One could call it a tale of billionaires. Bill Gates was at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to talk up the virtues of development aid, and to convince rich countries to keep funding health initiatives. Listening to the Microsoft founder speaking, in almost religious terms, about how all lives are equally valuable was inspiring, as was how this drives the work of the foundation he runs with his wife, Melinda. That is especially so in an age in which the world is seemingly becoming more insular and the superpowers are retreating from the world stage. Though much of the pitch was, considering the audience, framed in language that emphasised the business case of improving healthcare systems in far-flung places, he also spoke in idealistic terms about saving children and took on the scepticism from what he called, almost dismissively, the "anti-aid people". “The global public good of new inventions like measles vaccines (and) polio vaccines, are so beneficial because the cultural...

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