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Microsoft Science

Gates Pledges $750M to Vaccinate Children 1251

chriskzoo5 writes "The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is pledging $750M to vaccinate children worldwide over the next 10 years. Much maligned for his business practices, is this proof that sometimes the ends justify the means? Let's see if the Linux community can match his generosity."
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Gates Pledges $750M to Vaccinate Children

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  • by blastedtokyo ( 540215 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:10AM (#11466565)
    No you can't, the child's dead before they might possibly be productive (let alone afford) a computer.

    Because if the child's not vaccinated, there's a good chance they'll be one of the 10 million who die every year before the age of 5 (source: /TPStory/LAC/20050125/VACCINE25/TPInternational/Eu rope).

  • Re:Small Percentage (Score:2, Informative)

    by scrub76 ( 637816 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:31AM (#11466739) Homepage
    This is a ridiculous statement. And one that is categorically wrong. The fact of the matter is that the Gates Foundation is doing an enormous amount of good work *and donating huge amounts of money in the process*. In the four years since it was established, the Gates Foundation has established a $27 Billion endowment. The 750m is only the most recent announcement. You could make a reasonable case that the Gates Foundation's impact on public health may eventually rival that of the World Health Organization's.

    It is all well and good to say that "if I had that sort of money, I'd donate huge amounts of it too", but he is actually doing it. If you are an American (or Canadian, or Western European, or reading /. pretty much anywhere), then you likely *are* affluant consiering that a full half the world's population lives on less than $2 per day ( asp). And we (as affluant societies) could and should do more to help close this gap.

  • Re:Er (Score:2, Informative)

    by rbarreira ( 836272 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:31AM (#11466745) Homepage
    Well, in the article I see:

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (news - web sites) said the money would go to the Geneva-based Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI), a partner of the World Health Organisation.

    "GAVI will use the funds announced today to support national immunization programs in 72 of the worlds poorest countries," he said in a statement. "Supporting childrens immunization is undoubtedly the best investment weve ever made."

    Gates also appealed to other donors to plug the gap in financing vaccination programmes for children in developing countries.

    That's enough for me...
  • Re:Small Percentage (Score:3, Informative)

    by Malfourmed ( 633699 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:45AM (#11466844) Homepage
    Okay let's say Bill is worth 50 billion dollars on paper. 750 million is something like 1.5% of his total worth? Is this a huge amount for him?

    Let's put it this way. One individual (via a Foundation, granted) donated considerably more to charity than the entire US government committed in aid for the recent tsunami disaster. Also more than the entire US population gave in private donations for that same disaster.
  • by jacobcaz ( 91509 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:45AM (#11466846) Homepage
    • Carnegie, Rockefeller, Mellon, and now Gates... The robber baron syndrome. It helps them psychologically deal with the things they've done to become super-wealthy.
    Actually, these people became super-rich because they know how to give their money to useful causes. Check out books like "The Richest Man in Babylon" [] by George S. Clason or just about any book by Napoleon Hill [] (Deepak Chopra [] is another good one, but some people get turned off because he's not as "western" of a writer).

    You gotta give it to get it brother. And when Carnegie, Rockefeller, Gates, Morgan, etc. give they can give big.

    There ain't nothing wrong with wealth! It's the rentless pursuing of wealth with no other purpose than to build riches that's wrong. Gate's wealth is a by product of his desire for a "computer on every desktop." The wealth is a result of filling a need (and a few predatory practices by the company he founded, I'll admit that). But look at every uber-wealthy person out there and most will fit Gate's M.O. - they were trying to fullfill a vision, the wealth just sorta tagged along.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @08:45AM (#11466847)
    let me let you in on a little secret about Bill and MelindaGates so-called "Foundation." Gate's demi-trillionaire status is basedon a nasty little monopoly-protecting trade treaty called "TRIPS" - theTrade-Related Intellectual Property Rights rules of the World TradeOrganization. TRIPS gives Gates a hammerlock on computer operatingsystems worldwide, legally granting him a monopoly that the RobberBarons of yore could only dream of. But TRIPS, the rule which helpsGates rule, also bars African governments from buying AIDS, malaria andtuberculosis medicine at cheap market prices.

    Example: in June 2000, at the urging of Big Pharma, Bill Clintonthreatened trade sanctions against Argentina for that nation's daring tooffer low-cost drugs to Southern Africa.

