EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.03.10

Role of the Gates Foundation Comes Under Pressure Due to Shareholder Conflicts

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Businessman holding a crystal globe

Summary: Large foundations and the Gates Foundation in particular meet scrutiny as their grip on the world is better realised by today’s press and the impact is explained

THE Gates Foundation continues its endeavours alongside similar rich people’s foundations, whose function is to improve someone’s image and sometimes make a profit at the same time. According to this new press release, there is passing of money from Gates to Rockefeller (they already collaborate on some projects in Africa) as though Rockefeller doesn’t have enough funds. This has proven to be baffling to many:

Not that helping “emerging donors” develop strategies for “effective giving” is an unworthy goal — indeed, it is likely the most efficient way to impart best practices in lean administrative costs and minimal philanthropic waste. At a time of severe economic anxiety, however, one does wonder precisely why $3.5 million is the magic figure here. Could the same objective be met with $2.5 million? Or $1.5 million? What, exactly, is this money paying for?

Unfortunately for the Gates Foundation, more and more writers realise what it’s up to. Here is what someone wrote in India last month, insinuating that Gates’ investments had strings attached to them. It’s a code for control and we will show some more examples of this later today.

Last week, an article on Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation becoming one of the biggest donors for the World Health Organisation (WHO) had many exclaiming how wonderful a man Gates is to give away so much money. Indeed, Gates must be the biggest philanthropist of all times. Yet, there in unease in the health sector across the world about one person or his foundation setting the global agenda on health.

[...]

The Global Health Watch Report-2 (GHW2) published in October 2008 points out that the Gates Foundation is governed by the Gates family with no board of trustees; nor any formal parliamentary or legislative scrutiny. “There is no answerability to the governments of low-income countries, nor to the WHO. Little more than the court of public opinion exists to hold it accountable,” says the report.This lack of accountability and transparency is cited as a major problem by health experts.

The ties between the Gates Foundation and pharmaceutical industry has also come under scrutiny as Gates funded organisation like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) has many pharmaceutical companies, especially those from the vaccine industry, as its members. GAVI has pushed many expensive vaccines into national immunization programmes in developing countries. This according to GHW2 has led “health activists to question if the Foundation is converting global health problems into business opportunities” for the pharma industry.

The Gates’ Foundation’s position on intellectual property (IP) rights is also a cause for concern. After all, Microsoft, along with other corporations, is pushing to strengthen IP rights and patent laws even further. Stronger IP rights will affect developing countries’ right to allow generic companies to manufacture essential medicines at affordable prices. Patents and monopolies only make medicines more expensive and inaccessible to majority of the people.

[...]

The emergence of cash rich players including World Bank, the Gates Foundation and GAVI, along with the shift to the public-private partnership mode in health, has left the WHO often following an agenda, rather than setting it.

It is a good article overall, as it makes clearer some of the fundamental dangers with this phenomenon in general (but also this one foundation specifically).

Indians have already realised that Gates has GMO-oriented investments, which then lead him to promoting GMO in India. The problem with it is dependence in particular. India should not have to buy its seeds from abroad or pay a tax to companies like Monsanto each time some food is required. That’s pretty much what Gates has been advancing though. And now we learn that Gates awards $1.6M for dwarf wheat research and there is greater control of agricultural science using funds as a stick/carrot approach:

Scientists on cutting edge

[...]

The event was hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Here come the Rockefellers again, the context being agriculture. From The Independent:

“There is some vital work being done by the Gates Foundation, by the Rockefellers, the State Department,” he says candidly. “But I see a disconnect ? they all talk about yield as if farmers in Africa have a choice: to sow particular types of seed, to get to market. But these are the poorest, most disenfranchised farmers in the world. They often have a small plot of dust and that’s it.

This is an area that we explored before. Basically, the Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation both advance GMO in Africa. Like in India, the local population is often resentful about it, at least those who understand the ramifications. Many people simply distrust Gates, even though his foundation claims to be charitable and well-meaning, especially when it comes to science. Gates has no academic science background and he tends to be guided/exploited by people with agenda.

“But since I worked on the IBM PC BASIC and the Model 100, I haven’t had a chance to actually create a program myself.”

Bill Gates

Speaking of agenda, as the health chief the Gates Foundation appointed a bullying manager from the pharmaceutical cartel. His surname is Yamada and he issued threats against those who stood in his way. Sadly, at least two publications were giving him a platform to promote his agenda last month [1, 2]. As we demonstrated many times before, the pharmaceutical cartel seems to be using the Gates Foundation as a host from which to promote its products. In turn, the Gates Foundation invests money in the pharmaceutical cartel.

The Atlantic raises the issue of foundations being investors (which are also exempted from tax):

What Happens When Charities Become Major Shareholders?

[...]

Large foundations generally have significant investment portfolios. Often, they’re most interested in bonds and high-dividend stocks, so that they can use the income they generate for their contributions to the poor. Of course, the opportunity cost of holding onto all that wealth is having less of your assets to distribute to the needy more immediately. But there’s certainly something to be said for the stability perpetual income provides.

[...]

