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The Bill Gates Problem : Reckoning with the Myth of the Good Billionaire

Schwab, Tim More by this author...£25.00

How much money should one man be allowed to amass? Would your answer change if you knew he was a saint?

From greedy to generous, from cold- to kind-hearted, from rogue to hero, Bill Gates is an extraordinarily complex public figure. Yet over the last decade, we've reduced him to a flat caricature - a sweater-wearing, avuncular, well-meaning billionaire, who is adamantly giving away all of his money through the Gates Foundation in order to improve the lives of others. This simplistic portrait perilously ignores the political influence that Gates has acquired through his charitable work, and the controversial ways through which he utilises it.

We might like to think of the Foundation as an innocent charity giving away money, collaborating with stakeholders, and listening to the desires of the populations it hopes to help, but is that how it works in practice? The charity internally sets a policy agenda for how to fix the world - based apparently on one man's worldview - then arguably seeks to impose this vision onto the developing world by funding groups that align with it.

Combining rich storytelling and ground-breaking reporting, The Bill Gates Problem offers readers a provocative and timely counter-narrative about one of the world's most widely recognized individuals - a true global celebrity with a truly global audience. But more than that, this book speaks to a vital political question around economic inequality and the erosion of democratic institutions - why should the super-rich be able to transform their wealth into political power, and just how far can they go?

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