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The Almighty Buck Medicine

Gates Foundation Vs. Openness In Research 150

Posted by kdawson
from the not-far-from-the-tree dept.
An anonymous reader writes "There have been complaints within the World Health Organization of some oddly familiar-sounding tactics and attitudes by the Gates Foundation. Scientists who were once open with their research are now 'locked up in a cartel' and are financially motivated to support other scientists backed by the Foundation. Diversity of views is 'stifled,' dominance is bought, and Foundation views are pushed with 'intense and aggressive opposition.'" The article tries hard for balance. It notes that the WHO official who raised the alarm on the Gates Foundation's unintended consequences on world health research is "an openly undiplomatic official who won admiration for reorganizing the world fight against tuberculosis but was ousted from that job partly because he offended donors like the Rockefeller Foundation."
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Gates Foundation Vs. Openness In Research

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  • Surprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jaxtherat (1165473)
    Why is anyone surprised. These foundations are nothing but cash cows, money sinks and tax write-offs.

    Very, very few rich people are genuine philanthropists.
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ejdmoo (193585) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:15AM (#22471660)
      Please read TFA people...
      Some quotes:

      In a memorandum, the chief of the malaria program, Arata Kochi, complained to his boss, Margaret Chan, the director general of WHO, that the foundation's money, while crucial, could have "far-reaching, largely unintended consequences."

      Many of the world's leading malaria scientists are now "locked up in a 'cartel' with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group," Kochi wrote. Because "each has a vested interest to safeguard the work of the others," he wrote, getting independent reviews of research proposals "is becoming increasingly difficult."


      They are pointing out a general fact about research funding, and then saying that there's a lack of diversity in Malaria research/funding, because most of it is coming from the Gates Foundation. Maybe if Sergei and Larry would stop buying 767s (and NASA airfield landing rights) they could fund competing research.

      (just flamebait fun on the goog guys...could have easily used Michael Dell)
      • They are pointing out a general fact about research funding...

        Oh really? The article also says:

        Since it is not safe or practical to give Fansidar constantly to babies because it is a sulfa drug that can cause rare but deadly reactions and because Fansidar-resistant malaria is growing, World Health Organization scientists had doubts about it. Nonetheless, Kochi wrote, although it was "less and less straightforward" that the health agency should recommend it, the agency's objections were met with "intense and aggressive opposition" from Gates-backed scientists and the

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CSMatt (1175471)
      True, but try telling that to Joe Average.

      Me: Bill Gates is a convicted monopolist who practices unethical business behavior.
      Some person: OMG NOES HE ISNT HE STRTD A FUNDATON TO HLP TEH P00R!!!11!
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradis@p ... t ['ay.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:32AM (#22471724) Homepage Journal
      How many rich people do you count as close personal associates? Blanket statements like yours are irritating at best, and idiotic at worst. Let's talk about how much money you donate to charities. No? Fine... then consider this: whether it's a tax write-off or not, charitable foundations depend on the generosity of wealthy patrons to continue their work. That's just how the system is structured. Don't like it? Okay, work to get the tax benefits of charitable contributions eliminated. While you're at it, please explain to those who benefit from the monies donated to medical research, food programs, etc why they don't deserve the help.

      I'm no Bill Gates fanboy (kinda hard to be when I refuse to use Microsoft products at home), but your position is ridiculous.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Planesdragon (210349)

        then consider this: whether it's a tax write-off or not, charitable foundations depend on the generosity of wealthy patrons to continue their work. That's just how the system is structured. Don't like it? Okay, work to get the tax benefits of charitable contributions eliminated. While you're at it, please explain to those who benefit from the monies donated to medical research, food programs, etc why they don't deserve the help.

        I worked in "charity" for five years. In all that time, I cannot name one thing other than "not having to fire anyone" that we accomplished.

        Cash-based Charities as a whole are one step above outright scams. This is underscored for anything called a "foundation." Yes, they spend money on good things. But i'm not convinced that the donor and the donnee wouldn't be better served by simply handing over money -- or buying goods and selling them at a loss as a better form of charity.

        • Re:Surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by palegray.net (1195047) <philip.paradis@p ... t ['ay.' in gap]> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:26AM (#22472272) Homepage Journal
          Of course the donor and recipient would be better served in a direct exchange of currency. Now how do you get them in touch with each other to facilitate the transfer? How do you know they actually need the money, compared to someone else? That's where charitable fund raising foundations come into play, which cannot be effectively run on any large scale at zero cost. Like any other class of organization, there are good ones, bad ones, and some in between. In any event, the primary focus of the Gates Foundation is dispersing funds that are directly earned and controlled by, well, the Gates. Different animal entirely.

