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A Critical Examination of Bill Gates' Philanthropic Record 370

Posted by samzenpus
from the good-but-not-great dept.
sam_handelman writes "The common perception among Slashdotters is that while Bill Gates may cause us some professional difficulties, he makes up for it with an exemplary philanthropic record. His philanthropic efforts may turn out to be not as altruistic as one may think. Edweek, not ordinarily an unfriendly venue for Gates, is running a series of blog post/investigative journalism pieces into what the Gates' foundation is doing, and how it is not always well received by stakeholders."
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A Critical Examination of Bill Gates' Philanthropic Record

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:14AM (#40549931)

    See subject: Anyone that's worked with foundations knows it. I had some dealings with companies that set things like that up for the extremely wealthy whilst I lived in NY City in 2003.

    I.E.-> It's better to spend monies on foundations than face tax penalties that would otherwise ensue. You're probably not that much different, considering you probably have monies in IRA's, property, or business investments!

    * So - Does this make "King Billy" (I call him that out of respect, NOT ridicule & I have for years) some 'evil guy'? No.

    (He's just doing what he has to with HIS monies, and in the most sensible manner possible. Were you in his shoes, would YOU do anything differently with YOUR money? I doubt it.)

    APK

    P.S.=> Conversely, does it make him a 'saint'? No, of course not - he's just a guy managing his money, and he does a good job of that... I like his educational investments the most! apk

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:36AM (#40550117)
      You are absolutely right. Having the choice between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs ways of dealing with wealth I prefer the philanthropic effort/foundation path offered by Bill. To my mind this difference is also what eventually will make Bill stand out as as the greater man. *hides*
    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      Using the many $billions you already have to make more $billions by escaping what little laws might restrain them, that results in harming the health and education (and therefore everything else) in the lives of many millions, perhaps billions, of people - mostly the planet's most vulnerable and already unhealthy/uneducated - that makes you an EVIL guy .

      Which we already knew Gates is, having lived with him butchering our own IT industry for a couple of generations now.

      He's just a guy managing his money by

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @08:17AM (#40550505) Journal

        Well I DID read TFA and basically its just the word "foundation" wrapped around a lobbying group. Surprise surprise, rich people that reach the level of Gates, Jobs, and Ellison are greedy self serving douchebags, news at 11.

        I mean who didn't know that? while I'll give him credit for using what must be a ripped off copy of Job's old RDF when it came to the foundation, seriously guys, who did NOT know the uber rich are greedy soulless self serving douchebags? You see those of us that DO have a soul, and thus a conscience, couldn't actually stomach sitting on billions of dollars while knowing the guy down the street is praying his 92 Dodge stuck on the side of the road will start because if it don't and he misses a day of work he's gonna be homeless, we just couldn't do it.

        Hell I'm not rich by ANY means yet I've given away more computers and more of my time than I could ever count, and not taken a cent off of anything because that is not what it was for it was for making someone else's life a little bit better, for helping some single mom or as I've been doing with the guy downstairs helping a guy who has nothing become computer literate. Has someone like Gates EVER invited someone who had no place to go into his home for Xmas dinner? I doubt it,and before anyone asks yes I have, but I didn't do it for any type of credit or recognition, I did it because it was the right thing to do.

        So while I'm glad the RDF is starting to fail on the foundation I'm frankly not surprised its a greedy self serving foundation because i have yet to see a single one of the billionaires that aren't just as I described, more sociopath than normal person by a LONG shot. Hell Jobs fucked over Woz with the Atari sale and he was supposed to be Jobs best friend and without him he would have never had a company, I'm sure if you looked into Gates and Ellison you'd find just as many cases of them royally fucking over people that were honestly trying to be friendly and help them when they were starting out. The pure unadulterated greed required to get to that level, to truly be one of the 1%, just requires a viciousness that most of us thankfully do not possess.

    • by SuperAlgae (953330) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @09:30AM (#40551353)

      He's just doing what he has to with HIS monies

      No, that's one of the main issues raised by the article. You should go read it-- it's quite interesting. Gates uses his foundation's leverage to direct other charitable funds into projects that support his personal world view. Instead of being chosen by their public merits, the projects are determined by the influence of Gates, and those projects get money from more than just the Gates foundation.

