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Good Old Bill

There have been a few occasions in the past where I have been critical of Bill Gates, mostly because of his role leading Microsoft, a company which I think has stopped the computer industry from progressing and held back innovation for many years. On the other hand I do believe in giving credit where credit’s due and I must agree that Bill’s contributions to worthy causes (through his charitable organisation) have been substantial.

His latest contribution (at least the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s latest) is for $10 billion over the next 10 years to research new vaccines and use them in the world’s poorest countries. That’s a fairly substantial sum and one which has been put towards a very worthwhile project. Despite the claims of the anti-vaccination movement there is no doubt that vaccination is generally a very positive intervention and one which can potentially avoid more disease and suffering than just about anything else.

So I think this contribution is important for several reasons. First, just by donating $10 billion, which would not have been available otherwise, the research and medical program can proceed. Second, it was a good move to choose a positive, long-term target for the funding. Third, I appreciate him showing that non-religious charities can do as much or more than those based around religions. Fourth, by countering (more by implication than specifically) the people who oppose vaccination he reduces their effectiveness. And finally, by setting an example other people with excessive wealth might follow him.

So well done Bill, now could you do the world another big favour and tell Microsoft to stop making that awful (so-called) word processor, Word? We all hate it. Thanks for that!

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