          If you don't believe you accomplished anything in five years of working for a charity, why in God's name did you do it for that long? Surely you could have better spent your efforts elsewhere.
        • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @09:54AM (#22474778) Homepage

          I worked in "charity" for five years. In all that time, I cannot name one thing other than "not having to fire anyone" that we accomplished.

          If that's true, then you need to report it to the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance [give.org], as well as to Charity Navigator [charitynavigator.org] -- groups which track the return-on-investment aspects of charitable organizations.

          If you truly and literally spent five years not helping anyone, your charity is a scam. This hardly means that all charities are scams; most are not.

          As for connecting donors to recipients: sure, that's a nice idea, except for:

          • Economies of scale. You get ten thousand donors together to buy food, supplies, etc., then you can get a lot more solution for your money.
          • Addressing root problems. Sure, a thirsty family in Africa might be able to buy safe drinking water for a month on the $20 you send them. But it would be better if a bunch of people could collectively send over $2500 and build a new, clean-water well. Or if somebody organized the money together and built dozens of clean wells all over the region. There are tons of problems like this.
          • The problem isn't always money. Sometimes the problem is education. Or identifying problems in service delivery. Or advocating for change in government policies. How would you solve these problems by sending your money to the needy people?

          Sometimes direct support works well. Kiva [kiva.org] has a really interesting approach that seems to be successful, for example. But it's hardly the answer to every problem that nonprofits try to solve.

          • I'm glad you mentioned Kiva. I'm impressed with their model, and think microloans goes a long way towards helping those in impoverished countries (giving people aid kind of helps, helping them get cheap capital for their business to become sustainable is hugely more successful). I dumped about 2 grand into it because I could afford to, but I hope others will help as well (you can kick in as little as $25).
      • I have some friends that are moderately wealthy, they set up a charitable foundation and are funding some charity work in the industry I work in and the feeling I'm getting from what they tell me is more like wolves circling a babe in the woods than everybody getting together and singing Kumbya. How many charities actually spend more than 10 cents on the dollars collected on what it's collected for?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      -----------"Very, very few rich people are genuine philanthropists."

      Why so cynical? There are many genuine philanthropists in this world and they certainly don't set up their foundations solely for the purpose of tax write-offs and providing as you say "cash cows." As Zig Ziglar put it, "I've been rich, and I've been poor. And frankly, it's better to be rich." Why, because you can help folks when you're rich. Me thinks, you think the rich are not genuine in their philanthropic endeavors. I beg to differ
      • by rbanffy (584143)
        I am not sure about the others, but I suspect billg is motivated, primaril, by his urge to compensate for every time he was abused by his colleagues at school. His bullies had a lasting and unintended influence in the world...

        US$ 640 million should be enogh for anyone
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm afraid that you and many others have a complete misunderstanding of "tax write-offs." You don't magically make money by donating to charity. The money that you donate to charity is simply not taxable. All of the money that you keep is still taxable. By donating to charity, you will lose money no matter how much you save in tax writeoffs (and you will lose quite a bit more).

      Very, very few rich people are genuine philanthropists.

      I agree with you here, but Gates is indeed one of the few.
      • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slaSLACKWAR ... com minus distro> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @05:14AM (#22472910) Homepage
        By donating to charity you will buy good PR, which is otherwise quite expensive.
        You can also donate goods to charity, and claim a tax break relative to what they would have been sold at... This is designed for goods where there is a tangible cost to produce them and a small margin, and the tax break means that the company can afford to donate more goods for the same cost. But when it comes to software, which is virtually 100% profit, such a company actually directly profits from "giving" it to charity.

        Also, for all the money the gates foundation (and other similar organizations) spends on medical research, how much of this research goes into the public domain, and how much goes to pharmaceutical companies owned by the very same people who own the foundations?
        Similarly, how many of their donations come with strings attached, like "heres $1 million for drugs, but you have to buy all you're drugs from a specific company"... So the entire $1mil goes back to said drugs company, as does other money that came from other sources - a net win for the owners of the foundations. Similarly gates has been known to make "donations" on condition that various schools etc use microsoft software exclusively.

        Genuine philanthropists would hand over money without any strings attached, and often do so anonymously, some big charities like oxfam receive large anonymous donations at times.
        • by westlake (615356)
          By donating to charity you will buy good PR, which is otherwise quite expensive.

          The geek would do well to remember that Bill Gates has always rated highly in public opinion.

          In "communist" China, where the successful entrepreneur is respected and emulated, Gates draws enormous crowds and the ambitious technocrat or party politician wants and needs to be photographed with him.

