IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
BILL AND MELINDA GATES, GateNotes
We were asked that question recently by some high school students in Kentucky.
The superpower question was our favorite.
To fly. To be invisible. To travel through time. All good options.
Trying to keep up with our foundation work and our three children’s schedules, we gave responses that will be immediately familiar to other parents.
When we sat down to write this year’s letter, those answers stuck with us. Sure, everyone wants more time and energy. But they mean one thing in rich countries and something else entirely when looked at through the eyes of the world’s poorest families.
Poverty is not just about a lack of money. It’s about the absence of the resources the poor need to realize their potential. Two critical ones are time and energy.
More than one billion people today live without access to energy. No electricity to light and heat their homes, power hospitals and factories, and improve their lives in thousands of ways.
Likewise, a lack of time creates obstacles too. It’s not simply the feeling of not having enough hours in the day. It’s the crippling effect of having to perform the backbreaking work that needs to get done when there’s no electricity.
More time. More energy. As superpowers go, they may not be as exciting as Superman’s ability to defy gravity. But if the world can put more of both into the hands of the poorest, we believe it will allow millions of dreams to take flight.