Dear Mr. Bill Gates and Mr. Warren Buffett,
I have been an entrepreneur, a philanthropist and a philosopher. I am no longer an entrepreneur, and my philanthropy budget (lifetime, not yearly) does not possibly exceed three digits. My only philosophical contribution to humanity has been to write a few online articles, which were rarely read or appreciated. So I naturally felt empowered and entitled to advise you both gentlemen on certain matters.
Our society is not interested in root causes. We are merely interested in applying bandages and patches to problems to suppress them at one place, which later reappear with a malignant vengeance elsewhere. I will just take two examples from the myriad ones available to illustrate the point.
Education starts in the womb. However, most parents become parents because they happened to conceive children. It is auto pilot parenting, mostly running without conscious control or guidance. Very few actually take any pains to learn more about the art of education, and most people just wing it. The untold billions that are spent on education, mostly go to sustain the bureaucracy and the testing mechanism. While it is no body's case that our children's teachers ought not to be paid more money, in reality, a teacher can only do so much. Most children do not come with adequate preparation to learn, and there are at least 20-30 children per class in the best of the schools in the US. When the basic skills, such as, concentration, attention to details, ability to verbalize and comprehend, fine and gross motor skills are poorly developed, their health is seriously compromised due to junk food and bad nutrition, when their mind is distracted with all the disturbing images of TV and video games, how can any child learn? It is amazing that so many of those children still survive and do well in life. The credit goes to the coping mechanism that is inbuilt in humans, not to our education system. The root causes of our education ills lie at home and in our environment.
People have mostly abdicated their responsibility for their personal health and well being and handed it over to the likes of FDA, large pharma and AMA (American Medical Association). Then we have the spectre of doctors over prescribing antibiotics and other noxious chemicals, drug companies falsifying clinical trial data, and the incestuous relationship between the doctors and the pharma companies. Our food is poisoned in a variety of ways so as to ensure that our children grow up obese and unhealthy. Our lifestyles do not encourage physical activity and we do not eat enough natural, healthy food. All in all, you will agree with me, the picture is not pretty. So the root causes are pretty obvious I would think. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and yet, we put all our billions in researching new-and-improved molecules, only to discover a generation later, that those molecules are not as benign as they first appeared. If even a fraction of that research money is available for studying healthy lifestyles, healthy diets and exercise programs and natural home remedies, we will have a much healthier population.
If we fix the root causes of our ills, we will have a much better return on investment. I happen to believe that both education and health care are basic human rights, not privileges. No big companies are ever going to pour money into research, that will eventually spell their doom, such as a diabetes cure. No governmental agency is ever going to find optimal solutions either, because they are too beholden to the industrial behemoths. The only way it can be done is with private philanthropy. Therefore I urge you gentlemen, to invest more money in fundamental research that will address the root causes of these issues. Let me make a small wish list for your consideration.
1. Education - better parenting skills, prerequisites for optimal learning
2. Health care - better diets, home remedies, healthy lifestyles
3. Energy - energy efficiency, renewable and alternative sources
4. Environment - reduction of pollution, elimination of toxins, reversal of global warming
5. Poverty - micro credit, taking responsibility for the self and family, education
I hope you will divert at least some of your generosity towards these issues addressing the root causes. I strongly believe that addressing these root causes will go a long way towards bolstering your respective legacies as people who truly changed the course of human history.