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Melinda Gates Pledges $560 Million For Contraception 451

Posted by samzenpus
from the greater-good dept.
theodp writes "Melinda Gates has pledged $560 million as part of a campaign to expand access to contraception for women. From the article: 'The funding commitment was unveiled on Wednesday at the London Summit on Family Planning alongside pledges totaling $4.3 billion from the British government and leaders from African nations wrestling with the health and social problems brought on by high rates of unplanned pregnancy.'"
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Melinda Gates Pledges $560 Million For Contraception

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  • by Art Popp (29075) * on Thursday July 12, 2012 @03:53AM (#40625491)

    Kidding aside.

    She and her husband continue to show the best side of capitalism. For those that assume that wealth necessarily leads to avarice, it's delightful to me to see the Gates Foundation making that case more difficult to prove.

    To hear her explain the contraception issue:

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/415947/june-27-2012/melinda-gates [colbertnation.com]

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:12AM (#40625579)

      She and her husband continue to show the best side of capitalism.

      Err, it's not capitalism at all. It's charity. Charity is a bandaid over the wounds of capitalism.

      Of course it's better to do this than to squander the money, just as it's right to help up a man who keeps falling over. But you're still treating the symptom, not the cause.

      • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @05:10AM (#40625869)
        Erm - I don't think not fucking is going to happen. The cause is for most normal people, immutable.
        My TAX money is going towards this. One part of me asks why I have to support this. But the even louder part says, could I really ask as a guy not to fuck because he lives in a poor place with no chance of getting out. Fucking is the only free fun he has. If I have to pay the price of a beer once a year so some people can fuck and not die then I'm really ok with that.
        Here have two beers and fuck her one from me.
      • by elp (45629)

        And the solution to capitalism is?

        I keep hearing "OMG capitalism is teh evil!", but I've yet to hear of an alternative that's even half way plausible. Humans are by nature greedy and lazy.

        • by Nursie (632944)

          That's because it's very much like current democracy - it's the worst system except for all the others we've come up with.

        • by Tom (822) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:23AM (#40626231) Homepage Journal

          And the solution to capitalism is?

          Realizing that capitalism is an economic system, not a religion. It does not cover all of human existence nor all of societies needs. It covers the production and distribution of for-profit goods and services, and that is it.

          Art, health care, police, firefighters and other disaster prevention, education, public transport, communications, housing and other basics (energy, water, food, etc.) go beyond what capitalism can provide. This is where the better mix is some parts capitalism, some parts something else - whatever you want to call it.

          Unless, of course, you agree that people dying of thirst in the streets because the market has set an optimal price point for water above what they can afford is the kind of world you want to live in. Or that the thieves go free if they pay the police more than you do.

          • by moeinvt (851793) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:33AM (#40626881)

            Capitalism would do a better job with education, housing and healthcare if government would stop introducing massive distortions in the market.

            The three most dysfunctional sectors of our economy from the standpoint of the consumer are housing, higher education and healthcare. Skyrocketing costs for healthcare and education. Students and mortgage borrowers awash in debt with under-valued assets (homes and useless degrees). Millions unable to access basic medical services. Poor price/quality tradeoffs. This is not because "capitalism has failed", it is because government has decided that their central planners can "manage" these things better than the market. They have failed miserably as all central planning systems do.

            Art? Are you F***ing kidding? You're saying that painting, sculpture, theater, music and film would cease to exist without the power of governments? LOL The free market has produced some quite amazing advances in medical technology. If the government would stop its practice of mandates, price controls, cost shifting and barriers to competition, medical services would once again be affordable. Education? Plenty of excellent private schools. If you want the service, pay for it. The free market has been superb with communications. Look at the evolution of cell phone technology. Steadily smaller, faster, cheaper and more capable. Thank $deity government isn't in the cell phone business. Housing? Another government clusterf***. We have an over-abundance of cheap food and I'm confident that we could ensure that people don't die of thirst without having men with guns confiscating our wealth and throwing us in prison.

