering, overwhelmingly, is the poor countries. We do have to solve that very, very hard
problem, or else it is a case where innovation reduced equity.