    Gates knows darn well that the "intellectual property rights" laws suchas TRIPS - which keep him and Melinda richer than Saddam and the Mafiacombined -- are under attack by Nelson Mandela and front-line doctorstrying to get cheap drugs to the 23 million Africans sick with the AIDSvirus. Gate's brilliant and self-serving solution: he's spending anitsy-bitsy part of his monopoly profits (the $6 billion spent by Gates'foundation is less than 2% of his net worth) to buy some drugs for afraction of the dying. The bully billionaire's "philanthropic"organization is currently working paw-in-claw with the bigpharmaceutical companies in support of the blockade on cheap drugshipments.

    Gates' game is given away by the fact that his Foundation has invested$200 million in the very drug companies stopping the shipment oflow-cost AIDS drugs to Africa.

    Gates says his plan is to reach one million people with medicine by theend of the decade. Another way to read it: he's locking in a tradesystem that will block the delivery of cheap medicine to over 20million.

    The computer magnate's scheme has a powerful ally. "The president couldhave been reading from a script prepared by Mr. Gates," enthuses theTimes' cub reporter, referring to Mr. Bush's AIDS plan offered up thisweek to skeptical Africans. The US press does not understand whyAfricans don't jump for Bush's generous offer. None note that the moneyheld out to the continent's desperate nations has strings attached or,more accurately, chains and manacles. The billions offered are mostlyloans at full interest which may be used only to buy patent drugs at aprice several times that available from other nations. What Africanswant, an end to the devastating tyranny of TRIPS and other trade rules,is dismissed by the Liberator of Baghdad.

    We are all serfs on Microsoft's and Big Pharma's 'intellectualproperty.' If Gates' fake philanthropy eviscerates the movement to freeAfricans from the tyranny of TRIPS, then Bill and Melinda's donationscould have the effect of killing more Africans than then even their PRagents claim they have saved. And for our own Republic, we can onlyhope that when the bully-boy billionaire injects his next wad of lootinto the Bush political campaign, he uses a condom. fm?ItemID =15294
  • Re:Er (Score:2, Informative)

    by Captain Nitpick ( 16515 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:00AM (#11466969)
    But by having hundreds of billions. the 800 million in donations are just a drop in the bucket. thats less then 1 percent. That is like me donation $100 to charity.

    Bill Gates's net worth is currently estimated [] to be around $30 billion. This single donation is about 2.5% of his net worth.

  • by robvs68 ( 560549 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:10AM (#11467057)
    Of course it is great that Bill set up the Gates Foundation to help some of the less fortunate in the world. This indicates that he has some heart. However, it does not necessarily indicate that he cares as much as some may think.

    Consider this:
    Bill's a smart guy and therefore knows that the US government is going to take half of his net worth when he dies. So if he is worth $50B at death, the government gets ~$25B. Realizing this, Bill decides that he'd rather give that money to someone else (ie: the less fortunate in the world). So he creates the Gates Foundation to start siphoning off large chunks of his personal fortune. Let's say, for example, that he ends up giving 80% of his net worth to charity. That's $40B given the assumption above, leaving $5B for the government and $5B for his family.

    Under this scenario Bill's family gets a much smaller piece of the $50B pie, but he probably doesn't feel too guilty about leaving his family a paltry $5B, especially since he is dictating where his money goes, not the government.
  • Re:Er (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:27AM (#11467201)
    I think it is obviously great that he does things like this with his foundation. But I recall reading an article that showed as a percentage of wealth his philathropy is the lowest of the top 100 on the Forbes rich list (but I could be completely wrong in my memory so take my statements for what they are worth - nothing :P).

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:55AM (#11467432)
    Are those genorous offers backed up by tax incentives

    In a word, no. If a person has millions sitting in the bank, he's already paid taxes on it (as income). While it's sitting there, he's earning interest on it, and pays taxes on that, too.

