According to an article in todays Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates will be delivering a major speech, calling for kinder capitalism. What form that kinder capitalism would take is not entirely clear.
Gates "was emphatic that he's not calling for fundamental change in how capitalism works. " Instead, he would prod businesses to "take their innovative thinkers and think about the most needy." Adam Smith's ideas expressed in "The Wealth of Nations" shouldn't change "one iota."
Yet Gates also thinks that "governments should set policies and disburse funds to create financial incentives to improve the lives of the poor." This policy suggestion would seem to contradict the support for Adam Smith's free markets.
Gates goes on to note that Adam Smith argues in "The theory of Moral Sentiments" that "humans gain pleasure from taking an interest in the fortunes of others."
I hope Bill Gates derives much pleasure from taking an interest in the worlds poor. I also hope he does not lose sight of the fact that capitalism and freedom has done far more to help the poor than government incentives ever will.
Free people from oppressive governments and wealth will follow.