          Genuine philanthropists would hand over money without any strings attached

          This is an absolutely ridiculous thing to do under many

  • Oh, shit... (Score:1, Redundant)

    by Penguinisto (415985)
    I hope Gates realizes that "The Blue Screen of Death" may have bigger consequences in the Health field than it does in computers...

    (and no, I honestly am not sure if I'm joking, being snarky, or am genuinely worried about WTF that idiot egomaniac may end up blundering us all into...)

    /P

    • Re:Oh, shit... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by TheSeer2 (949925) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:08AM (#22471612) Homepage
      Ummm. This has nothing to do with the Gates Foundation. This is just a general scientific community sentiment in not wanting to offend their backers (hence the mention of Rockefeller in the summary).
      • Whatever happened to the supposedly libertarian stance of the average Slashdot reader? When it comes to those who make charitable contributions, whatever their motives may be, let's not forget that it's their money to do with as they please. How many people here would support a welfare system that gives away billions of dollars with virtually no oversight on how the money is actually being spent? Oh, wait...

  • by calebt3 (1098475) on Monday February 18, 2008 @11:47PM (#22471470)
    Microsoft Medicine
    For the low price of $500 dollars per copy.
    You may not disassemble or reverse engineer this vaccine.
    If you install this vaccine in a second body, you must delete it from the first.
    You may keep a copy of this vaccine for backup purposes only. You may not install this vaccine in a body containing more than two souls. (Siamese triples, anyone?)
    • If you inject this vaccine into a siamese multiplet, you must purchase one license per individual.
    • This medication has experienced a fatal error. Please restart the patient's heart.
    • Re:Coming soon... (Score:5, Informative)

      by r55man (615542) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:09AM (#22471900) Homepage

      You jest, but I don't think you're really all that far off. From the article:

      Experts said IPTi involved giving babies doses of an older anti-malaria drug, Fansidar ... In early studies, it was shown to decrease malaria cases about 25 percent. But each dose provided protection for only a month.

      Since it is not safe or practical to give Fansidar constantly to babies ... World Health Organization scientists had doubts about it.

      The health agency's objections were met with "intense and aggressive opposition" from Gates-backed scientists and the foundation

      What do you want to bet this is exactly the kind of "cure" that the Gates Foundation is looking for: The kind that you need to keep buying every month for the rest of your life.

  • ah shit, not this again..
  • I called this. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ruinevil (852677)
    When I bash Gates, people always tell me that Bill Gates has donated more money to medical research than anyone else in history. Which is true. But I always say that he donates heavily to organizations he controls. And finally he has shown his true colors.
    • You're an idiot. Read the article. And seriously, to the mod about to hit me as flamebait. Screw you. Like I said, read the article.
    • It's such a bogus argument, but many people are going to complete ignore his brutal capitalistic behavior because he's "given so much to charity", and I have no doubts that that was taken into consideration when the Foundation was created.

  • by jbrax (315669) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:03AM (#22471570) Homepage
    The main business of Gates Foundation is making money and avoiding taxes by giving away at least 5% of its worth every year. The Foundation is a major shareholder in many of the companies listed as "highest-polluting" in the United States and Canada.

    What about the 5%? Gates Foundation awards grants mainly in support of global health initiatives, for efforts to improve public education in the United States (Live@edu for lock-in, anyone?), and for social welfare programs in the Pacific Northwest.

    LA Times investigation of Gates Foundation, January 2007: Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation [latimes.com]
    • by TheSeer2 (949925) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:11AM (#22471634) Homepage
      Your first paragraph appears to attack the foundation and second appears to support it. What is your point exactly? Avoiding taxes? They're a freakin' charity. THEY ARE TAX EXEMPT. This is the worst attempt at a troll I've ever... ever seen. The reason they have to donate 5% a year is because that is a requirement of Warren Buffet's donation and if they don't donate that amount, Warren Buffet's contributions will cease.
      • by jbrax (315669)
        The point is that 95% of the Foundations worth is invested by "Bill Gates Investments" into companies that have failed tests of social responsibility because of environmental lapses, employment discrimination, disregard for worker rights, or unethical practices. This places a dark cloud over 5% good works of Gates Foundation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:05AM (#22471582)
    It's happening everywhere, a gradual chilling debasement of science and open collaboration. On one hand the internet has brought great
    opportunity, and some great things like Gutenberg, the Internet archive, Hyperphysics, and of course Wikis that are gaining credibility more and more, but these are not real scientific repositories, real science is being buried. Some online journals have their archives open to download free pdfs, but they are the exception, in general things are getting much worse than better. 15 years ago I had to go to a library to get papers, but at least they were there and I could photocopy for free. Now all the records have gone electronic its a nightmare. Do a Google search on any serious topic and the first two pages will be istore, free patents online, and all those for-pay peddlers of knowledge. These guardians of information charge $30 or more for an electronic reprint, on 80 year old papers, IP that doesn't even belong to them! I expect many great scientists are spinning in their graves. I sometimes laugh when I hear the phrase scientific community. There isn't one anymore! Everyone is out to obscure and bury. How can peer review be conducted anymore? Everyone is too afraid to publish in case patent trolls sieze their work, and only the few in large institutions can afford to. I have to share papers on the sly with other researchers and certain old textbooks are becoming treasured items. This knowledge belongs to us all. The vast majority from the last few hundred years is public domain, payed for by your tax dollars to fund research on national levels.