  • by knuthin (2255242) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:18AM (#40549951) Homepage

    A fair amount of Microsoft's money is going to wipe out malaria and polio and shitloads of other diseases, on people from nations who will grow up to use pirated software. No wonder the scumbag stakeholders are pissed.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:28AM (#40550037)

      A fair amount of Microsoft's money is going to wipe out malaria and polio and shitloads of other diseases, on people from nations who will grow up to use pirated software.

      A lot of the Gates Foundation's spending on medicine has served a secondary purpose of bolstering drug patents - they won't spend money on drugs from local generic manufacturers in countries that do not heel to US drug patent laws.

      No wonder the scumbag stakeholders are pissed.

      You seem confused as to the meaning of "stakeholder" - it is not shareholder. It is a term that refers to everyone with an interest in an outcome, not just those with money at risk, but the people who's lives are at risk too - nominally the ones being "helped."

    • No, that's not what it says; in fact, that is the OPPOSITE of what it says.

        STAKEHOLDERS (not Shareholders) is occupy-wallstreet-speak for the people who have some vested interest in the outcome - employees, customers, people in malaria-infested countries, doctors, etc.

        Third world DOCTORS - the recipients of Bill's so-called generosity - are the ones complaining.

    • by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:34AM (#40550097) Journal

      *Stake*holders. As in people with an interest in donations having the best possible impact.

      From TFA: “Donor nations were shocked last month, when UNICEF disclosed that it has been forced to pay artificially elevated prices for vaccines under an arrangement called the Advance Market Commitment, which was brokered by Gates Foundation-dominated GAVI alliance, to greatly increase drug company profits. Stakeholders also worry that industry reports of particular vaccine's effectiveness might be skewed by marketing goals.”

  • Not a strong case (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:20AM (#40549955)

    While it seems credible that some money comes back to Bill Gates, they aren't making a strong case that this would actually be his goal. AFAIK he's getting poorer (less rich) rather than richer now. Also, he would have very little incentive to get even more money other than to pump it back into the foundation. This article does not convince me that this isn't real charity and AFAIK many projects have also been very effective and helpful.

    • Re:Not a strong case (Score:5, Informative)

      by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:58AM (#40550337) Homepage Journal

      Donor nations were shocked last month, when UNICEF disclosed that it has been forced to pay artificially elevated prices for vaccines under an arrangement called the Advance Market Commitment, which was brokered by Gates Foundation-dominated GAVI alliance, to greatly increase drug company profits. Stakeholders also worry that industry reports of particular vaccine's effectiveness might be skewed by marketing goals.

      That part of the article, just one point in it, says that Gates is enriching himself at the expense of the people his charity serves. There are many other points about how his charity's work is counterproductive.

      You're an anonymous coward. I say you work for the Gates Foundation.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're an anonymous coward. I say you work for the Gates Foundation.

        And suddenly you discredited everything you just said.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @09:49AM (#40551579) Journal
      Sorry AC but you are missing the point. When money gets to gates level it is no longer about the money its about the POWER and his foundation has been using their money to ensure the power stays in the hands of multinationals (like MSFT, Monsanto, big pharma) and out of the hands of the people. this ensures the status quo and makes sure USA patents and copyrights will be upheld in these countries which benefits Bill directly, not to mention all the stock I'm sure he has in the other megacorps like Monstanto and big pharma.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:20AM (#40549961)

    Large nonprofit organizations get increasingly likely to be run in questionable ways. The most common failing, of course, is just the usual inefficiency and bureaucracy. But when you're moving around millions or billions of dollars, opportunities for personal interest and corruption are around many corners. As this article notes, nonprofit-corporate partnerships may benefit corporate shareholders, depending on how the partnership is structured (who fronts the money, who benefits, what long-term effects are generated, etc.). And even at levels below official big partnerships, there are always decisions being made: using a contractor here or there, adopting one technology or methodology over another one, etc. It's just really hard to move around billions of dollars without an array of consequences, sometimes intended and sometimes not (and sometimes intended by some people and not intended by others).

