Why is Bill Gates buying so much land?


US business tycoon Bill Gates speaks during the One Planet Summit at the Plaza Hotel on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 26, 2018. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should be LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP via Getty Images )

What is Bill Gates? This may seem strange, but of all the questions the billionaire is currently asking, it is perhaps the most important. Is he a hero or a villain? A philanthropist or a pirate? Caring or contemptuous?

The answers to these questions depend on how you view Bill Gates. The Microsoft mogul has become the American Rorschach test. Where some see a dangerous man who acts with impunity, others see a saint with glasses in a knitted sweater.

The truth is believed to be somewhere between the two extremes. In times of conspiracy theories and extreme views, the nuance is often taken out of the conversation, especially when discussing Gates.

At the moment, the press around Gates is extremely negative. But it wasn’t always like that. Prior to his divorce, Gates received largely positive coverage from mainstream outlets. Left-wing journalists wrote bubbly articles about him and his selfless desire to make the world a greener and safer place. Considering the Gates Foundation has made numerous donations to news companies like Al Jazeera, BBC, National Journal, ProPublica, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Financial TimesTo name a few, perhaps Gates’ eulogy deserves a little more attention.

The great land grab

Whatever you think of Gates, the fact that he is now the largest private owner of farmland in the United States is certainly worth exploring. Why does Bill Gates now own more than 240,000 acres across the country?

In April of this year, Reddit users had the opportunity to ask Gates exactly that question. The 65-year-old then declared his interest in seed research and biofuel development. “The agricultural sector is important,” he assured the Reddit community.

Yes, it is definitely what makes his acquisition of so much farmland extremely fascinating.

Why did Gates focus so much on buying land from “wealthy, cash-poor” smallholders, some of whom are grappling with today’s economic realities?

Eventually, large land acquisitions are restructuring the idea of ​​owning land in the United States. Land is, first and foremost, a very solid investment. Seth Williams, an accomplished investor, writes, “When you buy property at the right price, you don’t have to make mortgage payments, pay utility bills, property insurance costs are nominal (if any) and property taxes are nominal incredibly cheap. If you want to park your money somewhere and forget about it, empty land could be the investment vehicle you are looking for. “

For example, the right type of land requires little maintenance compared to industrial property. When asked why Gates is buying up so much land, it must be remembered that he is a businessman, an unscrupulous one, and money has always been a major motivator. These knit sweaters aren’t cheap.

Much of Gates’ assets are managed by Michael Larson, the Gates Foundation’s chief investment officer. Larson, who serves on the board of trustees of Claremont McKenna College, has managed the tech mogul’s investments for more than 25 years. With the diversification of Bill’s portfolio, buying land appears to be an area of ​​intense focus. Is there any cause for concern?

There are. As Joel Kotkin, America’s “overgeographer,” notes, this is the age of neo-feudalism where “we are inexorably moving back to a more feudal era, marked by greater concentration of wealth and property, decreased upward mobility, demographic stagnation and The increase is marked by dogmatism. “The gap between serfs and aristocracy is growing at an alarming rate. Large-scale land grabs are becoming more frequent and extensive in nature.

I grew up on a farm myself and am all too aware of the country’s appeal. It represents economic, political and social power. Land acquisition sends a clear message: I am more powerful than you. We may live in the same country, but I am the ruler of my own sovereign state.

The aforementioned Joel Kotkin is arguably the most qualified person in America to comment on why Gates now owns so much land. Fortunately, he agreed to answer some of my questions for this piece. According to Kotkin, an urban research fellow at Chapman University, “Lords need their lands.” Even more worryingly, he warns, people in positions of extreme power may be motivated to “shape” the way in which the “mob live. “

If Bill Gates has a desire to shape American life, what might this “design process” look like?

Judging by the way it has shaped other regions of the world, that’s not nice. Remember, this is a man who has spent billions of dollars breaking down traditional farming systems and is having a direct impact on the lives of millions of people in need, many of whom are already living in great poverty. In 2020, the researchers examined the Gates Foundation’s influence on the African continent. The report, titled “False Promises: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)” found that the Gates Foundation is and continues to operate in each of the 18 countries in the number of people who are suffering from extreme hunger suffering has actually increased. Instead of helping millions of people, Bill Gates seems to be harming them.

In January last year, the Gates Foundation launched “Gates AG One”, better known as “The Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations LLC”.

Who runs Gates Ag One? Joe Cornelius, once Monsanto’s director of international development. Yes, this Monsanto, the company known for its terrible environmental record, fondness for dangerous pesticides, and history of litigation with local farmers. But Bill Gates just published a book called How to avoid a climate catastrophe. Why should he hire Cornelius, a man who seems to be the opposite of everything he believes in?

It’s easy. Appearances are deceptive. Gates is a man of many contradictions – an environmental activist with an annual carbon footprint of about 7,493 tons; a benevolent vaccine financer who refuses to share patent technology with the people in need of vaccines most; A philanthropist who gives away billions and seems to get richer every year.

Gates assures us that he wants to start a “green revolution” at home and abroad to feed more hungry people around the world. Ironically, this “green revolution” relies heavily on the use of harmful fertilizers and dangerous pesticides. More food is created, which means more profit is created. But at what cost? What is the price of people around the world, including Americans? Given that Gates owns hundreds of thousands of acres across the country, there are many reasons for Americans to be concerned.

After all, chemical fertilizers contaminate water supplies and have been shown to play an important role in the development of Alzheimer’s and hemoglobin disorders. Meanwhile, pesticides, often released into the atmosphere shortly after application, can travel up to five miles and settle in anything from playgrounds to porches, from laundry to lawns. Researchers warn, “Pesticides have been implicated in human studies of leukemia, lymphoma and cancers of the brain, breasts, prostate, testes and ovaries. Reproductive harm from pesticides includes birth defects, stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, sterility, and infertility. “

Well, as recent reports show, Gates’ obsession with buying and growing farmland seems a little more evident. The billionaire has always wanted a Nobel Peace Prize, and what better way to secure this coveted award than to free the world from hunger (even if large numbers of people suffer)? Interestingly, in addition to being the most famous landlord in the world, Gates now controls the world’s seed supply. Literally. Feed more mouths, collect more praise, and cement your legacy. Lying, stealing, cheating – everything is fair when it comes to the legacy of greatness.

While writing this article, I also reached out to Vandana Shiva, an Indian scholar and vocal critic for Bill Gates, for comment on the matter. When asked why she believed the tycoon was buying so much land, Shiva replied, “Both because land (like biodiversity) has become an asset in the billionaire’s portfolio and because it enables it to shape the future of agriculture to be designed as ‘digital agriculture’. (Agriculture without farmers). Shiva believes Gates is laying the groundwork for the new “fake green” economy based on pseudo-solutions for climate change. This includes “net zero” where polluters continue to pollute the land and also seize the land of the less affluent.

Shiva is concerned that “Fake Science” is working with “Fake Accounting” to “create an empire where all resources, including land, belong to billionaires.”

In short, as the World Economic Forum (WEF) warns us very soon: “You will not own anything”. With Bill Gates contributing to the WEF agenda, you don’t have to be a crazy conspiracy theorist to question your motives.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by Bitcoin magazines. New York Post, South china morning post, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

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