    I certainly don't expect Microsoft to help in any way, their track record is to squeeze money out of every chance they get. What have they ever contributed to real science? We must reverse this slide into private and secret science or eventually university students will be signing NDA agreements before being allowed to study and progress will only be the preserve of the wealthy.

    Google scholar is a step forward, but if you use it a lot you will see more than half of what it links to isn't actually available, it just leads to pay-for sites. They should block those so that only info that is actually available to read is presented.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by johnlcallaway (165670)
      I've got news for everyone ... scientific research is not the unbiased bastion that everyone thinks it is. There are many books that document the sagas (and if I could get into the room where my step-son is sleeping I'd get you a couple of titles) of how scientists and politics go hand-in-hand. Backstabbing, lying, and downright blackmail have been going on for hundreds of years. It's popular to blame the current administration, but they weren't the first and won't be the last to try and craft scientific th
      • Everyone does it .. everyone likes to quote the facts that support their favorite belief and don't offer up the evidence that refutes it.


        1. Do you have any evidence for this?

        2. Well, then. It's not science, is it?
    • You seem to assume that, since you cannot access those articles, nobody else can. I'm sorry to disappoint you but when I go on Google Scholar, I have access to 90% of the articles I can find, and so do many other people. The two key words are *library* and *institutions*. 15 years ago, needed a library card, today you need access to their intranet. 15 years ago, you went to the library to photocopy articles, today you go there and download PDFs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by shadowKFC (873680)
      This is, to put it bluntly, an extremely ignorant view.

      It is now, and I'm working in science, A LOT better then it was 15 years ago. Back then you physically had to go to a library, get the articles on paper, photocopy them one by one, and then you just had a huge mess of horribly photocopied junk, with no color and hard to read illustrations and figures.

      Not to talk about finding the stuff first, Pubmed and co are invaluable here and this is only possible due to the fact that scientific articles are all dig
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Any researcher who takes money from a private foundation is a fool not to assume that there will be strings attached. Hell, there are at least a few strings attached anytime you take money from ANYONE, including public sources. This is hardly something new, it's as old as humanity. Hell, I took a small grant back when I was in grad school for the tiniest of research projects (just a few thousand $) from a public source (a state agency) and there were even strings attached to that.

      If you think that anyone

    • Everyone is too afraid to publish in case patent trolls sieze their work,
      Shouldn't be at least not in the USA, because we are a first to conceive based patents system unlike EU that are first to File, being publicly published is proof it's your idea and that you had the idea not later than the publication date.
  • by QuincyFree (147705) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:08AM (#22471618)
    I work in AIDS research. The conflicts that are emerging in the field of malaria research are very similar to what we are experiencing in our field, which in both cases is a consequence of the severe funding bottleneck for biological sciences. The Gates Foundation has been an extremely important source of funding for basic science as well as providing resources for prevention and outreach in areas of the world suffering from the heaviest burden of these diseases. Unfortunately, the current funding philosophy seems to be to reward a massive sum of cash to a very select subset of scientists in the field. This has created some unfortunate divisions in our field. If you can access the article, see: http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v13/n5/abs/nm0507-515.html [nature.com] (I've also been able to Google for excerpts from the article.) Basically, both the Gates Foundation and the NIH have pumped massive funding into a single research consortium, leaving many other labs scavenging for funding to sustain their clinical research. Throw in some questionable data-sharing practices and lack of scientific collaboration by the consortium, and you'll obviously create a lot of resentment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 15Bit (940730)
      I work in what is now called the "alternative energy" sector - fuel cells etc, and we have similar problems. The lot of money to a small number of groups is evident here too, though to be fair to the funding bodies these are people who have a track record of providing a "return" on the investment. There is a sort of critical size effect though, and once a research group gets beyond a certain size it seems to lose focus and the output per person drops.

