Bill Gates Foundation Investing In Monsanto?

from the that's-not-innovation dept

This is unfortunate. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has certainly been hard at work trying to improve healthcare around the world, but the latest news is that the Foundation has decided to invest in Monsanto, a company famous for widely abusing intellectual property laws to make people a lot less healthy, to increase the cost of some key foods important to feeding the hungry and to generally scare researchers from sharing important information with one another, for fear that it will be patented and locked up. If the Foundation really believes in making people around the globe healthier, it wouldn’t be investing in Monsanto, but working hard to break down the barriers that Monsanto has put up to making people around the world healthy.

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Companies: bill and melinda gates foundation, monsanto

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Comments on “Bill Gates Foundation Investing In Monsanto?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I know a man who invests in corporations that he doesn’t like so he can go to the shareholder meetings and vote for change.

That reminds me of the story of the preacher caught in bed with the prostitute. He said it was just his way of reaching prostitutes to preach to them on the evils of prostitution.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Maybe a change is at hand

Just because he does not control the majority of shares does not mean he can’t change the direction the company moves in.

Saying that he couldn’t change the company because he only owns a fraction of it is like saying that your favorite or most hated news talk show host can’t influence an election because he only has 1 vote on election day.

If Warren Buffet owned a signle share of a company, I’d pay more attention to what he said than a mindless board member who owned 10% of it.

All that being said, I’m reserving judgement on this until I see what happens.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why the animus towards Monsanto? Is railing against a company that seems to be successful in coming up with new products that increase crop yields the new “internet sport”?

It’s got nothing to do with coming up with successful new products. We’re all for that and support it whenever possible.

What we have a *SERIOUS* problem with is the way Monsanto grossly abused patent laws to effectively lock farmers into using its higher cost seeds, blocked them from (as they’ve done since farming began) collecting their own seeds and replanting them, and even going after farmers who had Monsanto seeds blow onto their property.

I have nothing against successful products. I have tremendous problems with a company abusing patents in such a manner.

You don’t?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I can’t tell if you’re serious, or just a spin doctor at work.

There’s absolutely nothing “new” about Monsanto being criticized. I mean, several decades worth of criticisms over business practices, controversies over government bribery, and charges of pollution and false advertising certainly aren’t anything to scoff at.

Oh, but they made a product that “increases crop yields”, so they must be good.

…Man, that’s such a spin phrase…doesn’t even say that food production has increased or is cheaper. It’s like, “don’t hate on us, we did something cool”.

Dohn Joe (user link) says:

Ha! Don't make me laugh!

…almost warms your heart…that never ending generosity. After all, Bill isn’t into hoarding money at anyone else’s expense, right? He wouldn’t do anything like sucker the ever-so-naive Canadian Government into doling out $111,000,000 to his own investment, would he?

Oh…wait…what was the Canadian Government’s policy on “Intellectual Property” developed with taxpayer dollars? Here’s a refresher:
(See the third section titled: Accelerated commercialization and adoption of innovative processes and products by Canadian organizations)

Because, you know, Bill Gates would never be a greedy monopolist out to use “IP Laws” to hijack everyone’s wealth, right? Foundation my a$$! He’s just dumped software because he’s smelled where the REAL money’s at!!

Then there’s the malthusian agenda (see the youtube video). Why is it that the world’s largest parasites can’t free up the most resources by “depopulating” themselves first?

theBlueSage (profile) says:

Re: Re:

ugh. This AC must be a Monsanto rep/voice/lobbyist. Just because you come up with a way to make money and can fend off people who don’t like that way you do it doesn’t mean that it is okay to do. The whole point of a society is that it has a notion of social conscience. When a company like Monsanto destroys natural seed gene pools (Corn in South America) while suing out of existence farmers who have had GM seeds wind carried onto their property, then they need to be held accountable. If the rules were as simple as you wish them to be, there would be no law, and no social conscience. And therefore no society. There again the mere fact that you are hiding behind the Anonymous Coward way of posting here leads me to believe you are either under the age of consent, or a lackey for Monsanto.

Anonymous Coward says:

Killing the poor with genetic crops?

‘Then there’s the malthusian agenda (see the youtube video). Why is it that the world’s largest parasites can’t free up the most resources by “depopulating” themselves first?’

Your saying Gates was planning on killing or stopping repoduction using vaccines and now what? He has given up on that because he thinks it can be done with genetic crops from monsanto?

Right…let’s get the tinfoil hats out everyone! Ever thought that he’s trying to solve the world’s problems? He has enough money so thats what he does now!

