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Bill and Melinda Gates Say Three Key Myths are Holding Back the World's Poor

In their high-profile annual letter, the even higher-profile couple say that too many assume that the problems facing the poor are overwhelming and unsolvable.

Courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates used his high-profile annual letter from his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to attack a few myths that he said are hurting those who live in the developing world.

Specifically, they took on the notions that poor countries are doomed to stay poor, that foreign aid can’t help and that saving lives will lead to global overpopulation.

“By almost any measure, the world is better off now than it has ever been before,” both he and his wife — who have become the world’s best-known philanthropists — said in an excerpted version of the yearly missive that appeared in The Wall Street Journal today. “Extreme poverty has been cut in half over the past 25 years, child mortality is plunging, and many countries that had long relied on foreign aid are now self-sufficient.”

However, the three aforementioned myths are also hurting further progress, said the letter, which will come out in its entirety tonight.

“The fact is, whether you look at the issue as an individual or a government, contributions to promote international health and development offer an astonishing return,” the Gateses said. “We all have the chance to create a world where extreme poverty is the exception rather than the rule.”

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