(Editor’s note: For more information please visit the website Navdanya International. Thank you.)
he report gathers evidence and throws light on the dangers of philanthro-capitalism, which is boosting the corporate takeover of our seed, agriculture, food, knowledge and global health systems, manipulating information and eroding our democracies. Over the last 30 years it has emerged as a major force, able to derail the international agenda and push our future and the future of our planet towards extinction and ecological collapse.
Throughout the report, we see how the patterns of technocratic solutionism, powered by an unholy alliance between big-capital, science and technology institutions and states, are embodied by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and put into accelerated action through philanthropic development.
Through its various initiatives, sub-organizations, development schemes and funding mechanisms, the Gates weave an intricate web of wide-ranging power and influence, obscured through all its separate strands. The report addresses a large part of this web of power. A power which deliberately ignores the past failures of the very technologies they wish to push, and which disregards any potential problem their initiatives might yield, power focused primarily on profit and market expansion.
This democratic emergency is analysed in detail by leading experts and civil society movements’ leaders, such as Vandana Shiva, Farida Akhter, José Esquinas Alcàzar, Nicoletta Dentico, Fernando Cabaleiro, Seth Itzkan, Dru Jay, Satish Kumar, Jonathan Latham, Aidé Jiménez-Martínez, Chito Medina, Zahra Moloo, Silvia Ribeiro, Adelita San Vicente, Ali Tapsoba, Jim Thomas, Timothy A. Wise.
The report counts on the participation of international organisations and national movements, such as ETC Group, Community Alliance for Global Justice/AGRA Watch, Soil4Climate, Bioscience Resource, GM Watch, Naturaleza de Derechos – Argentina, Masipag – Philippines, Terre à Vie – Burkina Faso, UBINIG – Bangladesh.
Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (India) and President of Navdanya International.
Farida Akhter, founding Executive Director of UBINIG, Bangladesh.
Fernando Cabaleiro, Attorney at law (University of Buenos Aires), Naturaleza de Derechos, Argentina.
Community Alliance for Global Justice/AGRA Watch.
Nicoletta Dentico, journalist, and director of the global health program of Society for International Development (SID).
José Esquinas Alcazar, former Secretary of the FAO Intergovernmental Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and Chairman of the FAO Ethics Committee for Food and Agriculture.
Seth Itzkan, Co-founder and Co-Director of Soil4Climate Inc.
Dru Jay, Coordinator of GeoengineeringMonitor.org, writer and activist in climate justice and Indigenous solidarity movements, based in Montreal, Canada.
Aidé Jiménez-Martínez, MA in Sciences, Director of Regulations of Biosafety, Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, SEMARNAT, Mexico.
Satish Kumar, Founder of Schumacher College, England, UK.
Jonathan Latham, molecular biologist and former genetic engineer. He now edits the website Independent Science News.
Chito Medina, founding member of MASIPAG (Farmers-Scientists Partnership For Development), and former National Coordinator of the network. Associate Professor of environmental science in a leading university in the Philippines.
Zahra Moloo, Kenya, Investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker and researcher on extractive industries, land rights, conservation and security. ETC Group, based in Montreal, Canada.
Silvia Ribeiro, Uruguay, Journalist, lecturer, writer, and educator on emerging technologies, Latin American Director, ETC Group, based in Mexico City.
Adelita San Vicente, Doctor in Agroecology, Director General of the Primary Sector and Natural Resources, SEMARNAT, Mexico.
Tapsoba Ali de Goamma; Human rights activist; Ecologist; President of the Terre A Vie association; Spokesperson for the Collectif Citoyen pour l’Agroécologie (Citizen’s Collective for Agroecology).
Jim Thomas, Co-Executive Director and Researcher, focusing on emerging technologies on human rights, biodiversity, equity, and food systems, ETC Group, currently based in Canada.
Timothy Wise, Senior Advisor at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
ill Gates, as one of the two wealthiest people on the planet with a net worth of nearly 117 billion dollars, has now become the most powerful philanthropist in modern history. Gates first became well known for making technology available on a massive scale through his popularization of the at-home PC through his company Microsoft. Recently, after taking a step back from Microsoft, Gates has taken to reinventing himself as a benevolent philanthropist who uses his technologic influence and private market savvy to solve the world’s most pressing problems through his and his wife’s foundation: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
He is now seen as a coy, generous ‘impatient optimist’ looking to put his money to use helping the world’s poor. But before his full PR makeover and after multiple antitrust lawsuits, Gates held the reputation of a ruthless tech giant, out to strong-arm collaborators, wholly squash competitors, and clear the way from the monopolistic Microsoft empire. A strategy now being exported to influence the global development agenda into alignment with his very specific interests…
Arising from the neoliberal context of both post-structural adjustment policies which left the states of the Global South atrophied, and the steadily decreasing funds to international institutions after the end of the Cold War in the Global North, the door was left wide open for Gates to reinvigorate the international arena as the generous provider of much needed capital.
