POLLY JONES, via Kevin Smith, kevin.smith at globaljustice.org.
Jones is the head of campaigns and policy at Global Justice Now, which just released a 54-page report titled, “Gated Development – is the Gates Foundations always a force for good?” [PDF]
She said: “The Gates Foundation has rapidly become the most influential actor in the world of global health and agricultural policies, but there’s no oversight or accountability in how that influence is managed. This concentration of power and influence is even more problematic when you consider that the philanthropic vision of the Gates Foundation seems to be largely based on the values of corporate America. The foundation is relentlessly promoting big business-based initiatives such as industrial agriculture, private health care and education. But these are all potentially exacerbating the problems of poverty and lack of access to basic resources that the foundation is supposed to be alleviating.”
The group states that the foundation is “dangerously and unaccountably distorting the direction of international development,” leveling the following specific criticisms:
* “The relationship between the money that the foundation has to give away and Microsoft’s tax practices. A 2012 report from the U.S. Senate found that Microsoft’s use of offshore subsidiaries enabled it to avoid taxes of $4.5 billion — a sum greater than the BMGF’s annual grant making ($3.6 billion in 2014).
* “The close relationship that BMGF has with many corporations whose role and policies contribute to ongoing poverty. Not only is BMGF profiting from numerous investments in a series of controversial companies which contribute to economic and social injustice, it is also actively supporting a series of those companies, including Monsanto, Dupont and Bayer through a variety of pro-corporate initiatives around the world.
* “The foundation’s promotion of industrial agriculture across Africa, pushing for the adoption of GM [genetically modified], patented seed systems and chemical fertilizers, all of which undermine existing sustainable, small-scale farming that is providing the vast majority of food security across the continent.
* “The foundation’s promotion of projects around the world pushing private healthcare and education. Numerous agencies have raised concerns that such projects exacerbate inequality and undermine the universal provision of such basic human necessities.
* “BMGF’s funding of a series of vaccine programs that have reportedly lead to illnesses or even deaths with little official or media scrutiny.”