      The bigger problem seems to be continuity of funding. Yo

  • Business as usual (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dedazo (737510) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:13AM (#22471644) Journal
    Ah, another Bashdot hack job. Just bringing home the bacon.

    But let's quote from TFA, since no one really reads it - it's enough that Slashdot publishes something to add it to the repertoire of the FOSS advocate army on the internets:

    The Gates Foundation has poured about $1.2 billion into malaria research since 2000. In the late 1990s, as little as $84 million a year was spent - largely by the U.S. military and health institutes, along with European governments and foundations. Drug makers had largely abandoned the field. (China was developing a drug, artemisinin, that is now the cornerstone of treatment.)

    The World Health Organization is a United Nations agency with a $4 billion budget. It gives advice on policies, evaluates treatments - especially for poor countries - maintains a network of laboratories and sends teams to fight outbreaks of diseases, like avian flu or Ebola. It finances little research; for diseases of the poor, the Gates Foundation is the biggest donor in the world.

    $4 billion dollars. Since the WHO is a UN body, I'm sure we can imagine where most of that money goes to. But that's really irrelevant.

    Having worked with privately funded research NGOs in the past, I'm pretty sure that the turf wars and petty rivalries are as common at that level as they are everywhere else. Let's quote again:

    But Attaran said he believed that scientists were not afraid of the foundation, but of its chief for malaria, Regina Rabinovich, whom he described as "autocratic."

    So, twenty bucks this is some sort of institutional or personal rivalry of some sort. I don't buy the "openly undiplomatic official" bit at all, not from someone who works for the United Nations.

    It is of course quite possible that the person responsible for malaria efforts at the Gates foundation is a certified bitch - that alone does not justify the retarded "some oddly familiar-sounding tactics and attitudes" bullshit in the submission. From an anonymous reader, no less. Nowhere in the article is it claimed that the malaria campaign by the foundation is wrong or not working. No, it's just that it's not proceeding the way the UN bureaucrats want it to:

    His own experience with Gates-financed policy groups, he said, was that they are cowed into "stomach-churning group think."

    That's institutionalese for "they're not doing things the way we do them around here".

    The gist of the article involves Kochi's dislike of how the Gates foundation goes about using it's $1.2 billion dollar malaria program:

    called the Gates Foundation's decision making "a closed internal process, and as far as can be seen, accountable to none other than itself."

    Perhaps the people who run the Gates Foundation have read about how inefficient and ineffective the WHO has been in the past twenty years, and they prefer not to be accountable to a group of people who are supposed to be helping humanity but instead spend their time trying to hold on to research grants for dear life, witholding information about radiation poisoning from the public at the bequest of the IAEA, and fighting turf wars over juicy postings in well-to do countries.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MrCopilot (871878)
      I don't buy the "openly undiplomatic official" bit at all, not from someone who works for the United Nations.


      Two Words John Bolton [wikipedia.org]

    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:34AM (#22472020)

      It is of course quite possible that the person responsible for malaria efforts at the Gates foundation is a certified bitch - that alone does not justify the retarded "some oddly familiar-sounding tactics and attitudes" bullshit in the submission.
      That alone? From the article:
      Since it is not safe or practical to give Fansidar constantly to babies because it is a sulfa drug that can cause rare but deadly reactions and because Fansidar-resistant malaria is growing, World Health Organization scientists had doubts about it. Nonetheless, Kochi wrote, although it was "less and less straightforward" that the health agency should recommend it, the agency's objections were met with "intense and aggressive opposition" from Gates-backed scientists and the foundation.

      So this is either truth or lies. If truth, it is alarming.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      on the internets

      Since your feild is not computers I should say that using this word is the equivalent of telling a medical expert that your foot bone is connected to your head bone :)

      • by dedazo (737510)
        It is, actually. I just worked with a consulting company in Belgium in the mid 90s that did a lot of business with European hospitals, which ran various research centers. They used to get funding from companies like Volkswagen and Telefonica. They spent a *lot* of money in IT.
      • Your foot bone is connected to your head bone. Not only by a series of other connecting bones, but through a network used to transport substances throughout the body, including the foot bone and head bone, which is called the cardiovascular system. And again, the cardiovascular system is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes.
    • $4 billion dollars. Since the WHO is a UN body, I'm sure we can imagine where most of that money goes to. But that's really irrelevant.

      You can imagine anything. Do you have any actual evidence?

  • It notes that the WHO official who raised the alarm on the Gates Foundation's unintended consequences on world health research is "an openly undiplomatic official who won admiration for reorganizing the world fight against tuberculosis but was ousted from that job partly because he offended donors like the Rockefeller Foundation."