This is a difficult internal conflict that is likely becoming increasingly common, as the non-profit industry grows and the rich more commonly provide stock gifts to charities. Indeed, Buffett alone has promised to eventually give 85% of his Berkshire Hathaway holdings to charities. The easiest solution to avoid the conflict might be to sell all stock and rely on fixed income only, but that isn’t necessarily in the firm’s best interest either, as stocks often outperform debt. So they will inevitably remain shareholders. In that role, how should non-profits behave?

Here is another new article which is borderline criticism (a rarity from philanthropy.com):

Perhaps the most troubling issues posed by the Gates-Buffett crusade is its potential to intensify the inequities that exist both in the nonprofit world and in the rest of society.

Foundations, corporations, and other forms of institutional philanthropy tend to favor the nation’s most-privileged citizens and neglect the neediest people and organizations. An outsize share of the money from those institutions goes to established colleges, hospitals, and arts and cultural organizations. Only a small amount finds its way to organizations that serve vulnerable children, low-income people, minorities, women, the disabled, and other disadvantaged constituencies. A tiny portion of philanthropic money is channeled to groups that seek to influence public policies.

Very wealthy individuals have an even more unbalanced record when it comes to philanthropy.

[...]

The infusion of additional great sums of money by very wealthy individuals is likely to increase societal inequities, the gap between large and small nonprofit organizations, and the disparity between privileged and disadvantaged citizens.

In reality, such foundations tend to take away function from governments that are elected by the people for the people. This means that few rich families can become agenda setters. Those who value their democracy need to resist it.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 20/4/2014: EFF FOSS, Easter Drone Strikes, Copyright Industry Fear of Google

    Links for the day



  2. Links 19/4/2014: Slow Easter News Day

    Links for the day



  3. Links 18/4/2014: New KDE, Kubuntu, and More

    Links for the day



  4. Some Perspective on Heartbleed®

    Our views on the whole Heartbleed® bonanza, which seems like partly a PR stunt (for multiple stakeholders)



  5. Microsoft is Leaving Windows -- Including Vista 8.1 -- Vulnerable to Non-Government Crackers, Not Only to NSA

    Microsoft makes it ever more evident that securing users of Windows is not at all a priority, and perhaps not even a desire



  6. Links 17/4/2014: Android RDP, New Ubuntu, RHEL 7 Milestone

    Links for the day



  7. Racing to 1984: Mass Surveillance, Cracking, 'Targeted' Assassinations, and Illegal Torture

    Links for the day



  8. More Microsoft Subsidies to Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures

    Microsoft hands money to Bill Gates' close friend who is the world's largest patent troll



  9. Aiding Microsoft Under the Disguise of 'Pro-FOSS'

    Not everything which is FOSS necessary becomes, by virtue of existence, a positive contribution, as we are constantly reminded by projects that help proprietary software and/or restrictions get a strong grip on FOSS



  10. Links 16/4/2014: Red Hat PR, Ubuntu LTS Imminent

    Links for the day



  11. Links 15/4/2014: Lots of PCLinuxOS Releases, Ukraine Updates

    Links for the day



  12. Apple and Microsoft Actively Lobbying Against Patent Reform in the US

    Apple and Microsoft are reportedly intervening/interfering with US law in order to ensure that the law is Free/libre software-hostile



  13. Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

    A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that's wrong with today's model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes



  14. Public Institutions Must Dump PRISM-Associated Software

    Another reminder that taxpayers-subsidised services should refuse, as a matter of principle, to pay anything for -- let alone deploy -- proprietary software with back doors



  15. GNU/Linux News: The Opportunities Amid XP EOL

    Links for the day



  16. Microsoft Gets Its Money's Worth From Xamarin: PlayStation 4 Now Polluted by Microsoft

    The Trojan horse of Microsoft, Xamarin, is pushing .NET into Microsoft's console competitor



  17. After Brendan Eich Comes Chris Beard

    Having removed Brendan Eich using bullying and blackmail tactics, his foes inside Mozilla achieved too little as we have yet another man (coming from inside Mozilla) acting as CEO



  18. Healthcare News: Free Software in Health, Humanitarian Causes

    Links for the day



  19. Links 14/4/2014: MakuluLinux, Many Games, More Privacy News and Pulitzer Prize for NSA Revelations

    Links for the day



  20. TechBytes Episode 87: Catching up With Surveillance (NSA, GCHQ et al.)

    The first audio episode in a very long time covers some of the latest happenings when it comes to privacy and, contrariwise, mass surveillance



  21. Server News: KVM, ElasticHosts, Other GNU/Linux Items, and Open Network Linux

    Links for the day



  22. Hardware News: Freedom, Modding, Hackability on the Rise

    Links for the day



  23. Distributions News: GNU/Linux Distros

    Links for the day



  24. GNOME News: Financial Issues, Mutter-Wayland, West Coast Summit, Community Participation

    Links for the day



  25. KDE News: Kubuntu at the Centre Again KDE Applications Updated

    Links for the day



  26. Techrights Rising

    Effective immediately, Techrights will do what it takes to bring back old volume and pace of publishing



  27. Links: Surveillance, Intervention, Torture and Drones

    Links for the day



  28. Mobile Linux Not Just Android: Jolla, WebOS, and Firefox OS News

    Links for the day



  29. Google's Linux Revolution: New Gains for Android, Chrome OS (GNU/Linux)

    Links for the day



  30. Free/Libre Databases News: MongoDB, NoSQL, and MySQL Branches/Forks

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts