Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

I found this L.A. Times article (via this Mother Jones blog) about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's charitable work being negated by the Foundation's investment in companies that undermine their goal of eradicating disease in Africa.

It is interesting how the article points out the importance of intellectual property laws to Microsoft and the Gates Foundation's unwillingness to compromise those laws and advocate for access to generic medicines which could be the single most cost-effective way to aid in the AIDS epidemic. While I believe that the work of the Gates Foundation is, overall, admirable, it is deeply troubling that the poor suffer, essentially, at their own expense.

I also find the reporting in the L.A. Times refreshingly honest about the hypocrisy that undermines the very success of these projects while the Gates Foundation benefits from all of the great media coverage afforded to it. It may be worth targeting Bill Gates, in USAS-style to get the Gates Foundation to uphold some sort of ethical investment provisions...

[BTW, I found the derivation of the term "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" - it is more interesting than I thought...]


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