90 Seconds With Bill Gates: On Inequality

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Why you should care

Because the rich are only getting richer, and ultimately, inequality matters.

Some billionaires might squirm in their seats when the subject of rising inequality comes up. Not Bill Gates, who, in this interview last year with Carlos Watson, talks capital and labor — and whether capitalism tends inexorably toward inequality.

Yes, Gates says, the upper 5 to 10 percent “does better” in market capitalism. But being Bill Gates, he’s thinking on a global scale. Rising middle classes in India and China are evidence that inequality among nations is declining. Nonetheless, he has a prescription for governments to think about to avoid what he calls the “extremes” of capitalism: a combination of progressive tax policies and, of course, philanthropy.

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