In the quotation below, Bill Gates is referring to the late, and way-under-appreciated, economist Julian Simon.
(p. A3) “. . . Simon’s view was that humans would have to change to innovate,” Mr. Gates said. Innovation, in other words, is not preordained. Indeed, it’s happened much more in some societies than in others. And it has happened, Mr. Gates was arguing, because people and institutions took steps to remove the barriers to progress.
. . .
. . . , much of the world is enjoying one of history’s most rapid increases in prosperity. Life expectancy has risen more than six years just since 1990. The world, to quote the title of a book by the economist Charles Kenny, is “Getting Better.” As Mr. Gates says: “The world is actually improving a lot. We’re trying to deliver both the good news on the progress and the possibility to do more.”
For the full commentary, see:
David Leonhardt. “Africa’s Economy Is Rising, and Focus Turns to Food.” The New York Times (Thurs., JAN. 22, 2015): A3.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the title “Africa’s Economy Is Rising. Now What Happens to Its Food?”)
The book mentioned by Charles Kenny is:
Kenny, Charles. Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding–and How We Can Improve the World Even More. Philadelphia, PA: Basic Books, 2011.
One of the great books by Julian Simon is:
Moore, Stephen, and Julian L. Simon. It’s Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2000.