The benefits of the IT revolution were not confined to America’s shores either. From computer manufacturing in Taiwan and the Philippines, to the growth of skilled IT jobs in India, the IT revolution has created unprecedented opportunities and economic development across the developing world. These opportunities have lifted millions of people out of poverty and arguably have done more for economic development than the World Bank or other development NGO’s combined, whose sole raison d’être is to create the types of economic opportunities that Microsoft et al created.
Microsoft the company recognizes the important role the IT sector in general, and Microsoft in particular, plays in society. In October 2007, Microsoft released a study that documented its global economic impact. The findings are astounding. The “Microsoft Ecosystem” of companies employs 42 percent of the global IT workforce of 35.4 million people. These companies will earn more than $400 billion and invest close to $100 billion in local economies. Governments benefit too. The study estimates that employees will pay $500 billion in taxes in 2007. The study also expects these contributions to continue in the future. Globally the IT sector is expected to add 7.1 million jobs in the next 4 years, with the most jobs being created in China and the United States. Putting the expected IT job growth into perspective, the expected IT job growth is three times the expected overall global job growth.
These real tangible benefits exemplify the creativity that is the core of capitalism. Like George Bailey, the world would certainly be a worse place if not for the efforts of Microsoft and Bill Gates. Before Bill decides to deride the ability of capitalism to help the world again, perhaps he should review his own past achievements and reflect on how much better off we all are (rich and poor) because of Bill Gates.