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

08.03.10

Bill Gates’ Forced Parenthood of Africa Receives Press Backlash

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Patents at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lifeless trees on parched land

Summary: The role of the Gates Foundation in Africa is explored more properly by investigative journalists who explain why such intervention from the West is usually self serving

THIS is today’s last post about the Gates Foundation. It is also the longest.

Before we get started, everyone is encouraged to read the good new article from The Guardian:

Inside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

[...]

The way Gates and his elite staff have chosen to try to do so is by running their charity as a kind of business. Edwards calls this approach – increasingly popular at private foundations funded by business-people – philanthrocapitalism; others call it “venture philanthropy”. Steiner explains: “Sitting here in Seattle, we’re not going to solve Africa’s problems. Africans are going to solve Africa’s problems. We’ve got to find the Africans.” Often, this means the foundation mounting competitions for grant applications, and giving money to the winners, which usually means the most “pioneering” (Steiner’s word) and those that promise to fulfil a need not met by other charities.

Foundation staff describe this process, and indeed all their work, in business-school language: achieving “leverage”, building the foundation “brand”, serving “markets” and “customers”. Or they use the language of management consultancy and computing: “Bill is about numbers,” says Steiner. “He wants to see the data. He values data more than ideology.”

Gates’ influence in Africa is a subject we dissected in posts that include:

Gates Keepers commends the author for what it names “best Gates Foundation coverage of the year”:

Who says long form journalism is dead? In this brilliant article that would never be published by an American newspaper, the British political journalist Andy Beckett takes on the Gates Foundation. This article is a frontrunner for Gates Keepers’ best Foundation coverage of the year award.

What’s more, the report from The Guardian has inspired others to comment in Ratio Magazine. To quote some portions from “Less Charity, Mr Microsoft”:

He is the ultimate geek done good: Bill Gates. Chairman of Microsoft, Master of the Universe, one of the richest men in the world, with a personal wealth of an estimated USD60bn.

[...]

And then, I guess, Bill got bored. Or maybe just wanted to try out world domination another way – by being nice. In 2006, he announced that he would only work part-time at Microsoft, and full time at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. By 2007, he and his wife had given an estimated USD27bn to charity. Like his Microsoft success, Bill Gates’ charitable activities are XXXL, too. By the end of last year, the charity had an endowment of USD33.5bn, and Warren Buffet as a trustee together with Bill and Melinda Gates. The foundation’s status as a charitable organisation requires it to donate at least 5% of its assets every year, i.e. at least around USD1.5n. Just to put this in perspective: The USD800m that the foundation spends under its health programme are roughly equivalent to the entire budget of the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO).

So, given that there’s much poverty, surely bigger is better? The Guardian recently published an interesting analysis titled ‘Inside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’ and this was one of the questions that the author pursued. The foundation has quickly become ubiquitous, thanks to both its generous finances and its star power: ‘’Every conference I go to, they’re there. Every study that comes out, they’re part of. They have the ear of any [national] leadership they want to speak to. Politicians attach themselves to Gates to get PR. Everyone loves to have a meeting with Gates. No institution would refuse,” the author cites a charity professional.

[...]

I was mulling this ‘venture philanthropy’ with the niggling feeling that I had overlooked something. Eventually, I realized what it was: That Bill Gates, a man clearly so talented in doing business, in earning money, decides that The Poor must be helped through charity.

[...]

If the Gates Foundation prides itself on doing things a different way, it still does not challenge the aid industry as such: it gives grants to intermediary foundation, many of whom represent the business-as-usual of the aid industry and the illusion of the fixability of single issues. And charity is limited, as the article points out: ‘For all the charity’s resources and connections, for all the attendant risks of over-confidence and over-mightiness, on the ground in Africa or Asia the foundation’s immense-sounding grants are a miniscule fraction of what is required to create a fairer world.’ In contrast, a successful business has no such limit. Microsoft is everywhere. It pays taxes for governments to fund their own healthcare system. Employs people so that they can buy their own mediation. Really now, Bill – I had expected more!

Despite this bad publicity for the Gates Foundation, there are actually some fans of these practices. This one comes philanthrocapitalism.net, maybe part of the PR effort. Speaking of PR, check out this new piece titled “Lintas Media bags media duties of Bill Gates-funded Urban Health Initiative”

Media duties?

