From a cogent letter to the editor by Fred Smith:
(p. A13) The tragedy of Gates-style philanthropy is less that it will do little good but, rather, that he has abandoned the entrepreneurial skills used so creatively in his truly significant wealth-creation work at Microsoft. Had he employed similar skills in dealing with the problems of Africa, he would not — as Mr. Barro notes he is largely doing — simply replicate the tried and failed policies of traditional paternalistic aid. Rather, he would be examining the barriers — political, cultural, tribal — that block entrepreneurial activity throughout Africa and explore ways to remove them. Could we, for instance, out-compete the oligarchs and tyrants by creating prizes that would bypass the bureaucracy and achieve success in health- and wealth-creation, in reducing corruption?
For the full letter, see:
Fred L. Smith Jr. “Do Something for Other People by Getting Very, Very Rich.” Wall Street Journal (Fri., Jun 29, 2007): A13.