  • So basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pionar (620916) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:20AM (#40549965)

    It sounds like Edweek is complaining that the Gates Foundation channels its money through private enterprises to achieve its goals instead of corrupt African dictatorships?

    Why do people think they have a voice in how a private not-for-profit spends their money? The Gates Foundation does a lot of good. This seems like a lot of knocking down the guy on top.

  • by js3 (319268)

    From what I read, instead of handing out money directly.. which just leads to corruption, he is leveraging it in a way that prevents the money from being abused. Free money never works when it comes to aid son.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      From what I read, instead of handing out money directly.. which just leads to corruption, he is leveraging it in a way that prevents the money from being abused.

      That's what the government says when they collect our taxes. Then they go blow up (or otherwise subjugate) brown people with the majority of it so that certain rich people can get richer. Bill Gates stole billions from the industry, and is now managing that money making for-profit investments in things killing the same people he's vaccinating without paying taxes.

    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      You read something different. The article is about how the way Gates hands out the money lets Gates abuse people, and leverages it far more than just his own money. You also don't know anything about the many charities that are free money that does good work.

    • by grcumb (781340) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @08:38AM (#40550701) Homepage Journal

      From what I read, instead of handing out money directly.. which just leads to corruption, he is leveraging it in a way that prevents the money from being abused. Free money never works when it comes to aid son.

      Never say never, son.

      A few years ago, Xanana Gusmao, the Prime Minister of Timor Leste was facing a crisis [imagicity.com]. As a result of the violence leading up to Timor's first free elections, almost 10% of the country (over 100,000 people) ended up in refugee camps. He asked the UN and other aid agencies for advice, and they came up with an 8 year plan at the end of which, the first houses would be built.

      The PM immediately ordered cash payments to all internally displaced people to help them rebuild their homes. It was a partial answer, one that the government admitted would require significant further effort, but the move helped 60,000 people to begin rebuilding within a year.

      The aid agencies went apeshit. They told him that the money would be wasted, stolen, spent on the wrong things, that there would be no way to measure the success, that they wouldn't be able to avoid fraud.... But Xanana insisted. Within two years, the camps were empty.

      In retrospect, it's easy to see why: Nobody wants to live in a camp. The money each person received wasn't enough to build a house, but it was enough to get started. And that's all the encouragement people need.

      William Easterly's Aid Watch [aidwatchers.com] blog also documents studies tracking how direct cash donations to displaced persons in sub-Saharan Africa were used. They found that less than 10% of the money was wasted or somehow misused. That's better than just about every other form of aid in terms of efficiency.

      The moral of the story, therefore, is not that giving money is bad. The moral is that you need to give it to people with the reason and motivation to use it for the right things. I hate to break it to you, but the majority of multi-national corporations lack that motivation.

  • Not Me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:23AM (#40549995) Journal

    The common perception among Slashdotters is that while Bill Gates may cause us some professional difficulties, he makes up for it with an exemplary philanthropic record.

    Not me. I've voiced my concerns [slashdot.org] that are not so warmly received.

    The short of it is that I think what Gates is doing is great but I don't understand why they buy research facilities in America and not Africa [mlive.com] or why all the drug companies that get to sell their cures to Africa are all American [indiatimes.com]. I mean without stability, roads and other infrastructure, Africa is going to constantly need someone else to fix their problems. And the money from the B&G Foundation stays in America invested in American companies that pays out to American companies that provide "cures" for Africa. It will perpetually work that way.

    Imagine aliens landed on Earth, took an assessment of us and were saddened to see war, pollution, poverty, etc. So they say they're going to help us and they buy 10 long range matter transmitters from another alien race and give them to Earth. But if we ask them on how to make the transmitters ourselves they just laugh and say "Please, you're still searching for subatomic particles. Plus, you're just going to use them for war if you can make them. And on top of that, you would have to pay sums you cannot fathom to the alien race who invented these machines. When these break, we'll get you some new ones." Meanwhile they're receiving accolades from the galactic senate and Earth remains full of war, pollution, poverty, etc.

