Bill Gates at Live 8

By Deane Barker on July 2, 2005

Live 8 an eclectic extravaganza: Bill Gates was brought on stage during the Live 8 concert in London.

Geldof appeared onstage to introduce Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Gates, whom the crowd greeted with a rock star-scale roar.

“We can do this, and when we do it will be the best thing that humanity has ever done,” Gates said.

Love him or hate him, Gates has given a lot of money to African causes — $7 billion over the last decade, in addition to the $27 billion endowment he’s built up with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He deserves the accolades in this respect.



  1. Um, no it’s not.

    “Live Aid” was twenty-five years ago. This one is called “Live 8” to coincide with the “G8 Summit.”

  2. Right-o, Deane. It’s Live 8, named so because the main goal is to convince the leaders meeting at the G-8 Summit (get the connection?) to forgive the debts of several impoverished nations.

    While Bill really is a swell guy when it comes to spreading the love around, and it’s wonderful that he makes an appearance at Live 8, but this concert isn’t necessarily about philanthropy; it’s about talking one group of government leaders out of a bunch of money that’s not theirs anyway. The concert promoters make grand statements about helping to wipe out poverty, but the nations that have the problems with poverty and stand to benefit from this concert are run by socialist dictators who have borrowed heavily from the G8 nations, mostly to build up their own military powers.

    I would go so far to say that this concert was designed by socialists to benefit socialists. And the people that will end up on the short end of the stick are most likely the very people that the concert promoters claim they are trying to help.

  3. Whoever wrote the comment above obviously hasn’t read or listened to Live 8 is all about. It’s not just about cancelling the Debt, doubling the aid or making sure that fair trade is offered to the African people. It’s about putting pressure on the world leaders to make sure that this money and aid gets through to the people that need it and not get filtered through the corrupted African governments. Everyone knows, especially the G8 Leaders, how corrupt some of the African powers are and this will be high on the G8 agenda. A little more faith in the goodwill of Bob & Co. is what is most needed at the minute, not cynicism.

  4. But Marv, just how is canceling the debts of those nations going to benefit the people in need without unduly benefitting the two-bit dictators that have put them in that predicament?

    You say that it’s all about pressuring the G8 leaders to “make sure that this money and aid gets through to the people that need it and not get filtered through the corrupted African governments.” But just how is this going to happen? Will the debt forgiveness suddenly make those two-bit dictators turn into benevolent souls who see the error of their ways and finally let the aid flow to where it is needed? Color me skeptical.

  5. Hainv Bill Gates connected with this enterprise is a travesty. The issues that Live 8 is designed to address is the unfair distribution of wealth, where a few rich nations exploit the poorer ones (from whence comes a lot of their wealth). As a convicted Monopolist (under both US and European laws), and a man with a personal fortune of tens of billions of dollars, Gates is the epitome of greed and exploitation, the personal embodiment of all the things Live 8 is supposed to be against. Talk about making a pact with the devil. And people think he is generous because he gives billions away? How difficult is that, when you have so much, and got it by unethical means. Easy come easy go. So the burglar retuned some of the stuff he nicked – big deal.

  6. Are there others out there who cannot get past the fact that this is a group of very rich people, concerned about the unfair distribution of wealth, who are appealing to poor people (relatively in the case of those from the G8 nations) to raise money to help redistribute the wealth? I may not be that smart, but I thought that would mean taking from the rich to give to the poor, not from the poor to the poor. But then maybe I paid to much attention to the legend of Robin Hood when I was young. Why does not Bob Geldof confine his attempts to raise money to the people who have lots of it. Instead of getting these walth pop stars to play the Live8 concerts, why not just get them to cough up the dough, and leave us untalented and underpriveleged people alone. We have little enough money as it is.

  7. The issues surrounding the poverty of these African countries are moral and ethical issues. Is it ethical for the rich countries to disadvantage trade through import tariffs, etc. There is also the issue of the ethics (or lack of) of the corrupt leaders of many of these countries.

    However, the people running and working for Live8 themselves face real ethical issues themselves regarding money and the unfair distribution of wealth. Most successful people in the entertainment industry are paid obscene sums of money for a relatively small amount of work. A successful band can earn many millions from spending just a few months of work in a recording studio. Whichever way you look at this it is not ethical or moral. Is a person who strums a guitar worth so much more than someone who builds a house or fixes a car?

    A person who is really interested in righting wrongs should look without bias at all aspects of immorality, not just those that are offshore.

    Perhaps rock stars could write into their contracts that once a certain reasonable sum of money has been earned from that few months if work in the studio, that any excess money is donated to charities, or paid back to customers by reducing the price of the CD’s.

  8. Ummm…guys. It’s a concert. It’s designed to communicate awareness of an issue to people usually less than .2% involved in these issues. It is an organization run be people. It has its limitations. If you’re expecting anything equivalent to the Second Coming to come from this you’re beyond assistance.

  9. True, it’s just a concert. But when the promoters of a high-profile event like this use it as a platform to demand that the G8 nations do something irresponsible with enormous amounts of money, I have a problem with it.

    The $40 billion in debts that they are wanting to have forgiven was for the most part loaned with very generous terms as humanitarian aid, but was squandered through bureaucratic bungling and outright fraud; and now they don’t want to pay it back.

    Forgiving debts like that will only serve to make the same thing happen all over again. It’s something that is not going to be fixed by throwing more money at it.

  10. Dave has a point. It’s a little pointless to forgive debts to countries with leaders like Saddam Hussein, who spent billions on palaces and his lifestyle while his people suffered.

    Yes, yes — I know the economy in Iraq tanked due to U.N.-imposed sanctions, but the simple fact is that there are an enourmous amount of leaders in the third world who hoard money while their populations starve.

    But what do you do? How can you provide aid and regulate how it’s spent without moving in? If you do that, then you’re an imperialist. If you even try to make sure the country elects a more qualified leader who isn’t going to blow the entire aid paycheck, then you’re trying “install a puppet government.” It’s a no-win situation.

    I guess, in the end, you may as well forgive the debt because it’s never going to be paid back anyway. Just do with with lots and lots of strings attached.

    But is forgiving debt the key that’s going to make everything all better in these countries? No. They’re fundamentally and forever screwed until they get better leaders, and — ultimately — better forms of government that make their leaders accountable to the people they lead.

  11. Its just a concert you say – very true. But the concert was designed, as you rightly said, to highlight an ethical issue, and it was ethics I was talking about, not music. Ethics are ethics – they are not relative but absolute. And hipocrisy is a vile thing wherever it crops up. Especially so on the lips of people professing to be supporting an ethical issue. If they want to avoid being criticised for hypocrisy and deception, then cut out the ethics and just play the music. That I like.

  12. Ok. Concert and platform. But 99.8% of those coming really wanted to hear Bono sing, not speak.

    To respond to the logistics of aid issue, grass-roots organizations are much better at getting aid to the people who need it than large relief efforts at the governmental level. At that level it is better to use international tools like sanctions, diplomacy, and financial partnerships to develop infrastructure with foreign oversight (dam building, solar farms, etc.).

    Check out Franklin Graham’s organization. Yeah, their missionaries, but they also feed, clothe and provide medical treatment and education and they have built the tools to get the $10 you and I can afford to buy the water pumps someone else can’t. Oh, and Bono works with them, too.

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