Bill Gates is a household name, known for co-founding Microsoft and now his seemingly never-ending wealth. Bill and his wife Melinda have a foundation called the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that aims to ease the impact and burden of many global issues that the world faces today, so how does Bill justify the billions he has invested in dozens of companies whose very existence causes the issues he is trying to help with his foundation?
The Los Angeles Times exposed the Gates and their conflict of interest between their corporate investments and their attempt to help in areas like Ebocha, Nigeria. The article, titled “Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation,” revealed that although the Foundation was working to vaccinate citizens against polio and measles, many adults and children in the area had bronchitis, asthma, and blurred vision. The cause was said to be the fumes that are expelled from the nearby oil plant owned by Eni, a petroleum giant, with investors like Bill and Melinda Gates.
The reason for the investments in oil companies and other hazardous and contaminative companies is, of course, for profit. While the Gates donate 5% of their net worth every year and put it into their foundation to avoid paying taxes, they invest the other 95% to make gains on the returns of these companies.
The LA Times found that of the $8.7 billion they had invested into big companies with the most recent data at the time, about 41% of those assets had been invested into companies that contradicted the Gates Foundation’s socially-concerned philosophy and goals. Experts that advise large foundations on ethical and policy issues said that the only thing that’s worse than investing in a harmful company is investing only for profit without trying to change the operating ethical structure of the company. The fact that the Gates are using the Gates Foundation’s Trust to make the investments only makes matters that much worse.
Below are graphics that juxtapose the claims made on the Gates Foundation website and the companies that they invest in that counteract these claims to get a better picture of how damaging the investments really are.
What do you think of the Gates investing in destructive companies? Do you think they should be able to profit from it as much as possible, or use the money to actually effect change in the world? Comment your thoughts below!
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