    When some of that money is taken out of the picture, and used to fund a foundation (like the Gates Foundation), it's money that has already been taxed. There are times when money that's donated into something charitable includes a tax deduction... but not for the amount of the donation. Instead, the only taxes you avoid are the taxes that would have been on that money had it not been donated. So, if you earn a thousand dollars, and the tax rate is 25%, you pay $25 in taxes. But if you give half of that money to certain types of charities, you avoid paying taxes on that part of the money... in that case, $12.50. There is no case in which the $500 dollars that was donated is somehow being paid by other tax payers. We're talkig about money that wouldn't have existed (to be taxed or otherwise) unless the person that created that value had done what they had done to earn it. It's a question of if they give up that money (and can no longer use it for themselves, or invest it in businesses, etc) should they pay additional taxes on it or not. In most cases, where the charity can be shown not to be corrupt, etc., those taxes are waived. That's not the same as charging other taxpayers for something out of the blue - it's a matter of having less revenue for the government in exchange for something that government agrees is a good idea, but could not itself find revenue to accomplish.
  • by cluckshot ( 658931 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @09:58AM (#11467457)

    A pirate is still a pirate when he gives money to charity. Bill Gates is worth so much because he defrauded his stockholders in not paying proper returns on investment early on. Bill Gates is a thief because he stole the intellectual property of others. Bill Gates is a Brigand because he used his power to crush those who dared compete in his market. The fact that he gives to charity now is mostly to avoid the taxes on the remainder he claims for himself. Those who know US Tax Code know well what he is doing. He is laying his hands on a fortune and actually preventing the US Government from getting the taxes due on it.

    I know that the Microsoft Defenders will some how accuse or mod this down. But the facts will remain. Bill Gates has practically destroyed the Software Engineering Business. His practices have locked so many doors to any development that programmers were forced to declare war on him by using Linux etc., just to keep the industry running.

    I love the claims about Microsoft and Innovation. Had I not owned Compel software and others I might not know that Power Point was stolen etc. If I had not known about Java being stolen or HTML and XML being captured and the Public License abused by having the processes built in violation of the standards to make them proprietary etc I might have other view. For Bill Gates who was sharing software others wrote to come up and then accuse them from startup of stealing his work etc to now be contributing to Charity and seeing this being excuse to avoid looking at him for who and what he is ... Is horrid!

    But if you look at what the foundation is giving and what it is doing the results are even more awful. His contrabutions are definitely strategically made and for purposes which I think if someone reads the list will be all to obvious. I don't need to say it here. Look it up and follow the footprints. Just don't be fooled by the open stated purposes. Remember that there are powerful people and political purposes behind the money.

  • Re:Er (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @10:06AM (#11467521) 888

    Read this article and then complain about his donations...

    You guys need to do some research before commenting, really.

    "The newspaper reports a study conducted by the The Chronicle of Philanthropy which claims that Bill Gates, for instance, has reduced his donations to the charity sector by more than $3 billion. Last year he was reported to have given $2 billion to charities through the Belinda and Bill gates Foundation. In 2000 he gave more than $5 billion."

    How is that for donations? Still not enough?
  • by kanotspell ( 520779 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @10:40AM (#11467887)
    Modded insightful?!? Come on folks learn to recognize a joke.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <sd_resp2@earthsho[ ] ['d.c' in gap]> on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @10:59AM (#11468089)

    If I wanted to play any video game I wanted, I would have to buy a PSX, PSX2, GameCube, XBox, Gameboy, SNES, Sega, etc etc etc ..... I'm just pointing out that having an OS that an overwhelming majority of people use can be good.

    So you think .....

    This is why the C programming language was created, and ultimately why the Portable Operating Systems Interface Extensions standard was created. Basically, if you write a programme in a properly-supported programming language, it ought to be able to be run on any hardware that is physically capable to run it. Obviously if it does hi-res colour graphics it won't run on something which gets its data in and out via a glorified electric typewriter, but hardware with similar capabilities should be able to handle the task.

    The most widely-supported programming language {measured in terms of different architectures on which it will run} is GNU C++ {which by definition includes C; a C programme is a valid C++ programme} and the GNU project has created the autoconf and automake utilities with the aim of making it easy to manage those final "tweaks" which so often are necessary when adapting a programme from one system to another. Anyone who used 8-bit BASIC in the 1980s will remember trying to get a TRS-80 game to run on a Beeb or a Dragon, or an Oric game onto a Spectrum. Or an APPLE-][ programming language on a Beeb.

