Global Justice Exposé: Gates Foundation Uses Welfare Programs To Favor Big Businesses, Not Poor

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With assets worth $43.5 billion, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the world, providing more aid to global health than any country. But a new report by UK campaign group Global Justice accuses Bill Gates, the current richest person in the world with a net worth of $83 billion as of January 2016, of distorting international development priorities and promoting corporate globalization through the immense wealth and influence of his Seattle-based philanthropic foundation.

The report, Gated Development – Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good?, has blasted the Gates Foundation for its links to Microsoft’s tax evasion practices, its lack of accountability, its close relationship to multi-national corporations, its support of private healthcare and education and its championing of genetically modified crops. Its influence is “dangerously skewing” aid priorities, the report added.

The foundation’s emphasis on vaccines, technological solutions and specific diseases, the report found, undermines support for basic health systems in poor nations. At the same time, the foundation both invests in and collaborates with pharmaceutical and agricultural corporations, creating a corporate merry-go-round where the Gates Foundation consistently acts in the interests of corporations, the report claimed.

Released at the same time that Bill Gates is promoting his brand of “philanthrocapitalism” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the report found:

  • According to a 2012 US senate report, Microsoft used offshore subsidiaries to avoid $4.5 billion in taxes, while the Gates Foundation issued grants totaling $3.6 billion in 2014.
  • The Gates Foundation is profiting from numerous investments in companies that contribute to economic and social injustice, including Monsanto, Dupont and Bayer, and therefore it is supporting them through a variety of pro-corporate initiatives around the world.
  • The foundation is undermining sustainable, small-scale farming that is providing food security in Africa by promoting the adoption of GMO, patented seed systems and chemical fertilizers across the continent.
  • The foundation is pushing for private healthcare and education projects around the world exacerbating inequality and undermining the universal provision of such basic human necessities.
  • The Gates Foundation is funding a series of vaccine programs that have reportedly lead to illnesses or even deaths with little official or media scrutiny. (Here’s evidence from India)

“Gated Development demonstrates that the trend to involve business in addressing poverty and inequality is central to the priorities and funding of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We argue that this is far from a neutral charitable strategy but instead an ideological commitment to promote neoliberal economic policies and corporate globalisation. Big business is directly benefitting, in particular in the fields of agriculture and health, as a result of the foundation’s activities, despite evidence to show that business solutions are not the most effective.

“Perhaps what is most striking about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is that despite its aggressive corporate strategy and extraordinary influence across governments, academics and the media, there is an absence of critical voices. Global Justice Now is concerned that the foundation’s influence is so pervasive that many actors in international development, which would otherwise critique the policy and practice of the foundation, are unable to speak out independently as a result of its funding and patronage.”

The report has claimed, Bill Gates, “who has regular access to world leaders and is in effect personally bankrolling hundreds of universities, international organisations, NGOs and media outlets”, has become the single most influential voice in international development.

The Gates Foundation, the authors observed, “often appears to be a massive, vertically integrated multinational corporation, controlling every step in a supply chain that reaches from its Seattle-based boardroom to millions of end-users in the villages of African and south Asia”.

Global Justice Now wants an independent evaluation to be managed and administered by the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD, by involving a transparent commissioning process and including the participation of various stakeholders, notably those affected by foundation-funded projects.

The world is being sold a myth that private philanthropy holds many of the solutions to the world’s problems, when in fact it is pushing the world in many wrong directions. The Gates Foundation is being allowed to speak too loudly, and too many actors in international development are falling into line with the foundation’s misguided priorities.”

The group also wants the UK’s International Development Select Committee to conduct an inquiry into the Department of International Development’s relationship with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation “to assess the impact and effectiveness of any joint activity in addressing poverty and inequality”.

In a written response, the Gates Foundation said the report misrepresents the organization, its work and its partnerships.

“The foundation’s mission is to improve quality of life for the world’s poorest people. This is a complex challenge, and solving it will require a range of approaches as well as the collaboration of governments, NGOs, academic institutions, for-profit companies and philanthropic organizations.

“Governments are uniquely positioned to provide the leadership and resources necessary to address structural inequalities and ensure that the right solutions reach those most in need. The private sector has access to innovations – for example, in science, medicine and technology – that can save lives.

“In all of our work – whether helping women access life-saving prenatal care or ensuring that small holder farmers can produce enough food to feed their families – partners guide our priorities and approach. We listen to experts and practitioners and take action based on evidence.”


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5 COMMENTS

  1. Who knows! In spite of our Williams family background, it might well be that his enthusiasm for GMOs and Corporate welfare etc. is well intended. Nevertheless, if he were to invest at least some of his massive fortune into the research and production of an anti-avarice vaccine, the beneficial effects could conceivably reduce the need for many existing charities. At least some of the savings achieved by this approach could be syphoned off to help ease the inevitable withdrawal symptoms of some of those previously high earners who suffer from severe privilege deprivation syndrome .

  2. Yes indeed, their work with private organizations does not prove them evil (in terms of global justice and social equality) their enthusiasm might be just misplaced. What their work does proves, is that they are working in a double ethical scheme. While the innate moto of a company is to compete in the “free markets”, the moto of a global justice / social equality organization is to cooperate for common good. Logically they cannot do both at once in the same respect. Simply because they are opposing each other.

    But how does this mechanism really works? can we help other without taken care of ourselves? does Bill Gates richness is simply incompatible with his preached philanthropy?

    I think the answers are in us to be given specially because reports and investigations point out pit points of the operations of such organizations. They don’t assess the Melinda Gates Organization in general terms, they cannot say if the organization is good or evil in terms of social equality and global justice.

    But we, windows users, philanthropist, altruistic persons, business or what ever our current roles are, can recognize patterns and practices which are not truly equal and fair. And we can be a big part of it or an small one, difficulty a non-part (who has not bought a windows pre installed computer??) for such a big organization is almost no scape. Or we can just point out their taxes evasion, their pit point practices or evil contracts and bring them to court, just their insurance pay them back. If you see they seem more worry for their image than for going to court. At least for the moment I don’t think there is any institution that can charge them properly if they have done some huge inequality practice, nor even some non-equal laws to support a charge. The only thing as stake here is their moral image.

    So as you see I am not attacking any practice in particular or the Melinda Gates institution itself I am attacking their attitude in terms of their preached philanthropy. And surely when I give some of my earnings to charity I don’t feel myself identified with these people. They difficultly make a change to make a windows version which is not commercial, or open source one of their programs for any people to use them. Instead they have a kind huge partnership program with controlled license and scaling services and when piracy attacks them they reply with “auto update” or “online use only” software. What is so charitable when you give even the half of your money but you are not willing to sacrifice even a bit of your royals. You know, I feel them so fake, I don’t need any report to see them for what they truly are.

    Just give a try and you might see it as well, give some true charity and make some social work, an see the recognize the pattern is such a difference for what Melinda and Bill Gates does.

  3. They may not be perfect solutions but remember, these are to affect large masses of people. We can’t feed them all surf & turf and give them Viagra for their ED’s. They are being provided of the very basic necessities that we as developed citizens take for granted. If we give them fish, we feed them for a day. If we feed them organic free swimming fish, we feed 1 person for 1 day. If we teach them how to fish, have big pharma develop medical technologies to assist delivery of medicines, we save them for generations. Big on private sector? Well, I don’t see governments doing it at that scale. Would you rather they stop helping? They are doing wonderful things and at this large scale there will be compromises.
    Again, we don’t have to ALWAYS be on the underdogs’ side. Some major entities actually do good things. Not everything big is bad.

    • What you are not taking into account is that Gates is promoting GMOs to African farmers who have for generations farmed sustainably in one of the most arable areas on the planet. They don’t need an nerd who has never put his hands in soil to preach improvements. Especially when those “improvements mean having to purchase gmo seed and it’s chemical support products on a yearly basis rather than retain their own seed each year at no cost. It is all about profit for Gates and his billionaire buddies for whom enough is never enough. And it they destroy a continent’s ability to sustain itself without going into permanent crippling debt, well, why should good ol” Bill worry. He can just sit at home raking in more profit while he eats his organic, sustainable food, you know the kind that only the rich can afford.

      • is that the reason WHY they have FAMINE in Africa for so many years and nobody have decided how to solve the problem of people DYING because no help comes their way? DID ANYBODY THINK ON HOW TO SOLVE FAMINE IN AFRICA AND POVERTY? Is being an ALCOHOLIC and SMOKING CIGARS ARE NOT CHEMICALS THAT YOU’RE TAKING INSIDE YOUR BODY? COME ON STUPID PEOPLE!

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