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Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation One of the big topics in Davos is the economy. In panel discussions and hallway conversations, people are talking about the long-term effects of the recession. While it's true we will see lingering unemployment and huge government deficits for some time, the big story is much more positive. We can make amazing progress in the years ahead to improve lives around the world. The key is to keep investing in innovation. This makes the difference between a bleak future and a bright one.

During the past two centuries, innovation has more than doubled our life span and given us cheap energy and more food. If we project what the world will be like 10 years from now without continuing innovation in health, energy or food, the picture is dark. Health costs for the rich will keep escalating and the poor will be stuck in the bad situation they are in today. We will have to increase energy prices to reduce consumption. The poor will suffer from the higher cost and the effects of climate change. We will have food shortages because we won't have enough land to feed the world's growing population.

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Author: Bill Gates