    It's a horrible truth but the one thing Africa has a lot of is humans. Life is cheap there. If you want to reverse that, you need to introduce stability and then farming and then commerce. There are huge areas where crime, corruption and warlords make it impossible to raise crops. Curing malaria is important but it isn't going to stop that from being the hungriest place on Earth. And it's not going to raise the value of human life there. Gates' idea to fix that is to pair up with Monsanto (surprise another American company with tons of IP). Right. I wonder if they'll patent the seeds they breed that grow well in regions of Africa?

    Just like thinking up a new microfinancing system can win you a Nobel Prize [wri.org], ideas on how to make areas secure and stable will go much further for farming in Africa than importing Monsanto seed with terminator genes.

    • Re:Not Me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Blahah (1444607) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:40AM (#40550153)

      1. It would be crazy to try to solve disease by creating research facilities in Africa, when there isn't the infrastructure or educational standard to support to work. Cures will develop much faster in developed nations.
      2. Ditto with American drug companies - which African ones are large and stable enough to handle the work?
      3. You're describing aid programmes with your alien tech analogy, which are flawed for the reason you give. That's not how the Gates Foundation works. I can only speak to their agricultural development work, but it is not similar to an aid programme - they invest heavily in R&D geared towards specific high-impact goals. They are investing the money where they think it will have the highest impact per dollar spent.
      4. I agree about the fundamental problems in Africa, but those aren't the remit of the foundation. They are about developing technological solutions, not about steering political and economic change, which is much less concrete and difficult to engineer. Frankly, whether or not you think it's the major problem, the tech is needed.
      5. MONSANTO DO NOT USE TERMINATOR GENES. NOBODY DOES. It's crazy how many people have this idea, but there have never been seed with terminator genes on the market from any company. The technology *was* developed to an early stage by the USDA and a small agro company, who were later bought out by Monsanto. Monsanto made a public commitment to abandon the terminator technology when they acquired the company.

      The simple fact is that the Green Revolution worked in Asia, it raised nearly 1.5 billion people out of frequent famine. Whether or not it created a perfect system, it got massive humanitarian results. It couldn't have happened if it didn't leverage existing infrastructure including plant breeding and seed companies, as well as agrochemical producers.. The same is true of Africa - if agricultural production is to be massively increased there within a reasonable timeframe, it needs to be done using the best infrastructure we have available, which includes having the world's major seed companies involved in seed production.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        It would be crazy to try to solve disease by creating research facilities in Africa, when there isn't the infrastructure or educational standard to support to work. Cures will develop much faster in developed nations.

        Not all of Africa is warlords and mud huts. Are you racist, or is this just typical ignorance?

        Ditto with American drug companies - which African ones are large and stable enough to handle the work?

        !American != African. Logic fail, kid.

        I can only speak to their agricultural development work, but it is not similar to an aid programme - they invest heavily in R&D geared towards specific high-impact goals.

        And draw human and logistic resources away from other goals that health care professionals are already working on.

        I agree about the fundamental problems in Africa, but those aren't the remit of the foundation.

        Right, if your goal is to spread the dominance of Big Pharma, you don't have to worry about whether people are dying faster than you can vaccinate them. You just give out a bunch of vaccinations, declare MISSION ACCOMPLISHED and move on.

        MONSANTO DO NOT USE TERMINATOR GENES. NOBODY DOES

        Yes, actually, this is one of

        • Re:Not Me (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Blahah (1444607) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @08:40AM (#40550717)

          Not all of Africa is warlords and mud huts. Are you racist, or is this just typical ignorance?

          I never suggested it was. The quality of biological research in most African nations is so bad as to be meaningless when compared with developed countries. It makes no sense to try to tackle the biggest biological challenges of the century using the worst labs and worst educated researchers in the world. It's a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. It's got nothing to do with race.

          !American != African. Logic fail, kid.

          I oversimplified in response to parent, but this was your logic fail. I never asserted that there was a binary choice between African and American, I just used the words used by the parent. The Gates Foundation does not only use American companies - GSK for example are a UK company.

          And draw human and logistic resources away from other goals that health care professionals are already working on.