    Different processors {e.g. 80486, 68020} have different instruction sets; and different machine architectures based on the same processor {Amiga, early Macintosh} use different support chips and different addressing schemas. So binaries for one system are mostly useless to another system. But the source code from which those binaries were generated should compile and run OK on a different system. e.g. if I want to send a character to the printer I have to read the BUSY line on the port; and then if the port is not busy, I have to write the data bits to the port address, then lower and raise the STROBE line. The port is electronically the same in different machines but probably has a different address in memory/IO space. As long as I write my code in such a way as to use #defined constants for the addresses of the data and control ports and the bit values of the STROBE and BUSY lines, then my code will work on any system with a printer port, as long as I know the proper constants.

    Now, I can make my universal printing programme truly universal by first finding out the important values for as many different machine architectures as possible; then writing a script which asks you {or attempts to determine for itself} what kind of system it is running on, and #includes the relevant #define statements for that architecture in the main programme source code before it compiles it. If I did so properly then it Will Just Work. If anybody else invents a new machine architecture that has a printer port sometime in the future, my programme will work with it as soon as someone creates the relevant include data and {maybe} devises a way that a programme can test for sure if or not it is running on this new kind of machine.

    And if every programme was published in the form of source code, and every hardware manufacturer published the full details of the port-addressing schemas of their hardware, then any programme would work on any machine.

    Now my printing thing is tiny but it proves a concept. Look how many kinds of machine are capable of running Linux. Then look how many kinds of machine are capable of running NetBSD.

    Or, turning it around to look from the other end, by deliberately making computers with different instruction sets and different addressing schemas, and by distributing only the binary code and no source code, manufacturers deliberately and cynically are ensuring that a programme for one architecture cannot be run on another architecture

  • Re:Flamebait (Score:5, Informative)

    by darco ( 514434 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @11:48AM (#11468700) Homepage Journal
    Jesus christ, the guy gives 3/4 of a billion dollars to help children around the world get vaccinations, and all you can do is make accusations?

    You, sir, are a true hater.
  • St. Bill? No. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Famatra ( 669740 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @01:00PM (#11469745) Journal
    "You will see that Bill has given $27 Billion of his $50 Billion fortune"

    Since he is a monopolist, a large portion of that $50 billion was leveraged from the pockets of consumers via using monopoly power to maximize profits.

    There is a perminant loss to society when monopoly power is exercised (called dead weight loss, and is the same loss to society from taxiation). One would also expect that the consumers who would not have had to pay billions extra for this product would have also donated it to charities.

    Its nice that hes doing it, but he is far far away from being St. Bill for the reasons above.
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @01:08PM (#11469853)

    Hope you never get audited! That's simply not true. Only donations to 501(c)(3) and similarly chartered entities are deductable. That's why you can't just donate to a local kid's club and assume that it's deductable. Otherwise, any two people could get together, call themselves a charity, take your money (which you would write off as a deduction), and they'd have income that would be outside of the 501 review process. There's a reason charities have to be registered as such - corruption among fake or non-reporting entities is rampant, otherwise.

    and I was like: "You have never filed taxes, have you?"

    Were you like that, or did you actually say that out loud. I always wonder what people mean when they're "like" something.
  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @01:21PM (#11470045) Homepage
    Yeah... but that doesn't change the fact that this wasn't, proportionally, that huge of a contribution. For example, there was almost a mocking "see if you can match this!" tone in the introduction to the article.

    In 1999, the average US charitable donation was around 2400$. Lets say it's around 2800$ now. I've seen an estimate that there are more than 12 million Linux users worldwide, and it was a bit dated; lets say, then, that there are 5 million Linux users in the US. On average, then, we can expect Linux users to donate 14 billion dollars per year to charity - easily ousting Bill.

    Not that what he's doing with his money is a bad thing, mind you. I'm glad to see that he's not just spending it on frivolous things.
  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2005 @03:00PM (#11471350)
    Microsoft doesn't have a social obligation to do *anything*. If Microsoft (the corporate entity) decides to donate to a charity, fine. There is a tax based reward system in place to make it more enticing to to that, but it doesn't make them obligated.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with Microsoft. This has to do with Bill Gates. RTFA.
  • Easily done (Score:3, Informative)

    by leonbrooks ( 8043 ) <SentByMSBlast-No ...> on Wednesday January 26, 2005 @04:08AM (#11478025) Homepage
    Read here []. Or to put it another way []... my goodness, you really looked hard, didn't you?

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright