Though the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is popularly regarded as one of the world's most recognizable philanthropic organizations, their multi-million dollar investments in the companies creating the very products they push on vulnerable populations suggest that any noble goals of philanthropy have taken a back-seat to cold, hard cash. The Gates Foundation spends a majority of its charitable funds supporting vaccination programs
and agricultural development
in impoverished and vulnerable communities, largely in Asia and Africa. Despite the great PR
the foundation enjoys, these programs have a dark side and, in many cases, have greatly damaged the communities they were intended to serve.
The Gates Foundation is one of the most powerful charity organizations pushing the ironically named "Green Revolution." This "revolution" refers not to a revolution of "green," organic agriculture but instead the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops to communities that had previously utilized organic methods. One of the Gates Foundation's "most successful" initiatives
in this area was the introduction of GM cotton to India. Despite the promise
that GM cotton would increase yields, it turned out not to be the case as organic, non-GM yields are significantly larger
. However, Indian farmers who adopted the GM crops became trapped by debt as their disappointing yields left them unable to pay for the expensive seeds and chemicals needed to cultivate GM plants. This inhumane debt slavery has led to one of the largest suicide epidemics in the history of the world
, with 300,000 farmers having committed suicide over the last 20 years. Despite this travesty, Monsanto and other companies, such as Cargill
and Dow Chemical
, benefited handsomely from India's "green revolution," raising the value of their stocks. The Gates Foundation itself has financially benefited as well due to its multi-million dollar investments in all three companies.