[Marxism] Howard Berliner on the Gates-Buffett "giveaway"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 11 20:16:36 MDT 2006


The Gates Billions

By Howard Berliner

The recent announcement that Bill Gates is stepping down from his
Microsoft position to play a greater role in his foundation and the
subsequent announcement that Warren Buffet is giving $31 billion to the
foundation (of which he is a board member) has certainly set the
philanthropic world aflutter. The largest foundation ever, with more money
to distribute than the United Nations and largely focused on areas of
public health (both topical and geographic) that get little other support.

In the early 1900's, the gifts of John D. Rockefeller to international
public health not only created the initial schools of public health (
e.g., Johns Hopkins), but also brought new medical discoveries to large
segments of the world that had no other way of obtaining them. The initial
analysis of the Rockefeller gifts was explained in terms of religious
obligations and the needs of the wealthy to help the poor, if only to
further their entrance into heaven. Later analyses, by myself and E.
Richard Brown, among others, looked to the way that the philanthropy eased
the inroads of western business into hostile areas and how the gifts
ultimately led to the expansion of markets.


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