Summary: Another voice (among many) raises an issue with the Gates Foundation’s fake numbers
EARLIER this year we showed how Bill Gates uses "malaria" to attack GNU/Linux adoptions. The short story is that Bill Gates has ambitions of making money out of Africa [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], but those who are not familiar with the lesser-known deeds of the Gates Foundation will easily fall for these illusions; as for informed critics, they make rational arguments and produce evidence, but impatient politicians may find such allegations shocking and hard to comprehend (a popular defense is to say critics are “just jealous”). By pretending to help, Gates opens the door to political favours, with numerous proven examples. It’s tit-for-tat.
Well, according to Aid Watch, the Gates Foundation should once again be accused of making up numbers to exaggerate its role and present deceptive plans. From the rather detailed new analysis:
Actually, we have also previously argued that aid has been more successful in health than in other areas. However, one petty and parochial concern we had about the progress reports is that Bill and Melinda Gates continue to make a case for malaria success stories based on bad or fake data that we have criticized on this blog already twice. The Gateses were aware of our blog because they responded to it at the Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Yet they continue to use the WHO 2008 World Malaria Report as their main source for data on malaria prevalence and deaths from malaria in Africa. As we pointed out in the earlier post, the report establishes such low standards for data reliability that some of the numbers hardly seem worth quoting. From the WHO report: “reliable data on malaria are scarce. In these countries estimates were developed based on local climate conditions, which correlate with malaria risk, and the average rate at which people become ill with the disease in the area.” Where convincing estimates from real reported cases of malaria could not be made, figures were extrapolated “from an empirical relationship between measures of malaria transmission risk and case incidence.”
Of course, we HATE this political economy theory when it’s applied to US. We are VERY unhappy when people conclude that because we are skeptical about malaria data quality (and thus whether they show progress), therefore we really don’t care about how many Africans are dying from malaria and wish that all government money went to subsidize fine dining in New York. And, the Gateses would probably not be fond of this political economy explanation of their actions and beliefs either. Both of us would prefer the alternative “academic” theory of belief formation, in which it is all based on evidence and data, not political interests.
The above may suitably be described as “Numbers of Mass Distraction,” as the following new blog post (from earlier today) called the shameless tactics of the MPAA/RIAA/BPI/other front groups.
It’s not just about digital sales either. The Beatles are reported to have sold 2.25 million albums in two weeks recently. Again, data with some backing.
I like numbers. But not when they’re Numbers of Mass Distraction (NMD). Not when 136 people can become 7 million people.
Why should I care what numbers are bandied about in the press? Why should I care when someone says “Only 1 in 20 downloads in the UK is legal” or words to that effect?
Yesterday we showed another good example where Bill Gates and his colleagues deceived the gullible using warped numbers. Maybe this practice runs deep in the veins by now. █