In emergency situations just like the one prevailing currently thanks to the pandemic, billionaire philanthropy is pretty common. Where most of the people are against it since it “skews the democratic project in problematic ways”, billionaires are of the opinion that they’re “not supplanting government action but merely supplementing it, filling within the holes that the govt is unable to deal with on its own.”
A similar situation is occurring within the US immediately. Both Mark Zuckerberg and Gates have stepped in to assist with the continued coronavirus situation.
Zuckerberg, via his Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, has announced an affiliation with CZI Biohub. He is going to be purchasing two clinical diagnostic machines to extend the testing and diagnosing of possible cases within the San Francisco Bay. As of now, the world may be a testing bottleneck.
According to the top of the CZI Biohub, Joe DeRisi:
Procuring these new diagnostic machines will have a big impact on our ability to reply to the outbreak during a more streamlined way.
Apart from this, Gates, under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, goes to fund his own testing kits which will specialize in people within the Seattle area, another region that’s home to an epidemic.
A Gates official told the Seattle Times that “this has enormous potential to show the tide of the epidemic.”
There is an enormous chance that billionaires are contributing to things without the intention of gaining public appreciation, the contributions are still considered more controversial than ever. However, this doesn’t mean that Gates Foundation and CZI aren’t making an impression, but the critics believe that this is often the role of the govt, not billionaires.
I am no fan of billionaire philanthropy – I think it skews our democratic project in problematic ways – this on its face though seems like an excellent use of that money all the same. https://t.co/v4rdfNSzok
— Philip Hackney (@EOTaxProf) March 8, 2020