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Gates Foundation Plans To Invest $10B Into Vaccines

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the finally-gates-gets-good-anti-virus dept.

Medicine 477

Endloser writes "Bill Gates is going to invest $10 billion to provide vaccines to people worldwide. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes that vaccines are the way to a better future for the world. So they have decided to make 'the largest pledge ever made by a charitable foundation to a single cause.' This 10-year, 10 billion dollar project is expected to save 8.7 million lives."

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Birth Control (5, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955934)

The "way to a better future for the world" is birth control and education. Don't want to sound cold, but the places with the most human suffering are also the areas with the worst overpopulation vs. the least natural resources. I would hope this component would be very high on the list of any type of aid when addressing suffering and helping to stop the perpetuation of suffering.

Re:Birth Control (-1, Troll)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955974)

Woohoo! Mind control, here we come!

Re:Birth Control (5, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955984)

A population of old people supported by a few young workers isn't going to be particularly viable either. It's a balancing act.

Re:Birth Control (4, Insightful)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956146)

The idea is not to stop producing young workers. The idea is to limit how many you produce so they can be productive young workers. If you currently face a resource shortage, you need to either find a way to increase resources, or reduce the population, or a combination of both.

Active population reduction is generally politically unacceptable, and rationing the mechanism of saving lives to those who are most productive (for some definition of "productive" -- the old may not contribute labor, but they might contribute knowledge and wisdom), only a bit less so.

Still, providing the tools so that such a population can have more options in combating their misery is a good idea.
P
Nevertheless, it is not clear that providing tools that can exacerbate one aspect of their misery (keeping people alive so they can breed more), without also providing tools to counter this problem (abstinence education (like that ever worked), and contraceptive technology (which. surprisingly, encounters cultural resistance)), is all that great.

Re:Birth Control (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956320)

Id like to comment on your bit about abstinence education. I don't think it is totally without merit... it just isn't effective as is. If you could give them the experience of working 50+ hours a week to come home to a screaming brat, and have your money earned already spent before you even get it, just to take care of the child, the population growth would fall real fast.

Sure, you can't really do this for so many obvious reasons, but it is the way people are being educated, not the education idea itself.

Re:Birth Control (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956374)

The idea is not to stop producing young workers. The idea is to limit how many you produce so they can be productive young workers. If you currently face a resource shortage, you need to either find a way to increase resources, or reduce the population, or a combination of both.

Active population reduction is generally politically unacceptable, and rationing the mechanism of saving lives to those who are most productive (for some definition of "productive" -- the old may not contribute labor, but they might contribute knowledge and wisdom), only a bit less so.

Still, providing the tools so that such a population can have more options in combating their misery is a good idea. P Nevertheless, it is not clear that providing tools that can exacerbate one aspect of their misery (keeping people alive so they can breed more), without also providing tools to counter this problem (abstinence education (like that ever worked), and contraceptive technology (which. surprisingly, encounters cultural resistance)), is all that great.

If overpopulation is an issue and you want to truly, effectively do something about it, that's simple. Come up with a version of "the pill" for men. End of population problem.

Of course, you will encounter resistance from what may seem like unlikely sources. Namely, an economic system based on debt and fiat currency cannot continue to expand and remain viable unless the population is increasing.

Re:Birth Control (4, Interesting)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956162)

Birth control doesn't mean no kids, it means planned kids.

Then there is also the issue that Yemen is having, 50% of their population is under the age of 18.

Insightful? No, non-sequiter (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956242)

Another non-viable approach: an ever growing population of any sort, in an environment of limited resources.
You know what else wouldn't be viable? A population of old people supported by NINJA-PANDAS!!!

What does your comment have to do with markdavis's comment? He never said, 'we need to reduce the population through birth control' which is what you seem to be implying. As long as people have a little over a kid apiece on average, there's no problem. People die at every age, and so with replacement rate breeding, there will still be more young people than old people.

Besides, with more old people, there will be more old-people medicine for robots to use as fuel. [nbc.com] The robots can support the old people, because they're made of metal, and robots are strong.

Re:Insightful? No, non-sequiter (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956372)

As long as the average woman has about 2.1 children, there is no problem. However, if you look in the CIA world factbook [cia.gov] , you'll see that 93 countries are not breeding at replacement levels. This includes most of the world's rich countries.