    Hmm, I read this as "tried to get as much money as possible from charities because I know the sponsors are flush".

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/06/25/magazines/fortune/charity4.fortune/ [cnn.com]

    If I gave $30 billion (I don't care how it was made, it was) of my money and decided I wanted the recipients to figure out how to make monkeys dance while playing cards and whistling Sheena is a Punk Rocker, than they better damn well figure out how to do it.

    You retards who still do the "Bill Gates is Evil, Micro$oft is the devil"...grow up. You wouldn't be even typing on your computer right now if it wasn't for Microsoft. Its business, deal with it.

    You don't like it, steal something better, make something better, market it better, and convince everyone that you're product's better.

    And when you do and you're successful and rich...what would you be willing to do when someone comes up with a better idea? Will you kill it, will you buy it, or will you pour money into a competitor?

    For all the crap that you think Bill Gates has done, he and his wife have done a lot more for the planet than you mouth breathers.

    • If I gave $30 billion (I don't care how it was made, it was) of my money and decided I wanted the recipients to figure out how to make monkeys dance while playing cards and whistling Sheena is a Punk Rocker, than they better damn well figure out how to do it.

      If you gave $30 billion of your money to a charity administered by me and insisted we figure out how to make monkeys dance while playing cards and whistling Sheena is a Punk Rocker, I'd cut off your penis in front of your bank manager, shove you dismem

      • by sumdumass (711423)
        It wasn't off topic. It might have been idiotic but donations have often came with strings attached and it isn't unreasonable to be expected to follow those strings if you accept the donation.

        I gave the use of some property I inherited to a charity back in the 90's under the condition that they paid the property taxes, maintained it and kept insurance on it worth at least the market amount with me listed on it, and that they couldn't use the land or facilities to perform abortions or assisted suicides ever
  • by dreemernj (859414) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @12:49AM (#22471822) Homepage Journal
    The Gates foundation provides funding so long as there is adequate proof of where the funding is going and so long as it aligns with the broad vision the Gates foundation has. It sounds like this guy has problems with some of the scientists receiving Gates funding and he has problems with the fact that the Gates foundation has its own internal, closed decision making process that is only accountable to itself. But, that's to be expected. The Gates foundation introduced a level of accountability not seen before on a large scale. They did for international philanthropy what organizations like Pew did for philanthropy within the US.

    The Gates foundation had to fight to bring any real accountability into these fields. If the WHO feels threatened its probably because they were pushing funds into opportunistic pockets up until the Gates foundation forced real accountability to happen.

    Given the state of affairs up until now, if the Gates foundation did just create their own WHO-like organization, there's a good chance more people would be helped per dollar invested than are being helped by the WHO now.

    The gates foundation is far from perfect. But they are inevitably going to take heat from threatening the lifeblood of the people at all levels of international philanthropy that have been skimming off the top of a very broken system.
    • Gates demands results from people to whom he gives money.
      In the criminally overcompetitive environment of Microsoft,
      this generated a meme pool of ferociously competitive behaviors
      that were optimal for maximizing Microsoft's profits.

      However, in an environment of scientific research, the same meme pool
      has two disadvantages. First, it is unfamiliar to scientists
      who have never been exposed to it, and therefore their ideas
      suffer in comparison to ideas defended with Gates-level ferocity,
      not because of the merits
  • Actually the problem with the theory that humans cause global warming is even worse. Those that doubt this theory get little or no funding and proponents of the theory try to gag those that would disagree. The INTENDED consequence is to monopolize the discussion.

    Just as the theory at one time said that the earth is flat, that the sun revolves around the earth and twice that we are experiencing global cooling, this is the second time in the last 100 years that the SAME people have said that we are experien
    • by imroy (755)

      Those that doubt this theory get little or no funding

      Except for the ones that got oil money.

      Just as the theory at one time said that the earth is flat, that the sun revolves around the earth...

      Except the Flat Earth theory is a myth [asa3.org] - "with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat.". It certainly wasn't a scientific theory. And even if it was, there's nothing wrong with science accepting new e

  • by sakusha (441986) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:07AM (#22471894)
    Yep, I've been saying this for ages, and nobody believes me. It's like the old joke by Craig Kilborn:

    "Bill Gates announced his initiative to eradicate the AIDS virus. He plans to buy all competing viruses and use his power of monopoly to drive the AIDS virus to extinction."

    But this is no joke. Gates has established a monopoly on philanthropy and the addition of money from Warren Buffet has given even more power to the Gates Foundation. They don't fund charities, they assimilate them. It is impossible to fund any alternative charities when the overwhelming majority of monies are going to the Officially Approved Gates Foundation Charities. Those charities have become a monoculture, as this document asserts. And those charities are designed to get third-world companies hooked on first-world Big Pharmaceuticals. Guess what? Bill Gates is a major shareholder in Big Pharma, from Merck to Schering-Plough to a dozen others. Gates can't help but apply his business mindset to everything he does, he seeks to rebuild the world in his own image, even if this means working his will through phony philanthropy.
    But what galls me the most is that the billions of dollars he's "donating" came out of the pockets of Microsoft customers: governments, corporations, and individuals. What diverse charities might WE have funded, if Bill Gates hadn't stolen those dollars from OUR wallets?
    • by skugga (655282)

      But what galls me the most is that the billions of dollars he's "donating" came out of the pockets of Microsoft customers: governments, corporations, and individuals. What diverse charities might WE have funded, if Bill Gates hadn't stolen those dollars from OUR wallets?

      The money I donate to charities comes straight from money i've made from selling other people my products. Exactly the same as what Bill Gates is doing. I choose where the money I've earnt goes and so does he....That's how it works. If you dont like where he's putting HIS money, dont buy his products and spend that money where you like instead.

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by sakusha (441986)
        I don't buy his products. But many people do, and they pay inflated prices because of Gates' monopoly. That is how Gates acquired his wealth, through illegal means. Do I need to remind you that Gates is a convicted monopolist? You may earn your money selling products in a manner similar to Gates, but I suspect you earn your money honestly. Bill Gates did not.

        Furthermore, I frequently have no choice in how my government spends the tax dollars I contribute to the treasury. My money is wasted on inefficient, i
        • by Xuranova (160813)
          omfg. I swear. Being a monopoly is NOT illegal. Abusing it is. There is a HUGE difference. Hence how phone(land lines), utilities, and cable providers are able to exist as they do.
          • by sakusha (441986)
            Gates and Microsoft were convicted of ABUSING their monopoly in computer software. I never meant to imply that the Gates Foundation is illegally abusing a monopoly position on charity. I merely indicate that it is a really really bad thing to have any one person with such a concentration of power over charities. Do I have to spell it out for you in such detail, or are you being deliberately obtuse?
        • You wouldn't need all this Philanthropy in the first place, if huge multi-national mega conglomerates weren't stealing ideas, resources and forcing people to pay higher fees by removing competition. Add onto that, all the influence they have with governments, to guarantee their own profits. Does the RIAA pay the FBI to track down kids stealing their MP3s? Dupont and GM externalize costs with massive pollution (just look up what PCBs are DDT are still doing and how that has not been resolved), and for their
  • the WHO? (Score:3, Funny)

    by rasputin465 (1032646) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:08AM (#22471898)
    It notes that the WHO official who raised the alarm...

    Uh... you mean Pete Townshend?
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:14AM (#22471920)
    --------------------
    William H Gates, III
    --------------------
    CATHERDER
    billg@phdsrnotrouble.org
    --------------------
  • Doesn't allow all the scientist into its group for funding. I really don't see anything with wrong with that, they just pick the people they feel are the best for the job and provide funding... Prior to gates coming in with the money, there was no real funding of drugs. Also, I recently read somewhere that drugs were going to manufactured so they could be affordable or free... ie priced like generics.
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @01:32AM (#22472010)
    So that's why booster shots are now called Service Packs in Africa.
  • The Gates Foundation can operate however it pleases. If you don't like it, then let the heads of SourceForge Inc (owners of slashdot), Google, Apple, Red Hat, Ubuntu, or some other slashdot-approved entity start their own foundation and they can operate it more in keeping with slashdot's principles.

    (Of course the only slashdot "principle" here is "Gates = evil"; a foundation run by ESR or Steve Jobs (yeah, that'll be the day) that operated in the exact same manner as the Gates Foundation wouldn't be ripped
  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @02:49AM (#22472358)
    Argh!

    I ran across a rumor about the Gates Foundation using its muscle to persuade a private investor to make that $100 million dollar bailout to SCO, and that it was linked to some Saudi Prince.

    But I can't find a single reference to it anywhere. Was I just dreaming? Does anybody have anything on this?

    Although I did run across this item [theregister.co.uk] while searching. . .

