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Creative Capitalism

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In July, Richard Stengel, editor of Time Magazine, interviewed Bill Gates about his theory of Creative Capitalism.  A six-minute video from this interview is available on Time’s website.

Gates passionately believes that technology provides solutions to many of the world’s key problems.  He also believes that life changes due to technology can only occur where people can afford the technology.  In a speech that he delivered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2008, Gates spoke about Creative Capitalism. In that speech, he defined it as “creative capitalism – an approach where governments, businesses, and nonprofits work together to stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or gain recognition, doing work that eases the world’s inequalities.”  Some examples of companies engaging in creative capitalism include:  (1) Microsoft – provides low cost or free technology to those who do not have access; (2) Crucell, a Dutch company that holds the patents on a cholera vaccine in the developed world but shares those rights with drug manufacturers in developing countries so that the drug can be manufactured and delivered at very low costs ($1/dose in Vietnam); (3) Iscar, an Israeli metalworking company, that locates its plants in areas where it can employ minorities such as Israeli Arabs; and (4) other companies such as Converse, Gap, Armani, Dell, and Apple that participate in the RED Campaign started by Bono.

Gates’ remarks to the 2008 graduating class of Harvard include a sobering remark: “Melinda and I read an article about the millions of children who are dying every year in poor countries from diseases that we had long ago made harmless in this country…We asked: ‘How could the world let these children die?’  The answer is simple, and harsh.  The market did not reward saving the lives of these children and the governments did not subsidize it.  So the children died because their mothers and their fathers had no power in the market and no voice in the system.”

Gates has left Microsoft to become Co-Chair of his Foundation.  With the more than $50 billion in assets and the similarly-sized pledge to his foundation by Warren Buffett, I hope that his beliefs and financial clout will help governments and corporations partner in efforts similar to those cited in his recent speeches.

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and as a member of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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