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Capitalism to the Rescue

John on October 7, 2010 at 9:48 am

The NY Times has an interesting story on Vinod Khosla, the billionaire co-founder of Sun Micro. Khosla has been investing in microfinance efforts in his native India and it’s paying off:

By backing businesses that provide education loans or distribute solar panels in villages, he says, he wants to show that commercial entities can better help people in poverty than most nonprofit charitable organizations.

“There needs to be more experiments in building sustainable businesses going after the market for the poor,” he said in a telephone interview from his office in Menlo Park, Calif. “It has to be done in a sustainable way. There is not enough money to be given away in the world to make the poor well off.”

Mr. Khosla’s advocacy of the bootstrap powers of capitalism is part of an increasingly popular school of thought: businesses, not governments or nonprofit groups, should lead the effort to eradicate global poverty.

Unlike Ted Turner’s plan to give a billion dollars to the UN, this plan actually has a chance of improving some people’s lives. Charity doesn’t have to be selfless at the expense of being effective. More free markets are the solution to poverty, not more Communist thugocracies like the ones that sprung up in Africa in the 60s. But not everyone in the world gets it:

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