    Everyone and his dog knows that corporate philanthropy is PR, but what is not understood very well in the US is that there should be a certain decency about how it is done. Not so with the Gates Foundation. It uses plenty of professional PR to milk the donations, and the timing certainly correlates with Microsoft's desire to influence public opinion. Microsoft is after all only partly playing to Judge Jackson, where what is in effect special pleading ("we've been naughty, but we've given wagon loads of money to charity by way of a penance" ) is unlikely to prove helpful. Much more important to Microsoft at the moment is a hearts-and-minds campaign and to use the charity card to lull a gullible public into thinking that at heart Microsoft is OK. Former Novell boss Ray Noorda scotched that one when he observed (paraphrasing) that to have a heart-to-heart, you had to have two hearts. Looking at the Foundation's actions over the last six months, and analysing press releases announcing donations, we see that when nothing was happening publicly in April, there were three releases. In May, as things were warming up for the June rebuttal hearings, there were 12 releases. In June, the number shot up to 20, but immediately dropped down to just four in July, when the trial was quiet again. August saw 12 and there were 13 in September, in honour of the findings of fact and the oral hearing. A recent move is an invitation by Craig McCaw of Teledesic (in which Gates and Microsoft have invested significantly) for Nelson Mandela and his new wife to visit Seattle from 7-9 December "to raise awareness of issues in Africa". The press release was jointly issued by Teledesic and the Gates Foundation. You can bet that Mandela will be given a large cheque. This looks like a PR blocking move in case Judge Jackson's Opinion is handed down around that time. As has been said before, charity begins in the home PC. Several hundred million PC users around the world have been a victim of Microsoft's monopoly exploitation, pricing policies and software quality. This charity money comes from these users - us - yet we have no say in what happens to it. Microsoft is indeed a world leader -- in exploiting philanthropy.


    -FL

  • Should be noted that (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @03:02AM (#22472400)
    ...the B & G Foundation/MS statistically donates less money than most all other US corporate behemoths. It acts more like a giant investment fund rather than a savior.

    Quote from the LA Times, Jan, 2007: "the Los Angeles Times looked into how the foundation invests some of the billions of dollars that are in the portfolio of the world's largest charity, and it found a number of instances -- perhaps 41 percent of that portfolio -- in which the foundation has invested in companies that have policies that actively undermine the social welfare goals of the foundation."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Eukariote (881204)

      in which the foundation has invested in companies that have policies that actively undermine the social welfare goals of the foundation

      And that is not coincidental. The publically stated goals of the foundation serve to hide its actual agenda. To learn more about the actual agenda of the Gates Foundatation, watch this shocking presentation: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6890106663412840646 [google.com]

      • The video linked to by parent is complete quackery. The autism-vaccine link has been thoroughly disproven [alertnet.org] many times now. In countries where vaccinations are not combined or where vaccines do not contain thimerosal (e.g. Denmark [nih.gov], Japan [findarticles.com]), autism rates rise as much as anywhere else; the obvious and correct explanation is better diagnosis and a significant loosening of diagnostic criteria. Contrary to what the "doctor" in the video claims, most autistics do not have anything like the gastroenteritis symptoms t
        • The autism-vaccine link has been thoroughly disproven many times now.

          It has not been disproven. Studies have been done that show an epidemiologic link. Other studies have been done that claim there is no link whatsoever. The authors of the latter studies were often found to have close links with the pharmaceutical industry. The statistics employed in these "nothing to see here, please move a long" studies are often highly questionable.

          As to David Ayoub, as opposed to what you suggest, he is a qualified

  • If only there was another billion dollar organisation funding medical research into diseases in the poorer areas of the world... Oh wait: http://google.org/predict.html [google.org]
  • Charity has always had the problem that the person performing the charity will invariably attach some conditions to the charity. The simplest clearest example is religion related charity. Take for instance orphans raised by the catholic church. Yes ain't we nice, we raise these kids society has ignored. Why yes, offcourse we raise them as catholics, why do you ask?

    It is not evil perse, there is nothing wrong with a catholic upbringing and since the religion apparently is 'good' enough to donate money to th

    • by hyades1 (1149581)

      The problem is that many people have a sloppy definition of charity. Basically, if there's strings attached, it isn't charity. It's self-promotion.

      My favourite example of this is Ronald McDonald House. There's no doubt that the service they provide is absolutely vital; they give families of children undergoing cancer treatment a place to stay that's near the hospital.

      No matter how vociferously they claim otherwise, though, they aren't really a charity in the true sense of the word. In fact, they're

  • It's private money. As far as I am concerned those scientists could be hired by the foundation full time. As long as their drugs are approved by FDA or another independent organization for treatment of malaria, I do not care. I also do not care if they are created their private WHO.

    It's not about "freedom of science", it's about results. If WHO or another governmental or intergovernmental organization thinks that their principles of funding could do better, go ahead, raise your budget, apply your rules.

It's a poor workman who blames his tools.

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