It this where the money goes? Controlling messages that the public receives? We covered this questionable pattern of spendings before.

Here is another new example of public speaking from the Gates Foundation, this time at the Chamber. This whole foundation thing has grown into some kind of a movement.

The “Gates Foundation Sells Off Almost All HealthCare Investments” according to one source and Gates Keepers responds with: “A year ago Patty Stonesifer said Gates Foundation investments had no social impact. Now with Tachi in trouble the Foundation is selling off its pharma investments. Huh?” For background about Tachi Yamada, see the previous post about shareholder conflicts.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private philanthropy fund, sold off almost all of its pharmaceutical, biotechnology and health-care investments in the quarter ended June 30, according to a regulatory filing published Friday.

The Seattle-based charity endowment, set up by Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates and his wife, sold its total holding of 2.5 million shares in health-care giant Johnson & Johnson in the quarter, according to the filing.

This is significant. “The Gates Foundation Bails,” says another headline.

According to this piece, the Gates Foundation unloaded basically all of its pharma and biotech stock holdings during the second quarter. Merck/Schering-Plough, J&J, Lilly, through Vertex and all the way to InterMune, Allos, and Auxilium – they held millions of shares of these, and it’s all gone.

Was the public backlash playing a role here? That the Gates Foundation was investing (for profit) in the very same interests Gates was promoting through politicians? Let’s turn our attention to politics for a moment. We are well aware of financial-based political influence games that are played by Gates; the Boston press had this to publish last month: “On national standards, the Gates Foundation gets what it pays for”

Cue the surrogates. First, they got a memorandum from Mike Cohen actively supporting the national standards. Two problems with the source: (1) Gates gives Achieve millions of dollars, so anything Achieve says on the topic should come with a truckload of salt, and (2) Achieve’s Board now includes none other than Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

The Commish and the Secretary are also leaning on the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE). I like MBAE (and especially admire Linda Noonan, their executive director). In theory, if MBAE does a comparison of MA’s to the national standards on their own, that’s great. Welcome to the debate. But the MBAE analysis is directly funded by the Gates Foundation and the analysis is to be done by West Ed in San Francisco (and Woburn). Yup, Gates funds West Ed, too. An “objective,” “independent” analysis? Then the history of MBAE itself brings conflicts of interest. MBAE was co-founded by Secretary Reville; their former Board chair is Maura Banta, currently chair of the state’s Board of Ed (and someone who actively supported the inclusion of softer “how-to-skills” in our standards and assessments and now the adoption of weaker national standards). This is akin to being judge and jury in its own case.

I have no problem with Gates funding whatever they want. But the money merry-go-round gets dizzying (see here) when you think about the conflicts. No amount of salt is going to make this taste like cotton candy.

Last month Gates met the British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and got access to other parliamentarians, essentially lobbying other British politicians. Here is another specific example:

IBBLE VALLEY MP Nigel Evans and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons welcomed chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates.

It is dangerous when any individual is deciding for the world without ever being elected (and still with personal agendas and investments). The Taipei Times is another sceptic:

Last May, Gates, Soros, Warren Buffett and David Rockefeller Jr, Rockefeller’s great-grandson, held a long private meeting in New York, not far from the UN, along with an assortment of media potentates such as Ted Turner, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Bloomberg. It was reported that Gates had been involved in summoning them all together and that the “Good Club,” as it supposedly called itself, discussed the world’s economic, environmental and health problems, the dangers of over-population and how rich people could better help poor people.

The Sunday Times quoted an unnamed participant at the meeting, who said that without anything “as crude as a vote” the gathering had agreed that the world’s problems “need big-brain answers … independent of government.”

Gates is typically finding politicians to advance his goals. Nigeria's Jonathan is a good example from this year (there are still new articles coming out of there for PR purposes, seemingly placements with emotional, touching photos). We have already given people like Colin Powell as examples and quite recently — as recently as a month back — we gave Harper as another example (it is still in the news). Going further back there are many other famous/powerful public figures whom Gates uses to endorse his agenda. One of them is Clinton. Bill and Blll (Clinton) are still collaborating on a push originally initiated by Gates. There was a lot of coverage about it last month. When not focusing on the wedding of Chelsea Clinton, the press wrote extensively about this tag-team act [1, 2, 3, 4].

