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Vaccines, Blockchain and Bio-capitalism

Vaccines, Blockchain and Bio-capitalism

Wrench in the Gears

April 19, 2020

By Alison McDowell

 

Source of featured image here.

Vaccine Markets

Pay for success finance deals will be well served by the global vaccine market that is being advanced through Gates’s outfit GAVI.  Vaccine doses are readily quantifiable, and the economic costs of many illnesses are straightforward to calculate. With a few strategic grants awarded to prestigious universities and think tanks, I anticipate suitable equations framing out a healthy ROI (return on investment) will be devised to meet global market demands shortly.

Over the past month, the gaze of investigative researchers has been fixed on GAVI, Bill Gates, Gates’s associates like Fauci, and the over-size influence they are having on public health policy around Covid-19.  Use the link for the map to dig further into the relationships. The members of the 2012 Development Impact Bond (DIB) Working Group Report are of particular interest, since DIBs are being considered as a way to finance vaccination campaigns.

Among them:

Toby Eccles, Founder of Social Finance and developer of the social Impact Bond

Owen Barder, Former Economic Aide to Tony Blair, UK AID

Elizabeth Littlefield, JP Morgan, World Bank, OPIC, US Impact Investing Alliance

Vineet Bewtra, Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, Omidyar Network

Bob Annibale, CitiGroup Community Development

Chris Egerton Warburton, Goldman Sachs, Lions Head Partners

Rebecca Endean, UK Research and Innovation

Kippy Joseph, Rockefeller Foundation, International Development Innovation Alliance

Oliver Sabot, Absolute Return On Kids (ARK, UK Charter School), The Global Fund

Steven Pierce, USAID

Public health is a servant of bond markets and financiers. A glance at the participants in this working group makes it clear, doses and people and death and suffering are just going to be part of their market analysis. For too many people, openly discussing concerns about vaccines remains a third-rail. But we DO have to learn how to talk about this to one another, because the stakes are too damn high to shy away from it. I also believe these campaigns and the tracking systems associated with them have been structured as an imperial enterprise and should be treated with profound caution.

Interactive version of Fauci / Gates map viewable here.

The World Bank started promoting the use of Blockchain to track vaccine supplies as early as 2017, the same year they got into the pandemic bond business.

More on that here.

There is an elegant, if twisted, logic in melding vaccine supply chain tracking with blockchain digital identity / health passports. Not unlike Palantir’s “philanthropic” endeavors around human trafficking. The ultimate goal of the cloud bosses is to be able to track everyone all the time – Tolkien’s all-seeing eye. To be able to lay down the infrastructure of digital oppression while being lauded for humanitarian efforts will be quite a coup if they pull it off.

So you have the vaccine tracked on blockchain. You have the quantum dot tattoos (health data bar codes) ready to go. You have the capacity to pressure people into setting up digital health passports linked to their electronic health record (thanks Obama). It makes perfect sense that it would all be linked together.

Fracking Humanity

Total quality management, systems engineering, where the cellular structures of entire communities are unlocked and remade for profit. When I was doing my work into ed-tech, I described the process of data-mining as fracking the minds of children. This is the same thing, but in a medical context-fracking our DNA.

Fracking

Creating an immutable record of doses linked to specific individuals, means investors can assess the “impact” of inoculation(s) they fund and take their profit. On Blockchain this will be made possible using MIT’s Enigma software, which protects “privacy” even as it mines cellular structure for “impact” and turns people into GMOs. Something I’ve had growing concerns about in recent weeks is knowing the Gates-backed initiatives involve the use of mRNA platforms. Moderna is one of them, and they tout their vaccine system as the “software of life.”

Source

So we know that pay for success relies on MEASURABLE change. We also know these platforms use synthetic biology to re-engineer humans at the molecular level. Precision medicine, while a valuable tool to use against inoperable tumors, could become a huge problem if tweaking our biomes at the population level to suit the whims of global financial markets is normalized. Genetic engineering tied to quarterly returns – now that would be grotesque.

Besides, our country has a nasty history of eugenics and unethical scientific experimentation. What protections are in place to keep “pay for performance” contracts and vaccines from being used to justify “fixing” people that the market deems “sub-standard” from a human capital investment point of view? It is not such a jump from taking an impact payment for preventing a projected future illness to genetic modification for more insidious purposes.

We are being conditioned to accept that there will be repeated campaigns of vaccination tied to future outbreaks. Remember, this is meant to be a “permanent crisis.” Pay for success demands it. It is the crisis framework that legitimizes intrusive surveillance framed as a public benefit. In this way social systems can be regulated to conform to the expectations of global technocrats.

Supply Chain Tracking

Gates also funded the development of quantum dot vaccine tattoos by MIT, which act as health data bar codes viewable under certain lighting conditions. This nanotechnology is used for such diverse purposes as solar power and device displays. One of the companies developing electronic health records that are compatible with quantum dot data tattoo systems is Quantum Materials out of San Marcos, Texas. Their system runs on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing system.

Source

Now imagine Gates-affiliated entities profiting first from vaccine bonds, then from vaccine development,  from the cloud computing software tracking the data and documenting the impact, and finally from returns on the pay for success deals.

Meanwhile, the public, those who are actually supposed to be served by health policy, are instead used to generate impact data. This results in healthcare services being platformed, automated, and dehumanized. People will start to lose their humanity, seen only as data, veering into trans-humanist territory after repeated system upgrades.

Interactive version of the QDX Health ID map accessible here.

We can see the mounting toll of the pandemic as hospital systems have started to furlough workers, in the midst of this health emergency. As a consequence, I expect we will soon see human staff reductions, and the roll out of tele-presence medical robots, and more and more doctors on screens where they can operate at a “safe” distance, never needing a mask or to even touch their patient. It is hard to believe this is where we have arrived in the world. And yet, here we undoubtedly are.

Vaccines will be the bread and butter for impact investors; but then factor in the crushing human and economic costs of global pandemic, and suddenly you’re talking REAL money. Imagine tallying up ALL the costs associated with the Covid-19 lockdown. That is going to create one ENORMOUS cost offset for investors moving forward. The longer the lockdown the bigger the cost offset they will be able to use in “pay for success” pandemic deals. For this first round there is a certain sick market logic in making the situation as dire as possible. Future profits are riding on calculations of harm that are being tallied now.

Dress Rehearsal For The Big Event

Many have already looked into Event 201, the corona virus table-top game Gates funded in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security last October. Another funder was Open Philanthropy, started by Facebook Employee #3 Dustin Markovitz. I highly recommend checking out the videos, especially the highlight reel and the communication and finance sessions.


Interactive Map Event 201 here.

I’ve seen comments dismissing concern over this event, because the tabletop game wasn’t actually Covid-19, but rather a generic corona virus. Evidently because authorities had been anticipating a pandemic event, we should just shrug off the fact that a corona virus outbreak occurred mere months after participants checked out of the luxury Pierre Hotel with their souvenir virus plushies. Watch the videos – the event was a spectacle. Certainly not a serious strategic venture. Even the program for the prior year’s game, Clade-X was much more buttoned-up and serious.

A glance over the participant list shows high-level executives from Edelman (public relations) and NBC Universal; George Gao, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention; as well as a number of groups, including Johnson and Johnson and GAVI, that have a stake in vaccine trials underway. While the event was held in New York, there were also participants representing Australia, Canada, Switzerland, China, and the United Nations.

Given Gao’s presence at this event and his participation in the WHO / World Bank’s Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, one wonders at the apparent disintegration of communication channels after the game was over. If Gates, the World Economic Forum, and Johns Hopkins set up Event 201 with the goal of fostering the creation of an integrated global pandemic response strategy, the aftermath of the Wuhan outbreaks and lack of information sharing shows it to have been a spectacular failure. But as I conjectured in my previous post “Mind The Gap” on pandemics and pay for success finance, perhaps the first round was supposed to be a spectacular failure so that it would be easier to show improvement during future outbreaks.

Next up will be a deep dive into Michael Bloomberg and his ties to Johns Hopkins and the World Health Organization. He is the one who is setting up the “smart” city infrastructure steeped in human capital finance and high-tech policing. The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which is based in the Bloomberg School of Public Health was the host of Event 201. See the arrow on the map below.

Interactive version of map here.

 

[Alison McDowell is a mom and an independent researcher who blogs about the intersection of technology and predatory philanthropy at wrenchinthegears.com.]

Do Philanthropists Actually Love the Planet?

Books & Ideas | La Vie des Idées


December 11, 2018

by Edouard Morena

 

“Philanthropic foundations are now publicly acknowledged and celebrated as essential actors in the climate struggle. But for what results? As Edouard Morena shows, these foundations actually perpetuate the dominant economic order—an order that many hold accountable for the deepening climate crisis.”

 

Dossier: Who Will Save the Planet? Capitalism, climate change and philanthropy – A collaboration between the US magazine Public Books and La Vie des idées/Books&Ideas.

 

Beyond the calls for urgent action and pledges to commit more resources to the fight against climate change, a noteworthy feature of the first One Planet Summit, held in Paris on December 12, 2017, was the importance given to philanthropists and philanthropic foundations. Far from simply occupying a secondary or supporting role there, foundations were publicly acknowledged and celebrated as essential actors in the climate struggle alongside governments (especially cities and local governments), businesses, investors, and civil society organizations. Bloomberg Philanthropies funded and orchestrated the event.

