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What Allison and many others have to remember is that the Gates Foundation is not spending their money. They are free, just like you and me, to spend it as they see fit. Leave them alone.


Jeff, I appreciate the concern that you and others express about interfering with the private investment choices of the Gates', however, I do want to clarify the issue.

When the Gates family endowed their foundation with billions of dollars, that money went from the private pockets into the coffers of a public entity. Even though it's called a private foundation, those funds are no longer private. They are only to be used for public purposes. Even if the foundation went out of business, the funds would stay public to be used by a government agency or other public entity for the public good.

Even with that said, I also want to say that I am not advocating that Gates has to become a table pounding activist shareholder. It would be nice for the rest of us if they pushed BP to clean up the ground and air they're polluting, but not necessary. What is important is that they not invest in companies that counteract their grantmaking. And they only reason they do this is because they think all investing is the same -- to make money. But it isn't ifyour goal is to improve social conditions for people living in the direst poverty. Their investing goals are to sustain the endowment in order to grant more money -- and they can do this without making the world dirtier, poorer, and unhealthier.

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