Fareed speaks with Bill Gates about innovation – and how we underestimate progress. For the full interview watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
You think that because of technology and that kind of thing, Americans today have many more opportunities in some sense than they've had before?
That's right. If you just take median income and say, “Oh, that means that we haven't had this big improvement,” that really understates what's happened. That is, you wouldn't want to go back in time because the way they do GDP deflators, a lot of this type of innovation doesn't get into that.
I mean, would you rather be, you know, a gay man 20 years ago, 50 years ago? In Africa…GDP didn't go up, but lifespan has almost doubled. Literacy went from 20 percent to 60 percent.
And so we don't capture all the wonderful things…I can use Wikipedia for free. I can sit there with my son and explore new things. And so innovation has been underestimated today more than any time in history.
I mean, we had the Internet bubble, where it was actually briefly overestimated. That was kind of uncomfortable, I think. But it's strange to be in such a funk because people look at political roadblocks and some of them, the way these numbers measure things, they aren’t getting a sense of the progress in the rich world and in the developing world.