On the morning of the summit, President Macron hosted a meeting at the Élysée Palace with a group of leading philanthropists, including Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson, where he insisted on philanthropy’s unique role as catalyst of climate action. He also called upon the group

“to convene a task force to target and expand philanthropy’s role in the accelerated delivery of the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement, including through the development of partnerships with governments and public finance agencies.”

The group of 15 or so individuals that attended the Élysée meeting were representative of a small group of well-endowed private foundations that dominate the climate philanthropy landscape. [1] In 2012, according to one report, the combined spending of the OakHewlettPackardSea ChangeRockefeller, and Energy foundations made up approximately 70 percent of the estimated 350 to 450 million philanthropic dollars allocated annually to climate mitigation. These “big players” share common characteristics. In line with the liberal tradition, they view themselves as neutral agents acting in the general interest and present climate change as a “solvable problem” requiring pragmatic, nonideological, bipartisan, and scientifically grounded solutions.

Yet upon closer scrutiny, their funding priorities and approaches to philanthropy reflect a distinctive and ideologically charged worldview, one premised on a belief that the market knows best and that individual self-interest is the best rationale for saving the climate. For most of these large climate funders, environmental protection and a liberal economic order are not only compatible but mutually reinforcing. Behind their altruistic, pragmatist veneer lies a genuine desire to solve the climate crisis while simultaneously perpetuating the dominant economic order, an order that many observers hold responsible for the deepening climate crisis.

Continuity and Change

Philanthropy has a long history of involvement in the climate debate. In the 1980s, established liberal foundations such as the Rockefeller, Ford, and Alton Jones foundations and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund funded scientific research on “global environmental change” and helped to establish the global processes and multilateral institutions that continue to underpin the international climate regime: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Guided by the belief that, given the right multilateral institutions, along with adequate resources and information, a global and mutually beneficial solution could be reached, they supported the formation of a “global civil society” space through funding to NGOs and think tanks (e.g., World Resources InstituteClimate Action Network), support for research and communications, and the convening of international symposiums.

Over the course of the late 1990s and early 2000s, various contextual factors led some of the leading climate funders to abandon the climate debate, others to reassess and adapt their strategies of engagement. These factors included the US federal government’s reluctance to commit to ambitious mitigation targets, conservative-backed climate denialism’s effective scaremongering tactics and attacks against climate science, and growing reservations about the UNFCCC’s ability to actually deliver an ambitious and legally binding agreement in the post-Kyoto context.

This period also coincided with the arrival of a new brand of philanthropists and foundations that would go on to reshape the climate funding landscape. While retaining core liberal principles and values, they promoted a distinctive theory of change when it comes to philanthropic giving in the climate field.

A number of these newcomers were products of the technology and financial boom of the period. This was the case of the Schmidt Family Foundation, launched in 2006 by the CEO of Google, and the Gordon and Betty Moore foundation, launched in 2000 by the cofounder of Intel. Other newcomers include the Sea Change Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, both of whose founders made their fortunes in finance. For these new foundations, a number of which were based in the San Francisco Bay Area, philanthropic engagement in the climate debate represented a means of distinguishing and legitimizing themselves in the public sphere and within US elite liberal circles. These circles were traditionally dominated by East Coast elites whose fortunes originated in the industrial boom of the early 20th century and whose names were often associated with older, well-established liberal foundations like Ford and Rockefeller.

This new brand of “philanthrocapitalists” or “venture philanthropists” mobilize “their business acumen, ambition, and ‘strategic’ mindset” to solve the climate challenge. [2] foundations also set up the International Policies and Politics Initiative, in 2013, to “highlight opportunities for philanthropic collaboration, joint strategy development, resource pooling, and grant-making alignments in the arena of international policies and politics of climate change” [3] and create the conditions for a global climate agreement in Paris.

Through their joint efforts, the most active climate funders sought to create an environment conducive to a societal shift toward a low-carbon economy. From the outset, investors and businesses—and not states—were viewed as the key stakeholders in this process.

Priority was given to policies, initiatives, and projects that sent positive signals to the markets and created incentives for financial and business actors to invest in the green economy. Efforts were also deployed in the field of research and development, to support the large-scale deployment of new, clean technologies and industrial processes. A few months ago, major climate funders such as the Hewlett and MacArthur foundations have decided, for instance, to support research on and the deployment of controversial carbon capture and storage technologies.

A Veneer of Respectability

Despite their comparatively limited resources—climate philanthropy represents less than 0.1 percent of total climate finance—foundations’ combined efforts over the past 30 years have had a significant impact on the international climate debate. As I have argued elsewhere [4] they played an active and influential role in the lead-up to the Paris COP.

As the ECF wrote shortly after the Paris Conference, “although we should be careful not to overstate our role, it is important to recognize that the climate philanthropy community’s activities prior to and at the COP helped to lay the basis for the outcome.” [5] As the 2017 One Planet Summit illustrates, world leaders and other key players in the international climate debate also recognize the central importance of philanthropic foundations.

Has their influential role contributed to curbing climate change? According to the UN, the years from 2015 to 2018 have been the four hottest on record. While climate philanthropy cannot be blamed for rising temperatures, its efforts to curb climate change must be critically scrutinized. We must hold it accountable for its role in developing and promoting the voluntary, market-based, and bottom-up approach that presently dominates the international climate agenda and that has clearly not delivered the required results. As Marc Gunther wrote in a recent op-ed, “if philanthropy is to be judged by its outcomes—and how else should it be judged?—climate philanthropy has failed.”

How then can we explain the fact that, isolated voices such as Gunther’s notwithstanding, relatively few people have raised questions about climate philanthropy’s role and responsibility in the ongoing—and deepening—climate crisis? I believe that three main reasons can be advanced to explain this.

The first reason relates to the fact that many prominent climate NGOs and networks—Climate Action NetworkFriends of the Earth350.org—partially or entirely rely on philanthropic money to function. The limited available resources, especially for organizations active at the international level, and particular nature of the climate philanthropy landscape—dominated by a handful of well-endowed and closely aligned foundations—means that climate funders have a strong influence on the civil society space.

In Europe, for instance, the ECF—which channels and redistributes funds from a number of prominent climate funders—acts as an unavoidable access point for anyone wishing to seriously engage in the climate debate. From a prospective grantee perspective, “the ability to shop at one source—rather than making the same pitch three or more times,” as Mark Dowie observed about the US-based Energy Foundation, can be advantageous. [6]However, by channeling a large proportion of available climate funds, there is also a risk of concentrating power in a single organization and, hence, toward a single approach—to the detriment of groups that offer alternative visions or wish to pursue alternative strategies. The ECF and other large climate funders become de facto reference points and, given their domineering position, difficult ones to openly challenge.

The second reason relates to businesses’ and governments’—especially in high-emitting countries—reluctance to take decisive action on climate change. With the blessing of many governments and international organizations, foundations increasingly appear the only ones capable of breaking the “climate deadlock.” From a criticizable weakness, their lack of accountability and legitimacy becomes a unique and commendable asset.

This idea is promoted by funders themselves. As George Polk, the former chairman of the executive committee of ECFpoints out,

“One advantage foundations have in the policy arena is being shielded both from the political cycles that interrupt policy continuity and coherence and from the market barriers that get in the way of readily available solutions like energy efficiency upgrades in buildings. This means that foundations can often build bridges over tricky waters that governments and firms hesitate to cross.”

The third reason relates to liberal foundations’ broader function in US and global politics. As Inderjeet Parmar has convincingly argued in Foundations of the American Century, liberal foundations have traditionally played an influential role in transforming America from an “isolationist” nation into a global superpower, and in promoting and anchoring liberal ideals both domestically and internationally. [7] The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, by undermining the Party-led UNFCCCprocess, has further strengthened their position in this regard and, by extension, within the climate debate. Trump’s isolationist stance has prompted liberal philanthropists and foundations, as the Bloomberg example illustrates, to step up their efforts in a climate debate that historically forms a symbolic battleground in the war opposing liberals and conservatives.

Climate funders act not only as defenders of the climate but also as guardians of the liberal order, a US-inspired liberal order that is currently being challenged by Trump and other hard-line conservatives across the globe.

Our House Is Burning

It is in this increasingly unstable US and global political context, and in the face of a worsening climate crisis, that philanthropic foundations are increasingly looked to and celebrated as “climate champions.” As we have shown, the consensus surrounding climate philanthropy masks a longstanding, active, and ideologically motivated involvement in the climate debate. Such a consensus also downplays foundations’ errors and responsibilities. To paraphrase former French president Jacques Chirac in 2002, our house is indeed burning down, only now we stare, uncritically, at philanthropists.

Further reading

Mark Dowie, American Foundations : An Investigative HistoryMITPress, 2001 
Marc Abélès, Les Nouveaux Riches : Un Ethnologue dans la Sylicon Valley, Odile Jacob, 2002

List of Philanthropic Foundations

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
ClimateWorks 
The Energy Foundation
The Ford Foundation
The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
The W. Alton Jones Foundation
The David & Lucile Packard Foundation
The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
The Oak Foundation
Rockfeller Brothers Fund
The Rockfeller Foundation
The Schmidt Family Foundation
The Sea Change Foundation

 

[Edouard Morena is Lecturer in French politics and history at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP). Over the past six years, he has been researching non-state actors’ involvement in international environmental and development processes – and in particular the role of philanthropic foundations. He is the author of The Price of Climate Action: Philanthropic Foundations in the International Climate Debate (Palgrave, 2016) and co-editor (with Stefan Aykut and Jean Foyer) of Globalising the Climate: COP21 and the Climatization of Global Debates (Routledge, 2017).]

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