But this capital is anything but pure.
Once one pierces through the thick PR fog, a pattern starts to emerge of ruthless consolidation of the development agenda and programme. A development strategy reliant on an aggressively imposed consensus through direct influence over all actors of the global development juggernaut- including international institutions, university and international science and research centers, private corporations, and states- and the mentality that any problem can (and should only) be solved through technology, innovation, engineering, and the rules of the private market.
This applies for all areas touched on by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, from areas such as food and agriculture, to health, climate change, education, and the media.
The pattern usually goes something like this: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through their funded media partners, raise an issue of their interest to the global agenda with a proposed technology solution. Once that issue has gained enough traction, they begin to provide seed funding in the form of grants to start-up companies, research institutions and research departments of private companies in order to develop the technology that is intended to solve the problem raised. Sometimes (most of the time) this comes alongside government grants in the countries where the initiatives are launched.
All the while, Gates’ initiatives separate from the foundation, or those they fund in international institutions, begin lobbying and lubricating the regulation process for ease of implementation of this technology and its accompanying strategy. Then, once those two steps are done, commercialization and implementation of the product or technology begins to take place, taken over by private companies who also invested in the start-up or research center.
In this way the Gates’ foundation directly shapes public discourse, steers the imagination toward only his proposed solution, and opens up remote markets for private companies with state subsidies. This is all thinly veiled behind the rhetoric of a humanitarian, development cause, such as increasing income for small farmers, or providing solutions to climate change, providing moral justification to his monopolization of global development for personal technological development.
But as this report details, this consolidation of global development has huge implications. As we shall see, chained to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s million-dollar grants are private corporations and private market interests, the negative feedback loops of a technological solutionism, and the further rotting of legitimacy for international institutions.
This work strategy effectively accelerates the technology research to product pipeline which benefits only the largest private corporations who hold patents on those technologies or have the ability to market them. As we shall see, this notion of blind technological acceleration as the only solutions to the world’s problems holds a complete blind-spot for past failures, or completely unsafe, or untested solutions. It is a mentality of technological determinism or die.
The fact which is completely ignored is that these tech solutions almost always create feedback loops that worsen the original problem.
Thanks to the Coronavirus crisis, the rot that existed in our current world structures came further into evidence. Compounded with an already ongoing climate and ecological crisis, and inequalities, we found ourselves at the boiling point of multiple pre-existing world problems. This makes it extremely tempting to look for immediate solutions to these crises frantically, and blindly.
But this technological solutionist mentality that technology will be able to single-handedly solve complex social problems to create a utopian future, relies on a heavy denial and forgetting of how technology has created and shaped these problems to begin with. The rhetoric of constant ‘progress’ and ‘innovation’ requires the war-like mentality of single targets, and superficial reactionary responses which render past mistakes invisible and past failures irrelevant.
This leads to the accumulation of negative feedback loops of endlessly trying to solve the problem that technological and industrial solutions created in the first place, leaving these unsolved structural problems like a ghost who keeps haunting, just this time with a vengeance.
Throughout this entire report, we see these patterns repeating over and over again, and how this technocratic solutionism, powered by an unholy (or blind) alliance between the science and technology institutions, states, and big capital, are embodied by the Gates’ Foundation and dangerously put into accelerated action through a philanthropic development. Each piece of the puzzle being revealed in international collaboration of this citizen’s report…
Nowhere is this denial more evident than in Gates’ agriculture and gene editing initiatives. Something only possible through his eroding of legitimacy of international agreements such as the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Nagoya protocol, as well as his increased funding and consolidation of CGIAR. All done to have access to the genetic information of the world’s seeds; something irreplaceably necessary for his GMO and gene drive horizons…
The report begins by establishing the mechanisms for this control over seed, allowing us to also peer into the future vision of food and agriculture for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Continue reading “Stop Bill Gates.”