The purpose of this report is to make clear the ideological biases evident among leadership at the Gates Foundation—using the words of Bill and Melinda Gates as the “data” for linguistic analysis. Armed with this information we can each make our own assessments about what is needed to address the interconnected web of challenges confronting humanity in an increasingly unequal world.
It may be helpful to start with the larger context. Widespread poverty and growing inequality threaten the stability of global civilization. They are linked to political instabilities, regional conflicts, and environmental decline in every region of the globe. For any transition plan to achieve a state of planetary thriving, it will be essential that chronic inequality and the life-crippling impacts of widespread poverty be brought to an end. It is in service of this mission that I provide a linguistic analysis of the Gates Foundation’s 2014 annual letter.
As the world’s largest and most powerful philanthropic institution, the Gates Foundation is poised to do a great deal of good if it can find the bold leadership necessary to rise up and face the epic challenges now confronting humanity. Yet if it fails to deliver the substantive changes needed to make such a transition, the Gates Foundation can also be a harbinger of tremendous harm by continuing down a path that vast evidence shows will only lead to collective ruin—pulling many of the largest nonprofit organizations down with it as it goes.