People consume resources. But people also work and produce resources. My point is that having less people doesn't necessarily translate to a richer society. The pie is not fixed in size.

We still need more birth control (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956566)

The pie is not fixed in size

Good point. However, it is also not an infinite pie. Mmmm, infinite pie...

While it's true that many richer nations are not breeding at replacement rate, they all have net population growth due to immigration. We aren't in any danger of your doomsday 'a half dozen four year olds supporting a billion ninety year olds,' scenario any time soon.

So, thanks for the warning, but I still think we need to do a better job of providing more birth control to developing nations, which is what markdavis was saying. Despite having a variably sized pie, more poor, uneducated people won't create more wealth.

I don't think anyone is claiming we need to tell Italy they should be using more birth control, do you?

Re:Birth Control (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956304)

A population of old people supported by a few young workers isn't going to be particularly viable either. It's a balancing act.

Hence why you're supposed to save and take care of yourself. If you didn't have a society built on taking from the young and giving to the old, it wouldn't be an issue at all.

Re:Birth Control (1)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956478)

Saving money isn't the answer. You still need young workers to produce whatever it is you'll need to buy. Otherwise, it doesn't matter how much you have in the bank.

So in other words... (1)

bit9 (1702770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956398)

You mean the United States, circa 2038?

Re:So in other words... (3, Interesting)

qbzzt (11136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956536)

No, the Hispanic immigrants seem to be breeding enough to keep this problem at bay in the US.

Re:Birth Control (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956454)

Renew at 30! (Logan's Run) ... problem solved!

The movie (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956584)

In the book it was 21.

Re:Birth Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956504)

A population of old people supported by a few young workers isn't going to be particularly viable either. It's a balancing act.

There was a movie made in the '70s with Charlton Heston that had a solution for that. Soy-bean something or another...

Re:Birth Control (3, Insightful)

praksys (246544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956578)

It's also a lot easier to sell people on birth control if the long term survival prospects of their children are better.

Suppose each pair of parents wants at least a 95% chance that one of their children will survive to adulthood. If the mortality rate for children is 5% then many parents will settle for one child. On average there may be as few as 0.95 children surviving to adulthood per family, in which case the total population will decline rapidly. If the mortality rate is 50% then most parents will plan to have around 5 children (the probability of all five dying being 0.5^5 = 3%). On average half of all children will still survive to adulthood, so around 2.5 children will survive for each family and the population will grow steadily.

Obviously I've simplified a bit, but it is quite clear that the reduction of infant and child mortality rates is crucial to long term population control.

Re:Birth Control (5, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956004)

Melinda Gates spoke to Charlie Rose about this. She says that the foundation analyzed this question carefully, and came to the conclusion that it is just far far easier for a population to lift itself up out of a cycle of poverty if it doesn't have to deal with disease (both personal and of family members) all the time. It's hard to get an education when you're taking care of a household of polio victims.

Re:Birth Control (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956266)

Personally, I disagree. If you artificially increase the life span of the overpopulation, the problem becomes even more critical, and fast. When each person is having 2, 3, or 4 children, that is doubling, tripling, or quadrupling the population with just ONE generation, and it is exponential. If there were no resources for 1 person, no jobs for 1 person, no healthcare for 1 person, not enough food or land for 1 person, there certainly won't be for numerous soon after.

If you really think someone taking care of a household of polio victims is deprived of opportunity, how much opportunity will they have if that household suddenly became three times as large.

Of course, education and birth control are synergistic- both are needed (and birth control is partially education already, and partially having access to pills, condoms, etc).

Re:Birth Control (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956428)

Exactly. The human population didn't really start exploding until we started being able to control disease through basic sanitation and refridgeration. Disease is what kept the population down.

Re:Birth Control (1)

TBone (5692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956470)

That would be a valid argument if you were talking about increasing lifespan from, say, 50 to 60. Vaccination affects things like, expanding life span from 3 or 4 into the point where they can become productive workers. When you're killing off a significant portion of your population before they ever reach a productive-to-society age, then they become nothing but resource sinks in resources to care for them and time to administer the care. A society that loses so many of its young will never reach the point where it can address work imbalances and the like, because it's stuck trying to grow up, not out.

Re:Birth Control (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956524)

Your personal disagreement doesn't count for squat. This foundation is not just shooting the shit on the internet to decide what to do. They have Mr. Gates' and Mr. Buffett's personal fortunes going into analyzing how to do the most good in the world.

