Liberty Planet Weblog

Bill Gates Leveraged Philanthropy: Corporate Profit versus Humanity

Posted on: July 20, 2012

By Dr. Mercola

A recent commentary in Education Week takes a fresh look at the Gates Foundation’s philanthropy. The money it spends on all kinds of projects around the world is no small chunk of change–$26 billion since its inception in 1994 has been donated to help developing countries and the United Nations fund world health goals1.

Unfortunately, some of the chosen projects appear to clash with the Foundation’s underlying goals, such as its partnership with the biotech giant Monsanto. Besides questionable partnerships, the foundation and Gates himself also have personal investments in some of the projects they fund.

Philanthropic Leverage

The featured article discusses “philanthropic leverage,” or “the idea that you can use a little money to access a lot of money,” stating that this is exactly what the Gates Foundation is doing2:

“Gates’ leveraged philanthropy model is a public-private partnership to improve the world, partly through targeted research support but principally through public advocacy and tax-free lobbying to influence government policy. The goal of these policies is often to explicitly support profitability for corporate investors, whose enterprises are seen by the Gates Foundation as advancing human good. However, maximum corporate profit and public good often clash when its projects are implemented. “

I have already gone on record stating Bill Gates might be one of the world’s most destructive do-gooders. He seems completely oblivious of the fundamental flaws in the science behind genetically engineered (GE) foods, for example. GE crops have been shown to be far less nutritious than conventional and organic counterparts, in addition to destroying soil composition (to learn more, see my interview with Dr. Don Huber). How is that alleviating global malnutrition and disease?

Conflicts of Interest Rampant in Gates’ Charitable Work

The featured article also highlights the many obvious conflicts of interest plaguing the Gates Foundation and its founder. As already mentioned, the Gates Foundation has partnered with Monsanto—a company that seeks to replace sustainable agricultural practices with its own patented genetically engineered seeds, which must be re-purchased each planting season.

The global agricultural “charity” work performed by these two is far from charitable; rather the end result will be a monopoly of the food supply and entire nations, as they effectively strip poor nations of their food sovereignty.

Another partner is GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)—the same company that just plead guilty in the largest health fraud case in US history. Through their partnership with the Gates Foundation, GSK “centrally controls enormous world funds for purchase, pricing, and delivery of vaccines for world public health,” the featured article states3.

Both the Foundation and Bill Gates also own stock and profit financially from their partner corporations. For example, in the second quarter of 2010, the Gates Foundation purchased 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock with an estimated worth of $23.1 million—a decision that met with heavy criticism once it leaked out.

Furthermore,

“[T]he Foundation owns a profit-generating portfolio of stocks which would seem to work against the Foundation’s declared missions, such as the Latin American Coca-Cola FEMSA distributorship and five multinational oil giants operating in Nigeria,” the featured article reveals4. “These corporate investments, now moved to a blind trust whose trustees are Bill and Melinda Gates, are collaterally supported by the Foundation’s tax-free lobbying and advocacy activities.”

The “Hidden” Media Influence of the Gates Foundation

The Foundation also funds large media organizations like ABC and The Guardian, thereby influencing the health related stories that end up seeing the light of day. According to an article published last year in the Seattle Times5:

“To garner attention for the issues it cares about, the foundation has invested millions in training programs for journalists. It funds research on the most effective ways to craft media messages. Gates-backed think tanks turn out media fact sheets and newspaper opinion pieces. Magazines and scientific journals get Gates money to publish research and articles. Experts coached in Gates-funded programs write columns that appear in media outlets from The New York Times to The Huffington Post, while digital portals blur the line between journalism and spin.

The efforts are part of what the foundation calls “advocacy and policy.” Over the past decade, Gates has devoted $1 billion to these programs, which now account for about a tenth of the giant philanthropy’s $3 billion-a-year spending.”

Uncritical support of genetically engineered crops and an emphasis on technological fixes for health problems, such as vaccines instead of improved hygiene and sanitation, are examples of the one-sided propaganda the Gates Foundation promulgates. It’s not all bad, of course. Bill Gates’ money has certainly gone to some worthy projects along the way, but it appears what began as a sincere attempt to help society has, in more recent years, given way to primarily supporting the status quo of the richest and most powerful industries on the planet, to the detriment of those they claim to be the beneficiaries of their “charity.”

British GE Crop Scientists Gets $10 Million Grant from Gates

According to a recent report by BBC News, the Gates Foundation has given a grant of $10 million to researchers trying to genetically engineer corn, wheat and rice that need little or no fertilizer. According to BBC News6:

“The John Innes Centre is trying to engineer cereal crops that could get nitrogen from the air—as peas and beans do—rather than needing chemical ammonia spread on fields. If successful, it is hoped the project could revolutionize agriculture and, in particular, help struggling maize farmers in sub-Saharan Africa – something the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is keen to do.”

Of course, the stated intention is always to help struggling farmers, but based on the poor track record of genetically engineered crops so far, one has to wonder why such a wealthy foundation as Gates’ refuses to focus on sustainable agriculture, and insists on supporting the development of expensive technical solutions that are completely contrary to Nature? Could it be because multi-national corporations such as Monsanto cannot profit from sustainable organic agriculture?

Continue reading at Mercola

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