It is extremely unlikely that Bill Gates will ever have to worry about money again in his life.
The co-founder of Microsoft is practically the poster boy for the super rich, so long has his name been associated with a level of wealth that is so astonishing it is hard to wrap one’s head around the concept. Gates, though, is hardly the archetypal image of the super-rich that so many hold; his charitable efforts have been well documented in recent years, chiefly through his own foundation.
Despite his desire to donate vast quantities of his wealth through his foundation and The Giving Pledge, a startling new report released by Oxfam estimates that Gates could well become the world’s very first trillionaire, an astonishing prediction given his commitment to extending his wealth to those who need it most.
The report, which estimates that the world could have its first trillionaire within 25 years, by which time we could well be colonising Mars if recent reports turn out to be correct, claims that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is hard on the tail of Gates, after he passed the ridiculous milestone of an $80 bn net worth recently.
Despite his eye-watering wealth, though, and perhaps in part due to his charitable exploits, Gates has been musing on how he would survive on just $2 per day, a regrettable reality for the nearly one billion humans living in extreme poverty, writes the Microsoft co-founder in a new blog post.
Gates’ method of survival on such a meagre amount of income is simple, and typically well thought out; he would raise chickens.
Explaining his thinking in the blog post, Gates rationalises his belief that those in poverty are always better off if they have chickens;
If you were living on $2 a day, what would you do to improve your life?
That’s a real question for the nearly 1 billion people living in extreme poverty today. There’s no single right answer, of course, and poverty looks different in different places. But through my work with the foundation, I’ve met many people in poor countries who raise chickens, and I have learned a lot about the ins and outs of owning these birds. (As a city boy from Seattle, I had a lot to learn!) It’s pretty clear to me that just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens.
In fact, if I were in their shoes, that’s what I would do—I would raise chickens.
The reasons behind his thinking? Chickens are not expensive animals to look after, they are a solid business investment and they provide nutrition for a family.
Commenting on Gates’ rationale, Chris Weller, a reporter with Tech Insider crunches the numbers behind the thinking;
Through research and trips to West Africa, Gates has found that after a period of three months, a typical owner of eight to 10 chickens can yield a flock of 40 chicks. With a sale price of $5 per chicken, which Gates notes is typical in West Africa, an owner can earn over $1000 a year. The extreme poverty line, meanwhile, hovers around $700 a year.
It is a typically well-reasoned and solid from one of the finest strategical minds in business and technology; Gates should be commended for putting his extraordinary gifts and considerable wealth towards making the world a better place.