            • by gtall (79522) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:59AM (#40627077)

              Errr...maybe...but at least for housing, capitalism tanked the U.S. and much of the World's economies. Now, they did have some help in local zoning law changes, government sponsored loan buying agencies. However, it was Wall Street that figured out how to securitize packages of loans and sell them out to the rest of the world. They happened to find ready helpers in the loan rating agencies, which are part of private enterprise.

              And let's not forget the American People, those paradigms of capitalist virtue who flipped houses, took out the equity of their existing houses, got second mortgages, bought houses they could ill-afford but were too stupid to realize it because it would have required they read the loan agreements they were signing.

              There were the private construction companies building McMansions right and left. Private banks all too willing to finance those puffs of capitalist buoyancy. Private real estate agents willing to sell anything to anyone knowing many couldn't possibly afford it.

              And there was the wall between the commercial and investment banks that came tumbling down because the bankers promised to be real good and modern banking required there be free private enterprise, well, golly, everywhere.

              So let's not get all teary eyed over capitalism and housing.

              Oh, and for profit colleges are raping returning servicemen and women blind offering anything to get them to sign on the dotted line. And health care is already privatized. You can tell because if you are unemployed and cannot afford it, you are shit out of luck. That's what capitalism does, it puts a price on everything. And if you cannot afford, you don't get it. Tell that to the fellow who paid his taxes for years until he had no job to pay them with because he got laid off at 50 and no private company will touch him with a ten foot pole.

            • by jellie (949898) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @09:04AM (#40627133)

              The free market has produced some quite amazing advances in medical technology. If the government would stop its practice of mandates, price controls, cost shifting and barriers to competition, medical services would once again be affordable. Education? Plenty of excellent private schools. If you want the service, pay for it. The free market has been superb with communications. Look at the evolution of cell phone technology. Steadily smaller, faster, cheaper and more capable. Thank $deity government isn't in the cell phone business. Housing? Another government clusterf***. We have an over-abundance of cheap food and I'm confident that we could ensure that people don't die of thirst without having men with guns confiscating our wealth and throwing us in prison.

              What? The free market has produced very few advances in medical technology. Many of the advances in the basic sciences (including biochemistry and physics) are sponsored by the government. The same goes for drugs and medical equipment. The free market has actually not developed many items on its own, without piggy-backing on projects that were originally or partially government funded. Interestingly, the government also pays a large portion of the costs of training medical residents.

              Price controls? There aren't any. I used to work at a very large biotech that sold good but absurdly expensive drugs, because there aren't any price controls that prevented it from doing so. And I actually argue for greater barriers to entry in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. There are too many drugs and devices on the market that don't work, and may do more harm than good. One of the first things we learned about in my CS courses was the Therac-25. Additionally, things like metal-on-metal hip replacements should not have been approved, given their high failure rates and higher tendency of causing metal toxicity.

            • by Tom (822) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @10:14AM (#40627679) Homepage Journal

              Capitalism would do a better job with education, housing and healthcare if government would stop introducing massive distortions in the market.

              That's religious dogma, not truth. What evidence we have runs counter to what you claim. The most unregulated health care market (until recently) in the western world was the USA. Every other 1st world country has some kind of public health care. End result: The best, yes, and also the by far most expensive health care in the world.

              Education? You really want to go back to times when the general public couldn't afford schooling? You know, before the government stepped in, made it mandatory and picked up the tab? If you check history, you might notice that those weren't exactly the most progressive times.

              Art? Are you F***ing kidding? You're saying that painting, sculpture, theater, music and film would cease to exist without the power of governments?

              ...speaking of which, I see that education has failed you. Nowhere in my original posting did the word "government" even appear.

              You seem to be stuck in a world where only two things exist: Capitalism and Government. And you seem to think they are opposed. Please don't wake up and never look outside, you would die from the shock.

              Here's a funny thought for you: Capitalism wouldn't exist without a government enforcing it. Because the poor wouldn't respect the food or water prices. They would hit the merchant over the head with sticks and take what they need.

