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The Gates Foundation

  • Endowment of approximately $37 billion, with another $31 billion pledged by Buffett Foundation
  • Donates 5% of its worth/yr, invests 95% (typical for charities)
  • Drives international public health agenda
    • As do other corporate donors (“philanthrocapitalists”)
  • Most grants go to organizations in high-income countries

The Gates Foundation

  • Lack of external oversight, accountability
  • At least 41% of its assets invested in companies that counter the foundations charitable goals or socially concerned philosophy
    • E.g., Oil and chemical companies, agrobusiness, pharmaceutical industry, soda
    • Similar problems for Warren Buffet’s Berkshire wealth
    • Lancet 2009;373:1645-53

Discretionary Federal Spending (2013)

The Military and Pollution

  • World’s single largest polluter
  • 6-10% of global air pollution
  • 2-11% of world raw material use

The Military and Pollution

  • 97% of all high level and 78% of all low level nuclear waste
    • 104 commercial U.S. nuclear reactors (495 worldwide) – most aged, many unsafe
    • More than 210 million liters of radioactive and chemical waste stored at Hanford, WA
      • Site plagued by leaks, cost overruns

The Military and Pollution

  • Pentagon generates 750,000 tons hazardous waste/year
  • Numerous toxic waste sites
  • Exempt from most environmental regulations

The Military and Pollution

  • “The more birds that the [Department of Defense] kill[s], the more enjoyment [people] will get from seeing the ones that remain: ‘Bird watchers get more enjoyment spotting a rare bird than they do spotting a common one.’”
    • From a 2002 court summary of the U.S. Defense Department’s argument for exemption from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

World Military Spending (2012)

War and Peace

  • World military budget = 1.7 trillion (2011)
    • 230X what the UN spends on peacekeeping
  • US:
    • Largest military budget; largest arms supplier
    • Greatest debtor to peacekeeping fund

Economic Cost of War, U.S.

The Military: Diversion of Resources Away from Health Care

  • 3 hours world arms spending = annual WHO budget
  • 1/2 day of world arms spending = full childhood immunizations for all world’s children
  • 3 days of U.S. military spending = amt. spent on health, education, and welfare for U.S. children in 1 year

The Military: Diversion of Resources Away from Health Care and Other Scientific Projects

  • 3 weeks of world arms spending/yr. = primary health care for all in poor countries, incl. safe water and full immunizations
  • 25% of the world’s 2.5 million research scientists and engineers work entirely on military R and D
    • Anthropologists co-opted under U.S. Army’s Human Terrain Team

The Military: Diversion of Resources Away from Health Care and Other Scientific Projects

  • Iraq/Afghanistan war creating enormous U.S. debt
  • Federal and state budgets strapped
    • States - $55 billion budget gap (2012)

War Deaths, 1945-2010

Arms Exports

Arms Imports

Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • Nuclear Weapons:
    • 1054 U.S. nuclear tests since 1940s, 331 in atmosphere
    • 23,360 nuclear weapons at 11 sites in 14 countries (1/2 active or operationally-deployed)
    • 5200 active U.S. warheads today (½ on hair-trigger alert); similar number in Russia
    • START treaty signed by Obama, Putin
      • Awaiting Senate approval
      • Will limit US and Russia to 1,550 long-range warheads (still overkill)

Weapons of Mass Destruction

  • Biological Weapons
  • Chemical Weapons
  • See WMD slide show on “War and Peace” page of phsj website
  • “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.”
  • ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “The problem in defense spending is to figure out how far you should go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without.”
  • ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Poverty and Hunger

  • US: 14% of residents and 21% of children live in poverty
    • Rates of poverty in Blacks and Hispanics = almost 3X Whites
    • 2016 federal poverty level = $11,880 gross annual income (individual); $24,300 for family of 4
  • Hunger rate increasing nationally
  • Poverty associated with worse physical and mental health, poor cognitive development, less sleep

Poverty, Health Insurance, and Food and Energy Insecurity

  • 13.5% (43 million people) in poverty (2015)
  • 9% (29 million people) lack health insurance (2016)
    • Cost of maintaining COBRA health insurance for a family consumes 84% of worker’s unemployment benefits
  • Food insecurity 15% / Energy insecurity 5% (2016)


  • At least 1 billion people live in urban slums
  • 650 million people lack access to safe, clean drinking water -1.8 million child deaths/year
  • 2 billion suffer from vitamin/mineral deficiencies


  • 2 billion have no electricity
  • 2.3 billion do not have adequate sanitation services
  • Lack of clean water and sanitation cause 4 billion cases of diarrhea and 1.6 million deaths per year

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