          Firstly, the GF is trying, as every philanthropic organisation must, to prioritise the most important work. Of course that means some people will work on the more important problems, that's the whole point. They add funding and structure, the work gets done. Secondly, they are primarily *adding* resources to the (African) system, not diverting them.

          Right, if your goal is to spread the dominance of Big Pharma, you don't have to worry about whether people are dying faster than you can vaccinate them. You just give out a bunch of vaccinations, declare MISSION ACCOMPLISHED and move on.

          This is trollish. Perhaps you have not actually read the article or about what work the GF supports, but this isn't it.

          Yes, actually, this is one of the world's great tragedies. The terminator genes can never do worse than decrease yields, and in exchange they would prevent other farmers' fields from being contaminated with Monsanto's IP, which would prevent Monsanto from stealing their land. In fact, we should have demanded that every GMO plant ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD be modified with Monsanto's terminator gene. The down side, bad seed practices. The up side? No accidentally saving seed and getting assraped by Monsanto.

          I don't completely disagree. But what do you mean by 'bad seed practices'? Licensing their technology? I think you misunderstand how the world is being fed - it's by farmers who willingly buy licensed seed because it is more productive and generates higher yields and profits for them than other alternatives. If they want to cheat by breaking the license conditions, they face the legal consequences. Most don't, and they feed the world under that system.

    • Re:Not Me (Score:4, Informative)

      by Xest (935314) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:51AM (#40550245)

      But on the flip side, if it's purely a tax dodge, why does Gates invest so much of his personal time visiting poor parts of the world, and speaking publicly about the issues his foundation is attempting to deal with?

      He'd have no reason to do this if it was a tax dodge, he could just keep to himself and let it do it's thing, but he doesn't, he gets actively involved.

      Maybe they buy research facilities in the US and not Africa because their key focus is on solving the problems they've set as their priorities - like dealing with Malaria. Giving Africa the resources to deal with the problem isn't just a case of building a research centre there - you need a strong talent pool to go with it, which means also building up an education system in the region of the research centre that is on par with Western areas, and then further waiting until the required staff pass through that education system with the skills needed.

      His foundation does fund educational initiatives also, but how does that help them deal with the problems in Africa right now? Funding better education and research centres on the continent is a long term investment - you can't just stick a research centre there and assume it to magically fill up with MIT and Cambridge quality grads - it takes time.

      So what do you suggest as an alternative? set the groundwork and just wait 20 years until that groundwork has flourished to the point it can deal with the problem? or do both- which is precisely what they are doing. Using American talent now, to deal with immediate problems, whilst sowing the seeds for an Africa that can better help itself with these problems through it's funding and investment in education.

      The fact is there are far better tax dodges around, ones that require far less personal effort and involvement if that was the only aim. It may well be that Gates uses his foundation to further the financial fortunes of friends and so forth as a side thing, I'm not denying that, but he clearly has a lot of actual personal interest in solving problems too, and that's far better than merely being a tax dodge, or simply hoarding fortunes for the sake of hoarding which just about every other billionaire does.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:28AM (#40550041)

    This is a bad hatchet-job.

    For example, it demonizes the Gates Foundation for having some partnerships with Monsanto. Without discussing the details of the actual partnership, and the expected status quo, and the change the partnership creates.

    It effectively creates a vast conspiracy of things the author doesn't like. And then blames them on the Gates foundation, because it does some things they don't like. Like their portfolio is in a double-blind trust that can own stock in evil corporations like coca-cola. Which is a fair criticism, buried in the middle of a paragraph halfway down the page. There is some content in here, but it's either buried or so biased that it is like listening to Noam Chomsky.

    And it mentions leverage like it's a dirty word.

    The quality of slashdot is really going downhill when this kind of thing makes it onto the page.

  • by Prof.Phreak (584152) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:32AM (#40550081) Homepage

    Eh, nice try. Consider ``saving as many human lives possible'' being pretty much the only goal, and all starts to fall into place. It's not about making folks happy, or not leveraging, it's about getting the most saved lives for your moneh, using whatever means [if it means using your moneh to get more moneh, good, if it means using your politics to get others to go along with you, good, etc.].

