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WATCH: Toxic Philanthropy: The Gates Foundation, Public Health and Imperialism

American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 74, No. 4 (September, 2015)

By Jacob Levich

The Gates Foundation, Ebola, and Global Health Imperialism

ABSTRACT. Powerful institutions of Western capital, notably the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, viewed the African Ebola outbreak of 2014–2015 as an opportunity to advance an ambitious global agenda. Building on recent public health literature proposing “global health governance” (GHG) as the preferred model for international healthcare, Bill Gates publicly called for the creation of a worldwide, militarized, supranational authority capable of responding decisively to
outbreaks of infectious disease—an authority governed by Western powers and targeting the underdeveloped world. This article examines the media-generated panic surrounding Ebola alongside the response and underlying motives of foundations, governments, and other institutions. It describes the evolution and goals of GHG, in particular its opposition to traditional notions of Westphalian sovereignty. It proposes a different concept—“global health imperialism”—as a more useful framework for understanding the current conditions and likely future of international healthcare.

Download: Levich-2015-American_Journal_of_Economics_and_Sociology

[Jacob Levich (jlevich@earthlink.net) is an independent scholar and an administrator at Stony Brook University. Portions of this article draw on a paper by the author in Aspects of India’s Economy (Levich 2014).]

 

A panel presented at Left Forum, June 1, 2014. Sponsored by the Research Unit for Political Economy. Speakers: Jacob Levich, Kwame Fosu; Brenda Biddle.