Bill Clinton and Bill Gates urged AIDS activists on Monday to squeeze value out of every cent of funds to fight HIV, saying they could not expect donors to give more in hard times unless it was carefully spent.

Francoise Barré-Sinoussi, who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2008 (for contribution in discovering HIV), has a criticism of the Gates Foundation. Francoise Barré-Sinoussi said in last month’s interview:

Very often their programme is too much directed by the Gates foundation and they don’t consider enough the local situation.

Basically, whenever Gates wants something done, then he charms someone in politics too. Then he ensures that only his own venture gets to decide what routes to explore.

Here is more new criticism:

Not only do we have to listen to Bill Gates, of all people, give a speech at the start of the International AIDS Conference, but we have to put up with speech previews. Double coverage. The Gates Foundation PR people are milking this one for all it is worth.

So are the Gates Foundation grants in HIV prevention efficient? Don’t expect to hear from Bill on this one. There is almost nothing about prevention in this preview.

This takes the heat off Tachi.

There is nothing wrong with fighting AIDS, but the problem is that Gates monopolises research in this area and has investments in the companies which profit from AIDS. It’s no coincidence that even AIDS organisation managers are willing to go on the record criticising Gates, whose methods in fighting AIDS now include adult circumcision [1, 2], adding to criticisms over abortion, which is another controversial subject.

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”

AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)

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. 'Reform' at the EPO Means Destroying the Staff Union, Crushing Patent Examiners, and Imposing on Europe a System It Does Not Want (UPC)

    The chaotic transition at the EPO -- a transition from something which has been workable to something intolerable -- and the role of the Unitary Patent (UPC), which lurks in the shadows and threatens to harm the whole of Europe



  2. Shakeup Against Patent Parasites in the US and More Rumours/Speculations About USPTO Director Michelle Lee After Trump's Inauguration

    The US patent system is becoming ever more hostile towards patent trolls, owing in part to reforms introduced under Michelle Lee's tenure, but people are still not certain that she will maintain her job and continue to fix the system



  3. EPO Abuses Now Make the Netherlands Look Like a Facilitator of Human/Labour Rights Abuses

    Rather than crack down on human rights abuses, the Dutch government now sends out the signal that it's an island for those wish to violate human rights whilst enjoying immunity (EPO)



  4. Links 20/1/2017: Docker 1.13, Linux 4.4.44 LTS

    Links for the day



  5. “Federal Circuit Had Affirmed on Every Issue in 77.4% of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Appeals it Had Seen” in 2016

    The Federal Circuit (CAFC) and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continue to squash a lot of patents on software, in contrast to that fake news from patent maximalists



  6. Kudelski Group Not Only Acts Like a Patent Troll But Also Run by Intellectual Ventures Person; Mobile Market in Dire State of Patent Armageddon

    The patent thicket which pervades everything that is used by billions of people, mobile technology in particular, can be traced back to a lot of non-practicing parasites (or patent trolls)



  7. Watchtroll and His Swamp Still Blame Google (Where Michelle Lee Came From) for Improving and Gradually Fixing Aspects of the US Patent System

    Shooting the messengers (even wrongly associating yours truly with Google) in an effort to undermine patent reform when it is so desperately needed due to serious injustices



  8. In an Age of Necessary Patent Reform and Permanent Uncertainty for Software Patents the Patent Microcosm Looks for Workarounds and Spin

    Commentary on the status quo in the Michelle Lee era and some examples of bias from the patent microcosm, as well as news regarding the NFL getting sued by the Kudelski Group



  9. Michelle Lee, USPTO Director, Should Recognise That the Patent Microcosm is Her Enemy Which Hates Her

    The latest outburst from the patent microcosm, which has a temper issue and notorious disdain for judges it does not agree with, is more of what we have come to expect



  10. Battistelli is an Autocrat Above the Law and It's OK, Holland's High Council Says

    Battistelli's autocratic tendencies will not be challenged by Dutch authorities, in spite of sheer condemnation from many groups all across Europe and the entire world



  11. Beware Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The UPC is dead, deadlocked, stuck, in a limbo and so on; those who claim otherwise are merely lobbying (in disguise of "analysis" or "news")



  12. Shame on MapR for Pursuing Software Patents While Pretending to Stand for Free/Open Source Software

    The patents gold rush sees another company joining the 'fun', albeit this company should campaign hard against software patents rather than pursue any



  13. Doomsday Scenario in the Back Mirror as Michelle Lee Keeps Her Job (and Much-Needed Patent Reform) at the USPTO

    The future of patent reform, i.e. tackling overpatenting and patent trolls, looks somewhat more promising with today's confirmation of Lee's 'extended tenure' at the Office



  14. Links 19/1/2017: PulseAudio 10.0, Linux 4.9 Longterm Kernel

    Links for the day



  15. Corporate (Wall Street) Media Agrees That Brexit Dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The nonstop lies or the fake news about the UPC starting "real soon now" don't quite pass a reality check or a basic assessment based on fundamental concepts, such as the UPC's facilitation of subordination (to Europe) in the United Kingdom



  16. Farce of an 'Independence' for the Boards of Appeal as Another Ally of Benoît Battistelli Enters as Parasite Inside the 'Overseer'/Host

    The latest cluster of lies from the President of the European Patent Office (EPO) and direct refutation of false claims of independence for the Boards of Appeal, where the former Vice-Presidents can flock, just like the Mini Minion (Minnoye) of Battistelli



  17. Links 18/1/2017: Red Hat's OpenShift 3.4, Mozilla's New Logo/Branding

    Links for the day



  18. Union-Busting Action by Team Battistelli Takes Heavy Toll, Techrights Will Continue to Expose EPO Injustices to the World

    The Staff Union of the European Patent Office, SUEPO, which faced unprecedented and probably illegal (based on local laws) attacks, is being weakened by the worst President ever, whose own management team seems to be collapsing along with the institution he is destroying in just a few years



  19. A Lot More Fake News About the UPC, Trying to Convince People That the UK is Ratifying (It's Not, It Cannot)

    Response to some of the latest misleading (self-serving) whispers about the fate of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is in a deadlock due to Brexit



  20. Rumours Suggest That EPO Management is Aware of Decline in Patent Quality and is Thus Actively Lying About it to the Media/Public

    Whenever Battistelli brags about patent quality he may be consciously and deliberately lying through his teeth if the latest rumours are correct



  21. Links 17/1/2017: GIMP Plans, New Raspberry Pi Product

    Links for the day



  22. Resumption of EPO Propaganda ('Meet the President') Officially Starts Tomorrow

    Yet another one of these foolish 'Meet the President' stunts, scheduled to take place tomorrow morning



  23. Caricature: Battistelli's New Year's Resolution (More EPO Lies)

    The latest cartoon being circulated within the European Patent Office (EPO)



  24. Donald Trump Gives New Hope to Patent Aggressors and Patent Trolls

    Pessimism about the prospects of patent progress or patent reform in an age of staunchly pro-business Conservatives and glorification of protectionism



  25. More Fake News About the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Based on Lobbying Tactics From Bristows UPC and the Preparatory Committee

    Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobbying has gotten so bad that it now infiltrates general media outlets, where people are asked to just blindly assume that the UPC is coming and is inevitable, even though it's clearly in a limbo and is unlikely to see the light of day



  26. EPO Totally Silent for a Month, But Deep Inside There Are Serious Cracks

    The situation at the EPO seems to be pretty grim, even at the top-level management, and the EPO has gone into permanent silence mode



  27. Links 16/1/2017: Linux 4.10 RC4, Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta

    Links for the day



  28. 'Financial Director' Publishes Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    Response to some of the latest UPC propaganda, which strives to misinform Financial Directors so as to enrich the author and his firm



  29. Independent and Untainted Web Sites About Patents Are Still Few and Rare

    Commentary about news sources that we rely on, as well as the known pitfalls or the vested interests deeply ingrained in them



  30. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing

    Significant demise or total catastrophe for the modus operandi (method) of going after companies with a pile of patents and threats of litigation


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