    Heck, it's one of the few non-profits that does things by the numbers. Look around, see what you can do with your $$$ that saves the most lives: identify stuff like malaria, and HIV,... which one kills most folks? malaria. So HIV gets no attention, at least not while other things are much bigger killers.

  • by jholyhead (2505574) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:40AM (#40550149)
    Their problem seems to be that Gates is focussed on building sustainable businesses that can survive after the charity taps get turned off. That bastard!

    Doesn't he realise that he is just supposed to pump money into Africa and hope that amongst the missile launchers and the AK47s, someone manages to smuggle in some penicillin?

    Are we supposed to be shocked that a man who made a huge fortune in the private sector, favours a private sector approach when he is trying to get shit done?
  • Malcolm Gladwell suggested that while Steve Jobs may be forgotten by the history, Bill Gates will be remembered for his philanthropy.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/8/3072368/malcolm-gladwell-bill-gates-steve-jobs-legacy [theverge.com]

  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:45AM (#40550197)

    >Edweek, not ordinarily an unfriendly venue for Gates,

    >not
    >ordinarily
    >unfriendly

    Why. Why do you do this? Why give passive voice such a gigantic hug, kiss and grope up the skirt?

    Do you mean ordinarily friendly, or usually friendly, or friendly with unfriendly articles being the exception? If so, say so. Remove extraneous logical operators and use active voice.

    Your readers will thank you.

    --
    BMO

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Readers who can't handle a double negative are not the desired audience for Slashdot. At least, I don't desire them around here. Too many of them already.

  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @07:54AM (#40550291) Journal

    To prove the Bill & Melinda Foundation isn't perfectly run? To suggest it's a sinister organisation perhaps?

    There's no love for billg here that's for sure but poo-pooing his attempts (however imperfect) at doing good in the world is just petty.

    • by Tom (822) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @12:32PM (#40553933) Homepage Journal

      No, the point is to show that a leopard doesn't change its spots. Gates is still the abusive business man, even when he switches sectors from IT to philantropy. This isn't even news, many reports like this have been appearing for many years now. But they are rarely reported in any mainstream press. Gates is doing an excellent job controlling his public image these days (don't for a second think that someone of his wealth does not employ a small PR staff).

      Basically, the gist is that he uses the foundation money to buy exclusively from companies that he is a shareholder of. Since the foundation is so huge, and he has convinced many others to contribute, so that in many areas his foundation enjoys a monopoly - oh, look, that word again - he can control some of the markets involved, and he does it. And not necessarily to the advantage of the poor and sick.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @08:06AM (#40550407)
    The young people love Bill Gates, but we keep telling them this is NOT the same Bill Gates we grew up with! This is an old Bill Gates whose trying to get into heaven now.

    .
  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @08:35AM (#40550657)

    http://www.deathhousebarber.com/images/jr-647-copy-2.jpg [deathhousebarber.com] (another fine example of philantropy, al capone's soup kitchen)

    Gates is using his fundation to:
    => Remove cash from his taxable income
    => provide a cushy long term job & tax free playground for his descendent
    => invest in feel good actions to boost his cash cow's marketing drive.

    Moreover if I steal your money, or con you out by putting you in a situation where I have a monopoly on something you need it's a crime.
    The fact that I might or might not give it to somebody else does not make it less of a crime, particularly if I cannot claim to be some "robin hood" equalizer if I prefer to steal from the weak and uneducated.

    What is surprising is not that his philanthropic record is criticized, but that there are people who are not raving maniacs or subnormal idiots who didn't realize this earlier.

    In practice churches and philantropic activities should be subjected to a flat rate tax at the highest corporate taxation level.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday July 05, 2012 @10:49AM (#40552401)

    Even if his charities were genuine (which they are only to a very limited degree, as anybody really looking could see early on), how massive counter-innovative work, his arrogance and incompetence pushed on countless people (I will never, ever, understand how Office users put up with this much pain) is staggering. One lifetime is not enough to make up for so much evil, even if he tried really hard. BG is scum did incredible damage without any redeeming qualities in his professional work.

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