Sunday, January 07, 2007

Doing Good and Evil: still ahead by the numbers?

I want to point your attention to a very disturbing fact. Enter Ebocha, our today's example, a Nigerian city. It's soil is reach with oil and gas, and oil extraction facilities. The oil is extracted by Italian company Eni. Demand is always high, but supply is tightly controlled, to keep the prices high. Decision is executive, not a technology related. But there is no way to really control how much oil or gas is extracted. Storing it for future is highly difficult and expensive endeavour. What to do? They burn it. Result? Natural resources waisted, oil and gas prices kept artificially high, and people of Ebocha get health problems.

So far so good, nothing particularly new. The everyday garden variety of evil, countered by the good will of charitable organizations that invest in the health of people of Ebocha. For example, Gates Foundation (founded by the Microsoft founder Bill Gates) invested 218$ million dollars in research and immunization, of related health problems. Including in this region. The official website lists more then 7.7 billion dollars in grants for health related causes since inception. However, the website fails to list investment activity of the foundation. According to Los Angeles Times, the foundation "has invested $423 million in Eni, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total of France". The very companies responsible for health issues the foundation is fighting.

This strange alliance is not unique to Gates Foundation, and is in fact common among other charitable foundations. I guess making just enough good to make up for the evil sounds OK for some people. If nothing else, it is a sound business strategy, isn't it?

3 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

Well, it just proves that Gates is e-e-vil.

Oh yeah, and get rid of the format. It's very boring.

Yury Puzis said...

Rest of the formats are boring too. They are way too typical. At least this one has nothing typical in it, because, well, it has nothing.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Come on, you can do better than that. I've seen some of the formats; at least some of them are more colorful. Yawn.