Before Microsoft there was no computers and look what he did! Now there’s a computer on every desk like he planned and our lives are way better than they were in the 80’s!

You people who post this crap are just a bunch of technology haters/fearers!

MIchael says:

Monsanto is evil

Under the guise of helping cure the world of hunger, Monsanto is actually on the brink of starving us all… their genetically modified seed grows crops that are (were) resistant to round-up, their pesticide. These modified crops spread their pollen and contaminate nearby crops, causing them to become modified. The thing with the modified plants is this: not only are they resistant to round-up, they REQUIRE it to live. In the last few years the weeds are becoming resistant to round-up as well, causing farmers to apply round-up and several other herbacides in order to maintain their crops. The weeds are too strong for most pesticides, and the Monsanto crops are killing off many native plant life and crops, including having already made extinct several varieties of Mexican corn. If it continues the way it is going, eventually the 80% of the crops that are modified (thats where we sit now) will all self destruct because of the out of control mutations, and we will find ourselves in a global food crisis. Worst part is, they sue anyone who talks about it, and sue the farmers who try to get away from them and not many people even know about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Monsanto is evil

In the last few years the weeds are becoming resistant to round-up as well, causing farmers to apply round-up and several other herbacides in order to maintain their crops.

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if Monsanto’s competitors actually created Roundup resistant genetically modified weeds. If those then got loose, it seems that it could pretty much wipe out the market for both Roundup and Monsanto’s seeds.

Monsanto could also do the same to its competitors (if it hasn’t already), leaving the farmers caught in the crossfire of a never-ending war between new super-weeds and the new super-herbicides needed to control them. Of course, that’s an old business model: create the problem and then sell the solution.

truthseeker says:


Okay folks the real reason the Gates Foundation invested in Monsanto is so that he can more effeciently carry out his lust for de-population. Vaccines require consent and a jab in the arm. Gates is simply going to circumvent this by putting the vaccine into your food and “voila” everyone will be vaccinated with god knows what. One thing for sure will be in there is a steralant to prevent reproduction. Evil plans from an evil genius.

Chris says:

Gates is a eugenecist who wants to reduce the population of the world by 18% at least. The video of him sayng this is not hard to find. Eugencists advocate forced sterilization, vaccination and genetically modified foods as ways to do away with enough of us so that the survivors will have adequate access to goods and services. They would also like to genetically engineer the bad traits out of humans, producing what some (like that guy with the funny moustache…what was his name again?) would call a master race.

Federico says:

What does the Gates foundation do with the patents it collects?

In 2013 the Gates foundation was still making some "curious" investments:

Of course they can’t avoid having some Coca Cola when their money largely comes from Warren Buffett and shares of Berkshire, whose entire theory of investment is based on "moats".

On to describe their investment strategy claim that «The majority of these equity investments […] include investing in novel vaccine and therapeutic platforms, developing improved diagnostics, and strengthening agriculture and health delivery systems. The Foundation has also made equity investments in support of U.S. education.»
In other words they invest in the sectors of some of the worst profiteers, pharma, agri-business and private education?

From the most recent financial statements of the Trust they have some 12 G$ in Berkshire, plus 7 G$ in "industrials" and 5 G$ in "consumer goods" which might be anything. The MSCI World Industrials index has a market cap of less than 5 T$ so Gates foundation may own some 0.1 % on average. Nobody seems to own as much of Bayer:

Yet, the Gates foundation appeares to promote so called "intellectual property" by encouraging inventors to use it "properly":

They ask to receive a non-exclusive license, sublicenseable, and they don’t exclude getting royalties for them. The apparent objective is to be able to grant "humanitarian licenses":

That can make sense: it’s better if more entities have licenses and use them, unlike the NIH which funds inventions and then lets companies rip off the heathcare system:

Yet, Bill Gates appears to oppose the healthcare plan which includes provisions for statutory licensing/compulsory licenses (the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act is mentioned)

So, after the Monsanto debacle a few questions remain.
1) Is the Gates foundation still investing in/profiting from companies which profit from making people more ill?
2) Is there any evidence of the Gates foundation using one of its (licenses to) patents to expand affordable access somewhere?
3) Did the Gates foundation oppose or support EFF’s initiative "Reclaim Invention" and Public Interest Patent Pledge/PIPP ?
4) Did the Gates foundation oppose or support efforts such as the compulsory licensing scheme in India, which faced oppositions and blackmailing from multinationals for decades and finally issued its first compulsory license in 2012 for a Bayer drug (Sorafenib)?
5) Did the Gates foundation ever support or oppose efforts to instate similar compulsory licensing schemes in the USA?

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