            • by cusco (717999) <brian.bixby@gma i l .com> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @11:25AM (#40628335)
              Gotta love the Libertardians, their ignorance of history is only exceeded by their ignorance of economics. Go back and read some Charles Dickens for a view of the world as you claim it should be run. Ah, the Good Old Days! Damn they were awful.

              I'm confident that we could ensure that people don't die of thirst

              I'm sure you're right, just like in Bolivia where the Santa Cruz water supply was privatized by (IIRC) Bechtel. They jacked up the monthly bill for water higher than most of the people living in the slums made in a month, while reducing the already abysmal service, eliminating much of the maintenance staff as a "cost saving" measure, and breaking ground on a bottled water plant that would have sucked up much of the already limited supply. Eventually the local director of the Aguas de Tunari division had to flee the city in fear of his life
          • by khallow (566160)

            Realizing that capitalism is an economic system, not a religion. It does not cover all of human existence nor all of societies needs. It covers the production and distribution of for-profit goods and services, and that is it.

            Of course, you'd think it was just a matter of understanding or learning. We ignore here that capitalism backed by a moderately regulated market is infrastructure (the missing ingredient in your pablum) that simply works. It's not religion just a few centuries of historical evidence. It's also worth keeping in mind that a lot of the problems that are attributed to capitalism such as "greed" or economic bubbles are problems with any system that has sentient beings of limited knowledge with competing interest

          • exactly

            capitalism is a beast of burden. yolk it and you can plough your land and do great things. let it loose and it runs roughshod over your farm, breaking everything

            you don't worship capitalism, you put it to work: you siphon off the excess capital and do some good with it. what's the alternative? richie rich getting another mansion?

            not that there shouldn't be rich people. but they are rich because of the society they are in. so that society needs to be taken care of

            • by cusco (717999)
              I don't normally correct other peoples' grammar/spelling errors, but your writing is otherwise excellent and using 'yolk' instead of 'yoke' is funny enough that it distracts from your message.
      • Charity is a bandaid over the wounds of capitalism.

        The second top-quality quote to originate from an anonymous Slashdotter. Well done AC, you might have gone down in history if you'd posted with an account.

    • by lightknight (213164) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:17AM (#40625607) Homepage

      I know, it's crazy. The Gates's ability to avoid corruption, with that much power, is a skill I am envious of.

      It's like putting a man on the moon. Our kids are going to think it's all fake.

      • by Chrisq (894406)

        I know, it's crazy. The Gates's ability to avoid corruption, with that much power, is a skill I am envious of.

        Hey, is that you David Cameron?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      She and her husband continue to show the best side of capitalism.

      Hmm, I tend to think capitalism is at it's best at a small scale where there are minimal power imbalances (asymmetry in information, wealth, etc.) - for example, a regular customer at a small family restaurant: in that case, capitalism essentially provides both a framework and an incentive for both parties to be nice to each other.

      On the other hand, I'm not quite sure what charity has to do with capitalism - unless the idea is that pure capitalism inevitably results in massive wealth inequality (i.e. pover

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      Not all billionaires are such [rollingstone.com] decent people. [kochbrothersexposed.com]

      Though, to be honest, if had that kind of dough I'm not sure I wouldn't spend it all on strip clubs and blow and $1300 limited edition video games [bornrich.com].

      But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't run around poisoning small towns for fun and profit.

  • Gotta hand it to her, that's pretty cool.

  • by able1234au (995975) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:22AM (#40625631)

    ... breaking down the religious monopoly on this discussion? Abstinence has been shown to not work, yet it plays to the religious agenda

  • Philanthropy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dark grep (766587) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @04:27AM (#40625653)

    Many may well consider such acts of philanthropy completely altruistic. Whether you agree with the cause or not, only the most cynical of people would view it as 'marketing' or 'self promotion', and even if it actually is that; so what? The people who will benefit from it wont care - it doesn't matter what the motivation for doing it is, the end result is what is important.

    Personally, I think the motivation is truly altruistic and comes from a genuine desire to do good in the world. The point I would make is; anyone 'richer than God' is going to acquire the same philosophy. Why are mega rich people altruistic? Because they can be. When every conceivable want and desire is met, what is left but to be generous to your fellow man?

    I for one would welcome the opportunity to do exactly that myself. If only I had some software I could sell to IBM.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Many may well consider such acts of philanthropy completely altruistic. Whether you agree with the cause or not, only the most cynical of people would view it as 'marketing' or 'self promotion'...

      ...or simply a very wise business decision as a tax shelter. Am I cynical, or am I simply recognizing the most obvious benefit of philanthropy?

      Regardless, your latter point stands. People will benefit from this. Many, many people, and that is ultimately what counts.

      • by Tom (822)

        If you are right about the tax shelter, though, part of the Gates charity bill will be footed by you because those missing taxes have to come from somewhere. Guess who that's going to be.

    • by dgym (584252)
      It isn't just the end result that is important, it is also the means.

      Would we celebrate bank robbers, drug dealers and fraudsters if they were to spend a little of their money on charity? No we wouldn't because that money was gained as the result of illegal and immoral actions.

      While Gates was running Microsoft it was found guilty of abusing its desktop monopoly to take out competition in other markets. Arguably their dominant and stagnant position has set back the computing industry many years. Signif
    • > it doesn't matter what the motivation for doing it is, the end result is what is important.

      For someone who doesn't believe that the motivation matters, you have a very strong opinion on the topic

      > When every conceivable want and desire is met, what is left but to be generous to your fellow man?

      I seriously doubt that the wealthy are free from want and desire. Do you have any evidence to support this unusual idea?

      It seems more likely to me that this is an example of people pursuing other common desire

  • What would YOU do? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @05:23AM (#40625921)
    I'm no fan of abortion for controlling overpopulation, so birth control is the lesser of two evils. To their credit, the Gate's are being pro-human with their fortune, and I wonder what I would do in their position. Do I build bridges, dig wells, hand out laptops? Money/food/supplies sent to poor countries never seems to get to the people in need, getting stolen by corrupt local officials somewhere along the distribution line. So, if you were in the Gate's position, how would YOU spend your money for the common good?
    • by Tom (822) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:11AM (#40626167) Homepage Journal

      So, if you were in the Gate's position, how would YOU spend your money for the common good?

      Give it back to the people I stole it from through monopoly rent and hope that at least some of the additional damage I've done to the economy can still be undone.

      Do Economy 101 again and listen carefully on the part about monopolies.

      • by cusco (717999)
        You apparently aren't old enough to remember the world of computing before the industry standardized on MS software for the desktop. My mom's coworker had three computers on her desk, a Wang word processor, a CP/M machine that ran their accounting software, and some awful IBM monster that was their customer database. To send a bill for services she had to open the customer database, type the customer number into the CP/M machine, and with those two screens open type all the information into the word proce
    • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday July 12, 2012 @06:15AM (#40626183) Homepage
      I'd spend it on institutional development. Fund anti-bribery agencies, pay for policy development in countries that can't afford it, endow independent newspapers, fund education abroad for future leaders. In short, give countries the tools to create the structures that allow real economic development.
  • About 21,000 days too late, by my reckoning.

  • See, it's this sort of thing that makes me wonder if Microsoft was worth it after all.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @08:43AM (#40626943)

    While many say that there are great famines in Africa, they still have the fastest growing population among the continents. The biggest problem of Africa is overpopulation.

  • by XB-70 (812342) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @09:33AM (#40627373)
    Melinda: "Bill, I need some money for contraception."

    Bill: "But, Honey, we already have three kids and we can afford as many more as we'd like."

    Melinda: "It's the masses. They're clogging up the roads."

    Bill: "But, we have helicopters."

    Melinda: "They're breeding like locusts. Soon, there will be nothing left of the planet."

    Bill: "Then, we'll have it all to ourselves."

    Melinda: "No one will be left to by Microsoft products."

    Bill: "Here's 590 Million."

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