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Some readers might remember that Bill Gates Sr., along with Warren Buffett and other wealthy men, spoke out against the killing of the estate tax during the first Bush Adminsitration. He now has a new book out (Showing Up for Life). At a book launch this week, he said something like: People who get rich, like his son, should remember they are not just smart and hard-working. They are lucky -- for example to be born in the USA, to be the beneficiaries of society’s prior investments in infrastructure, other educated people with whom to collaborate, good government, and so on. In an interdependent world, the lucky have an obligation to help the unlucky (after all, we’re all in this boat together). If you get the book, read the foreword -- by Bill Gates Jr., and take a look at the story of how a hole in the fence led a boy (Pablo Neruda not the Gateses) from poverty to poetry.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.