INTERVJU | Wired, vetenskap- och tekniknördarnas hippa tidskrift, är ett forum där Bill Clinton och Bill Gates garanterat möter en välvillig publik.
Så här skriver Steven Levy inledningsvis i en artikel där de två diskuterar alltifrån NSA, HIV, kändisskap och det politiska klimatet i Washington, DC.
As founder of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the former president is a forceful explainer in chief, elucidating what needs to be done to alleviate poverty and treat AIDS. And to the surprise of many who followed Gates as a full-tilt techie devoted to preserving Microsoft’s dominance, he has pursued philanthropy with the same passion he once channeled into software. At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he approaches problem-solving—particularly the scientific arcana of health and agriculture—with an appreciation of scale honed by years of living under Moore’s law.
Men den beundran som lyser igenom kan inte dölja att många av ”Billarnas” svar är ganska banala.
Frågan om hur USA skall möta Kinas ekonomiska framfart visar att briljanta hjärnor inte alltid genererar revolutionerande idéer och svar.
No one in the US wants anything like the political system in China, but sometimes I hear people wistfully compare our situation to one in which a totally empowered engineer like President Xi Jinping can make a huge difference. Meanwhile, by some metrics, the United States is losing ground as a global technology leader. Is the era of American exceptionalism coming to an end?
GATES: Nation-state competition is not zero-sum competition. It was not good for the world for the United States to be so far ahead, for 5 percent of the global population to generate 30 percent of the economic activity and 60 percent of the scientific R&D. The way China runs its economy today is far better than it was, and we’re all better for it. It’s OK for China to invent cancer drugs that cure patients in the United States. We want them to catch up. But as the leader, we want to keep setting a very, very high standard. We don’t want them to catch up because we’re slowing down or, even worse, going into reverse.
CLINTON: I agree. We should never want to hold anybody else back. America needs to stop majoring in the minors. That is, we need to look more at what other countries are now doing better than we are and learn from it instead of being in denial about it. We have laboratories of innovation all over the world: How much do we spend on health care compared to what the two highest-rated systems—Germany and France—spend? What are the Chinese really good at? Answer: aggregating capital and investing in technology and infrastructure. What’s their weakness? They tend to see a big engineering solution for every problem, so in trying to run water from the Yangtze River down to the Yellow River, they may dry them both up. What are the Indians really good at? They’re good at technology and entrepreneurialism, but not good at aggregating capital. Is there a way we can help each do the other? We need to be working on these things together. Nobody’s got an interest in massive drought. If you believe we’re living in an interdependent world, then we should be trying to build a future of shared success and responsibility.
”If you believe we’re living in an interdependent world, then we should be trying to build a future of shared success and responsibility.”
Det skulle kunna ha sagts av vilken liberal som helst med basala kunskaper om internationell politik.
Tidskriftsomslaget: Wired (amerikanska utgåvan), december 2013.