Wednesday, 18 December 2019

their mothers and their fathers had no power

their mothers and their fathers had no power in the marketand no voice in the 

system.But you and I have both.We can make market forces work better for the

poor if we can develop a more creativecapitalism – if we can stretch the reach

of market forces so that more people can makea profit, or at least make a

living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities.We also can

press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that

betterreflect the values of the people who pay the taxes.If we can find

approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profitsfor

business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to

reduceinequity in the world.This task is open-ended.It can never be

finished.But a conscious effort to answer this challenge will change the

world.I am optimistic that we can do this, but I talk to skeptics who claim

there is no hope.They say: “Inequity has been with us since the beginning, and

will be with us till theend – because people just … don’t … care.”I completely

disagree.I believe we have more caring than we know what to do with.All of us

here in this Yard, at one time or another, have seen human tragedies that

brokeour hearts, and yet we did nothing – not because we didn’t care, but

because we didn’tknow what to do.If we had known how to help, we would have

acted.The barrier to change is not too little caring; it is too much

complexity.To turn caring into action, we need to see a problem, see a

solution, and see the impact.But complexity blocks all three steps.Even with

the advent of the Internet and 24-hour news, it is still a complex enterprise

toget people to truly see the problems.When an airplane crashes, officials

immediately call a press conference.They promise to investigate, determine the

cause, and prevent similar crashes in thefuture.But if the officials were

brutally honest, they would say: “Of all the people in theworld who died today

from preventable causes, one half of one percent of them were on

thisplane.We’re determined to do everything possible to solve the problem that

took the lives ofthe one half of one percent.”The bigger problem is not the

plane crash, but the millions of preventable deaths.We don’t read much about

these deaths.The media covers what’s new – and millions of people dying is

nothing new.So it stays in the background, where it’s easier to ignore.But

even when we do see it or read about it, it’s difficult to keep our eyes on

the problem.It’s hard to look at suffering if the situation is so complex that

we don’t know how tohelp.And so we look away.If we can really see a problem,

which is the first step, we come to the second step: cuttingthrough the

complexity to find a solution.Finding solutions is essential if we want to

make the most of our caring.If we have clear and proven answers anytime an

organization or individual asks “Howcan I help?,” then we can get action – and

we can make sure that none of the caring inthe world is wasted.But complexity

makes it hard to mark a path of action for everyone who cares — and thatmakes

it hard for their caring to matter.Cutting through complexity to find a

solution runs through four predictable stages: determinea goal, find the

highest-leverage approach, discover the ideal technology for that approach,and

in the meantime, make the smartest application of the technology that you

already have — whetherit’s something sophisticated, like a drug, or something

simpler, like a bednet.The AIDS epidemic offers an example.The broad goal, of

course, is to end the disease.The highest-leverage approach is prevention.The

ideal technology would be a vaccine that gives lifetime immunity with a single

dose.So governments, drug companies, and foundations fund vaccine research.But

their work is likely to take more than a decade, so in the meantime, we have

to workwith what we have in hand – and the best prevention approach we have

now is gettingpeople to avoid risky behavior.Pursuing that goal starts the

four-step cycle again.This is the pattern.The crucial thing is to never stop

thinking and working – and never do what we did withmalaria and tuberculosis

in the 20th century – which is to surrender to complexity andquit.The final

step – after seeing the problem and finding an approach – is to measurethe

impact of your work and share your successes and failures so that others learn

from yourefforts.You have to have the statistics, of course.You have to be

able to show that a program is vaccinating millions more children.You have to