Furthermore, your comprehension of economics seems to be rather inadequate. It's not like there are X jobs in the world, and if you have more than X people the rest are unemployed. It's not like the number of jobs is directly bound by the amount of farmland. In the developed world, an insignificant fraction of the population works in farming these days.

The European economy did not boom during the plague. It's just daft that you are suggesting as much.

A healthy population can build an economy and become a wealthy population. A sick population can't. It's that simple.

Re:Birth Control (1)

cwiegmann24 (1476667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956040)

Well, this has the potential to help that. The places with the most human suffering have a high rate of infant mortality. In order to combat this, people have lots of children. By helping more of their children survive, they may decide to have less. Of course, the healthcare will need to be available to give them condoms or perform vasectomies.

Re:Birth Control (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956370)

But people without education in such regions don't "decide" to have less. They continue to do what is natural- breed. Without some family planning education and available contraception, the population would continue to explode as infant mortality decreased.

Yes, with other types of education, over a long time period, perhaps that area will learn to value having less children. But that could take 50 or 100 years... meanwhile, the suffering continues, just in different ways. I think it is totally irresponsible to artificially help a region with life-prolonging or life-saving aid that doesn't also include some type of birth control education and contraception aid.

Re:Birth Control (4, Informative)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956068)

The problem is actually worse.... The British found this out in India. Fix the disease and infant death through better medicine and clean water, without birth control and massive outreach and education, and people will continue to have 12 babies.

Before modern medicine only 2 or 3 might survive to adult hood. With good medicine, all 12 survive, and the result is mass starvation and poverty.

So I certainly hope that B & M are well aware of history and know that they will have to educate as well as heal.

Re:Birth Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956506)

And just look at the sorry state of affairs that India is in now when compared to most other impoverished nations. I have yet to hear about information technology jobs going to Congo . . .

Re:Birth Control (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956112)

>The "way to a better future for the world" is birth control and education. Don't want to sound cold, but the places with the most human suffering are also the areas with the worst overpopulation

Many, many parts of the US are overpopulated and poor. Should we not allow vaccines, food stamps, welfare, etc in Detroit, Chicago, or LA inner-city areas for the sake of "a better future?" Its incredible the double standard we have for foreigners.

Re:Birth Control (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956412)

Many, many parts of the US are overpopulated and poor. Should we not allow vaccines, food stamps, welfare, etc in Detroit, Chicago, or LA inner-city areas for the sake of "a better future?" Its incredible the double standard we have for foreigners.

It's not incredible. It's the reality, and it has been the reality for a long time. The US has double standards on everything that doesn't support their interest. I believe that's official foreign policy. (And I know that many people in the US don't agree with this policy, although I wonder what they're willing to give up if they really could change it.)

Re:Birth Control (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956456)

I never said we shouldn't allow other types of aid, I just said that birth control SHOULD be high on the list of types of aid provided to such areas.

And yes, I think that absolutely includes areas in the US, too. It doesn't matter what the country or place.

Re:Birth Control (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956222)

You clearly come from a country with low infant mortality where putting your eggs in one basket still yields a high probability of having family around you in your old age. I wouldn't be surprised if the higher the infant mortality rate in an area, the greater the number of children the people are likely to have. It's called redundancy. Of course there are other factors such as social security for elderly people (or lack thereof) that could drive peoples desire for offspring.

Re:Birth Control (5, Interesting)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956248)

Global Problems of Population Growth with Professor Robert Wyman [yale.edu] a Yale uni online course speaks extensively to overpopulation. In the context of this thread the overriding message would be that women need most of all to be given control of their own bodies, especially in terms of birth control. In countries where poor education and overpopulation are prevalent problems most women will say they want as many children as possible, or, that children are a gift from God and therefore every child a gift; but, the same women when questioned in a different context wanted fewer children. The much joked about 2.1 children per couple is close to the replacement level for most populations. Giving women control over their own reproduction cycle will bring down population and likely along with it poverty, under nourishment, disease and lack of education. The lectures are very entertaining.

Re:Birth Control (1)

Eukariote (881204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956284)

You touch on the core of the matter: as explained in this [google.com] presentation, their support of vaccination programs is indeed aimed at population reduction.

Re:Birth Control (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956342)

Just say what you mean. You think 10 billion should go towards sterilization and baby murdering (abortion) instead of towards saving lives through vaccination.

That's what you mean, right zombie? Typical liberal idiot.

Don't vaccinate them, too many will live! Let them die off so the rest of us are better off.

You Obama zombies are fucking idiots. You have gone from being wrong to being absolutely insane.

Follow your own advice and jump off of a cliff with the rest of the Obama zombies who lost the ability to think for themselves and believe everything that comes out of the television.

Re:Birth Control (1, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956344)

That’s the horrible thing about it:
Why do you think most of the stuff we eat, comes from poor countries? Why do many resources come out of the ground of the poorest countries?How does that make sense to you?
The resources are not lacking. Usually, the resources in their ground are incredibly rich. Or there are countries that are basically jungle and fertile ground full of plants, animals, etc.
Not exactly resource-lacking.

But our standard of living is assured by us raping those nations’ resources. And by keeping them from thriving. The WTO plays a major role in this (ask the Yes Men).

Also, if “our economy is bad” (our, not that of the big companies with their record profits), are you going to suggest limiting births?
The reason they have so many children, is nature saying “Well, at least one of them has to survive... right?”
In Africa, many “leaders” are practically company employees...

Do something to help them fight being raped! Then you’re doing something good!
Somalia’s pirates are about the only thing I have seen, that actually fights this. (That’s why many see them as heroes.)
Also, very interesting: I recently found out, that china massively invests in Africa. I wonder how this will turn out. From what I heard, it’s actually pretty good until now.

But I 100% agree on education. But not the indoctrination kind that kids in the “civilized” world get. More a practical, free-thinking, leadership-teaching, high-tech-friendly approach. Because even with no resources left, you could then always learn a language and offer services to foreign countries. Because frankly, if a programmer offers a good service, I don’t care if he previously was a pirate or lived in a mud hut on a garbage dump.

Re:Birth Control (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956548)

What the fuck are you eating? Or are the U.S. and Canada poor countries now?

(See, I mostly eat corn, whether it is still corn, or if it has been processed into sugar or meat, most of my calories come from corn, and then most of the rest come from wheat; a few more come from various fruits and vegetables, but hey, those are mostly grown here too, with the notable exception of bananas).

Re:Birth Control (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956436)

Improve the economic well being of a population and it will shrink.

Re:Birth Control (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956542)

The "way to a better future for the world" is birth control and education.

But spending billions of dollars on birth control won't get you there, unless you plan to use it to put the catholic church out of business. The problems are political. By all means promote education but without political change the education won't be promoting birth control.

Bill is into Vaccine patents these days - (-1, Troll)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30955956)

this is just more of the same sort of "charity" that saw Microsoft giving away "millions" worth of their own software to under-privileged schools

Re:Bill is into Vaccine patents these days - (3, Funny)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956094)

If they come up with a vaccine that cures curmudgeonly-pointless-cynicism, I hope you'll be one of the first in line.

Re:Bill is into Vaccine patents these days - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956096)

Vaccinating the worlds poor is diametricly opposite:

Giving away their software, causes (computer) viruses, and could be contrued as a cruel lock in. Vaccinating is preventing (real world) viruses, and the cruel and debilitating effects.

I'm not waiting for the troll joke:
They can't prevent Viruses on their OS, so they're deciding to fight a battle they have a hope of winning.

Word to Rennt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956176)

Rennt, your statement is asinine. You're simply an overweight bitter virgin living in your mother's basement. What you think doesn't matter, so why not go back to playing WoW, your Burger King shift starts in a few hours.

Re:Word to Rennt (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956460)

Congratulations AC, you really don't have a clue do you?

I'll just direct you to my response to Monkeedude1212 below.

Re:Bill is into Vaccine patents these days - (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956262)

And are you critisizing them for that? What point are you trying to make? Oh, the under-privileged schools are going to be locked into Microsoft's Business Model? Well if they couldn't afford it before than they won't be able to afford it later - so they're in the same spot as they did when they began. On the other hand - they have free proprietary commonly used software for education for as long as its not obsolete. Considering Microsoft Office is THE office productivity package a majority of the world uses, it makes sense that they would want to educate people in its usage.

Now, I know you'll say that they are just doing it to keep their products in the marketshare; and thats true. But that is just good business practice, it isn't underhanded or dirty in anyway. If the free alternatives want to make some ground, maybe they should be promoting their packages in under-privileged schools.

Now, I have been saying for a long time that if Gates just took all his money and spent it wisely he alone could get rid of ONE disease that plagues the Earth, like Malaria. I'm glad to see these initiatives taking place.

Re:Bill is into Vaccine patents these days - (0)

Rennt (582550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956340)

You've got to look at the big picture. If he really wanted to make a difference he would spend the money on researching the drugs and give away the formula for free.

Gate's motivation is profit. He is a heavy supporter of and investor in medicine patents, and has actively fought against allowing struggling countries patent exemptions so they could produce their own vital and life-saving drugs at a locally affordable rate.

By giving away millions of vaccines he is locking the country into dependence on the expensive US market rather then giving them what they really need, cheap medicine.

While we're on the topic of vaccines (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956010)

I saw this in the news today
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/01/28/antivaxxer-movement-leader-found-to-have-acted-unethically/ [discovermagazine.com]

Will this deter Wakefield [the founder of the modern antivaccination movement] and the antivax movement? Ha! Of course not. Note that supporters of Wakefield heckled the GMC members as they read their announcements.

I wonder if developing countries are as paranoid about vaccinations as the 1st world ones are.

Re:While we're on the topic of vaccines (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956066)

>I wonder if developing countries are as paranoid about vaccinations as the 1st world ones are.

Absolutely, partly because of lack of education and partly because religious groups and other Western groups with horrible agendas propagandize things like "Dont use condoms/birth control, its a western plot to control you." Im sure the anti-gay religious people, many of whom go to Africa to help fuel the hate of homosexuals, will dismiss the HIV vaccine as a plot also.

Not sure who will dismiss the malaria vaccine but Im sure humanity has no short of crazies willing to do so. Probably Jenny McCarthy, who gets quite a bit of free air time for her views on shows like Oprah and Tonight Show, but skeptics get almost zero airtime. Funny how that works.

Re:While we're on the topic of vaccines (1)

Asclepius99 (1527727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956322)

Maybe all the fanatics will die out leaving only the sane among us alive? I know, I know, wishful thinking.

Re:While we're on the topic of vaccines (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956160)

I wonder if developing countries are as paranoid about vaccinations as the 1st world ones are.

Many African Americans believe that AIDS was created in a CIA lab and is spread thru the use of vaccinations.

http://www.avert.org/origin-aids-hiv.htm [avert.org]

Africans think this is BS.

"Dr Chris Ouma, head of health programmes for the charity ActionAid Kenya, said that the claims “fly in the face of experience on the ground”."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article884626.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Re:While we're on the topic of vaccines (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956390)

They're worse. Why let the white man inject something into your blood when you can just cure AIDS by raping an infant [scienceinafrica.co.za] ?

Blood Money? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956012)

This is all money earned with anti-competitive business practices that have set free software back decades. Bill Gates should be in penniless and in prison. He is no hero.

Re:Blood Money? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956130)

Richard Stallman touched my junk liberally. Red flag touches!

Re:Blood Money? (2, Insightful)

not already in use (972294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956138)

Totally. You should go tell all the children that would benefit from these vaccinations that you don't support this cause because Microsoft was totally lame for requiring Internet Explorer be installed to properly run Windows.

Fucking OSS people. Seriously, go choke on your beard.

Re:Blood Money? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956500)

Come on troll, you are not allowed to say things that make sense among this group of liberal fucktards.

Just make a bunch of masterbation and porn jokes regardless of the story and you will fit right in with this group of liberal brain farts.

Moving into your parents basements helps too. I think at last check about 90% of slashdotters today are living with their mommy.

Re:Blood Money? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956528)

This should have been moderated "Informative".
Moderators been eating too much RMS toe jam methinks.

Re:Blood Money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956224)

"Blood money"? Seriously?

Get over yourself. Nobody died because IE got integrated into Windows.

Re:Blood Money? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956538)

But the Free Open Source Software movement has been strangled!!!!11

Re:Blood Money? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956314)

This is all money earned with anti-competitive business practices that have set free software back decades.

How exactly has Microsoft set back free software "decades"?

SCO may have set Linux back a few years at most, but more likely just raised awareness about free alternatives as well as setting legal precedent that Linux is indeed free.

Their bluff about patent infringement was called and Microsoft did nothing.

Probably the worst thing Microsoft did against free software was allowing XP to be pirated at an insane amount which lowered demand for free alternatives.

Microsoft may have set back some software decades, but it wasn't the free software movement, it was the companies it bought.

Re:Blood Money? (2, Insightful)

Asclepius99 (1527727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956400)

Warren Buffett donated $30 billion dollars to the B&M Gates Foundation. So it's entirely possible that none of this money is Bill's.*



*Okay, not is not. B&M were getting the $30B in 5% annual increments starting in either 2006 or 2007, but can't we pretend for the sake of hundreds of thousands of live?

Incredible (1, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956016)

This is really incredible. We're going to see a malaria and/or HIV vaccine in our lifetimes partly thanks to people like Gates.

I guess the larger issue is whether these poorer countries can handle having a much lower mortality rate. Probably. I imagine this initiative ties in with others and that these societies probably need more young people than old.

Re:Incredible (1)

Ifni (545998) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956388)

Just looking at the number of expected lives saved, it kind of answers the question "what is left once you are the richest man in the world?". First, you are a billionaire in dollars, then you strive to become a billionaire in lives saved. If that isn't buying your way into Heaven, I don't know what is.

That of course ignores the validity of the estimates, but still, I wish more people in this world measured wealth in terms of "lives saved" or "lives improved" rather than just dollars. Hate on Bill all you like, but selfish or not, this is a noble deed.

they still harmed more by promoting patents (0, Troll)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956028)

That 10 billion dollars are nice, but they're still chump charge compared by the damage the foundation did by promoting patent enforcement. Who cares if you deliver X pieces of drug at the cost of $200 each if you could instead make the drug cost $1, its real manufacturing cost?

The argument about recouping research costs is no longer valid when most of the money goes into marketing instead of research.

Re:they still harmed more by promoting patents (1)

VoiceInTheDesert (1613565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956326)

Really? You're going to pick on his desire to have his patent's enforced because people in a different industry abused the system to the neglect of human lives. I guess the Wright Brothers and Einstein should have an * next to their name too since their work lead to so much death as well.

Re:they still harmed more by promoting patents (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956348)

You forget to add in the R&D used to create said drug, the FDA Fees and costs to get the drug tested and approved. Now add in the Liability costs when shit happens to %.001 of the people taking the drug and are sued into oblivion by the likes of John Edwards and so on.

The real cost of a vaccine is probably closer to $200 per dose than the actual $1 cost to manufacture it.

Now, if you're suggesting we stop R&D, FDA approval process and torts against the vaccine manufacturer then we might be closer to getting your fictional $1/dose vaccine.

It just isn't as simple as you suggest.

Re:they still harmed more by promoting patents (0)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956352)

If you knew anything about the pharmaceutical industry, you'd know that only a small number of the drugs they try to get approved are in fact approved (which means hundreds of billions lost) so yes, the few that get approved need to cost more to keep the company going. There's also the fact that those top notch scientists creating the drugs kind of like to get paid....

Re:they still harmed more by promoting patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956422)

Typical slashdot commie attitude. Creating drugs (like creating software) should be free! Wait no. Neither is free, which is why most serious FOSS developers are on some companies pay roll doing development for dollars. Food isn't free last I checked.

OH yeah? (-1, Offtopic)

not already in use (972294) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956054)

So what. Richard Stallman is donating all leftover toe fungus to starving children in Africa. Suck it Microsoft!

Re:OH yeah? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956510)

So what. Richard Stallman is donating all leftover toe fungus to starving children in Africa. Suck it Microsoft!

Not to mention the fleas he picks out of his beard.

Great news (4, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956070)

I find it hard to believe that people criticize this. What have you done for those people there is what I would like to know? As 'the' human race we should be ashamed that people still die of malaria. If Gates can fix that then Gates is a hero in my book. I don't like his software company and I might not even like the person Gates, but come on people... this is just awesome.

Re:Great news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956306)

If I were to enslave 300 million people and use profits from my slave army to cure a disease would I be a hero? Better to die free than live as a slave in my opinion. Anyone who supports the Gates foundation ignores the immeasurable damage that was done in accumulating that money.

Re:Great news (4, Insightful)

101010_or_0x2A (1001372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956448)

You're an idiot, and theres nothing remotely sensible in your arguments.

The project is not neccessary (2, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956076)

Once you can shoot down mosquitos with lasers [wsj.com] you might not need a vaccine for malaria. Like this we should find technological solutions that make vaccines unnecessary. I am wondering why Bill Gates is funding both initiatives.

Re:The project is not neccessary (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956158)

Yes, the project is necessary.

Look at the map here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Malaria_geographic_distribution_2003.png [wikipedia.org]

How many tens of billions of your anti-mosquito lasers will it take to cover that range of the Earth?

Vaccines are a technological solution.

Re:The project is not neccessary (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956206)

Why use lasers when you can use a mosquito net?

Re:The project is not neccessary (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956386)

A low cost alternative to the laser system would be the good old bug zapper. I'm sure the Gates could afford to throw a few of them in.

Re:The project is not neccessary (1)

bit9 (1702770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956532)

Wow. Who knew someone would actually try that? I thought of that idea 15 years ago, but figured it would be way too costly, not to mention potentially dangerous, even as a garage project.

Big Pharma won't like this... (0, Offtopic)

bfmorgan (839462) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956078)

Big Pharma won't like this. They make money by providing medicines to treat diseases not prevent them.

Re:Big Pharma won't like this... (4, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956178)

Actually more people living longer means more people will need drugs for their longer lifespan.

If "everyone" keels over during infancy there's not much of a window to sell them drugs. Get families that pop out 10+ kids and get them all living to be geriatric and you've got a pharmaceutical gold mine.

Re:Big Pharma won't like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956586)

I thought Capitalism was, profit now?

Re:Big Pharma won't like this... (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956276)

Pharma milks treating rich world's chronic diseases, not the sorts afflicting developing world in subtropics because there is no money in it.

Re:Big Pharma won't like this... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956362)

Uh who do you think is going to receive this so-called 'charitable donation'? Big Pharma wins either way...

Re:Big Pharma won't like this... (2, Informative)

bit9 (1702770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956574)

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to use the phrase "Big Pharma" . At least you didn't go off on the whole autism spiel. I'm getting really tired of hearing that one.

$10B, 8.7M lives saved = $1149 per life (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956114)

I think $1149 worth of primary care medicine or even plain old sanitation in underdeveloped places could save a hell of a lot more lives than that.

Bravo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956132)

For all the slagging that Windows and other MSFT products get here you have to admit that this man is generous and caring to the people at the other end of the spectrum.

Let's see some donations from Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Steve Ballmer and Richard Stalman now!

vaccines against virus's from Bill Gates? (-1, Troll)

Locutus (9039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956168)

He failed at providing a virus immune system in the computer industry so maybe he thinks if he does it in the medical field people will forget about the other failure? In the medical field, it has been proven to work so another failure is unlikely unless people start cutting of the arms where the shots were administered, That'll come later when the Windows logo starts showing up on peoples foreheads.

I'm just looking for a connection to computers and technology here since I didn't see he was helping fund new research, just passing out what's already been done. Nice but why post that in /.?

LoB

why use that 10b to give all americans health care (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956188)

why use that 10b to give all Americans health care?

Re:why use that 10b to give all americans health c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956246)

Why, indeed.

Re:why use that 10b to give all americans health c (2, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956408)

why use that 10b to give all Americans health care?

Because the current US healthcare system is a form of feudalism, where the serfs (workers with at least one family member not in perfect health) find it hard or impossible to leave the protection of their lords (large companies). This lack of mobility and reduced freedom of choice drives down prevailing wages in the job market, and it makes it much harder for potential competitors to start new small companies.

Few have benefited from this situation more than Mr. Gates, so I doubt that he's going to make any big moves to change the status quo.

over $1000 per life saved? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956202)

That's not much in the grand scheme of things, but

I didn't realize vaccines were so expensive.

Re:over $1000 per life saved? (2, Informative)

JedaFlain (899703) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956286)

Most aren't. But transporting them to the middle of nowhere along with people to properly administer them is.

kdawson's version (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956208)

"Bill Gates is going to force $10 billion down poor people's throats, forcing them to get vaccines, some people believe are the cause of Autism and other diseases. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation believes that forcing vaccines onto the poor is way to a better future for Microsoft. So they have decided to make 'the largest effort ever made by a clearly corporate steered foundation to a capture millions of new customers' This 10 year, 10 billion dollar project is expected to add 8.7 Million into Microsoft depenceny."

Wow. (4, Insightful)

CaptainJeff (731782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956234)

Wow, these comments. suck.

Bill Gates just gave a HUGE amount of money to tackeling diseases that kill thousands of people per year. Not potential people or some statistics on a population map, but alive, breathing, suffering people. This could potentially save thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of lives. And he just gave this ridiculous amount of money away to this end. And the people on /. are talking about patents, Microsoft money, etc.

This is a good, noble, and amazing act. Show some goddamn respect. What have you done that could change the lives of that many people? Acknowledge a noble and selfless act...the world would be a much better place if more people not only committed them, but acknowledged them and derive inspiration from them.

If Gates had imagination or vision... (0, Offtopic)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956282)

He would be pouring every dime he could into the development of human-like, scalable, artificial intelligence - solving all the problems that are solvable instead of this piecemeal nonsense. Moreover, Gates is in a better position than anyone on the planet to get this done.

This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956512)

Ran out of mod points, but I'd rather respond anyway. Hope they don't trace my IP after I logged out.

Anyway, donate to the SIAI if you can.

And how many lives did his TRIPS cost? (5, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956402)

It's good that a portion of his ill-gotten gains will save some lives, but it's tragic that so many more people are dying because access to medicine is blocked by the TRIPS [wikipedia.org] agreement that Gates and friends pushed through.

This donation mustn't be let overshadow the harm. If it's let, then more such harm will be accepted in the future.

(ACTA is the modern TRIPS. We can still stop it.)

Re:And how many lives did his TRIPS cost? (1)

kuzb (724081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956576)

Thank goodness you've done something so profound that it has changed the world. I mean, it definitely allows you to be critical of someone's philanthropy. Wait, you haven't? Oh..

Gates Needs To Invest U.S. $1,000,000,000,000,000 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956420)

to fix the bugs in all of MicroCRAP [microsoft.com] 's software.

Yours In Minsk,
K. Trout

Morally good, but long term bad? (2, Interesting)

jwhitener (198343) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956520)

Saving lives is always a good thing, don't get me wrong. But I often wonder if 10 billion spent on infrastructure like irrigation, factories, schools, etc.. would save more lives in the long run for impoverished countries.

On one hand, if every 3rd person was dropping dead of an easily preventable disease in a country, it certainly wouldn't be a very stable society. Say you built schools, irrigation, factories, and then every other worker involved in them was sick. It just wouldn't work. The farms wouldn't produce, The factories would shut down, people would fear going to school and contracting something, etc..
On the other hand, education and birth control, infrastructure, etc.. will eventually allow a people to pull themselves up. If ever day is a constant struggle for survival, thinking long term (like building a road) is low on their priority list, and it just won't ever get done.

Perhaps there needs to be some regulation in place that dictates that aid must be spent equally between pure life saving and development of the interior? In the last decade, there have been several good books talking about why pure food aid in Africa, for instance, isn't very beneficial. It is only after seeing the results of multiple decades of food aid, that people are beginning to question pure life saving aid.

Morally, it is hard to say "some must die so that less may die next year", but it certainly doesn't seem like situations in impoverished countries are getting any better with the current model of aid.

Oh no! (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 4 years ago | (#30956522)

Don't tell Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy!

US MSM are corporate sycophants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30956534)

Bill and Melinda aren't evil, as some might posit. I'm sure they truly believe they are doing the world good. Thing is, their motivations are more complicated than simply giving $10 billion away. Their foundation campaigns actively against the introduction of generic drugs into countries that accept their help. They do so believing that propping up the profits of the drug oligarchs will lead to better medicines, etc. (medicine for who, though?). It doesn't hurt that when the pharmaceutical industry profits, their shareholders profit. It's really the same strategy Bill has used his entire life. Completely annihilate all competition, using nationalistic pride to spur government sponsored protection of your monopoly. "They are so good, we must write and enforce intellectual property protections to help them." Does the MSM pick up on the rank profiteering at all? Not a chance, their corporate underwriters would have a fit. No one sees what is going on. Bill's "generosity" is a tax write off and a way to institute monopoly protections in developing nations that would otherwise have no need for his billions, because they would otherwise have ready access to drugs at cost. What MSM outlet will highlight Bill's greed and hypocrisy? The oligarchs already run the US, now they want to run the entire world. I hope somebody, some country, someone somehow fights back.

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