Gabe Newman

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Open Thread: November 2021

I'm Gabe Newman from Canada. My wife got involved in EA earlier this year and I've been skulking on the sidelines, reading and thinking. I'm almost 50 but also a student again as I am getting my MSW (little midlife crisis). I'm still trying to figure out where and how to apply my skill set. I have lots of experience with micro NGO projects which are sustainable but I'm not sure how easy they would be to study, so EA is a bit of a new way of thinking for me. I've typically enjoyed Keep It Simple Stupid projects. But lately I have had a couple incredible complicated ideas.

First, I've been inspired by the discussion around megaprojects and I was wondering if there has been any consideration towards buying intellectual property rights. For example, if Astra Zeneca was purchased by an EA org then it could have gotten to lower income countries quickly rather than being horded by wealthy countries.  Considerable lives would have been saved. 

I appreciate a lot of money is going into research for the next pandemic, but what about skipping that step and buying rights to promising vaccines so it can go straight to generic. Pharma gets their money back and a small profit while low resource settings can access life saving medication. I'm sure there is a reason why this wouldn't work but I don't know what it is. 

Secondly, Bill Gates is currently the second largest donor to the WHO (2018-2019 Budget https://www.who.int/about/finances-accountability/reports/results_report_18-19_high_res.pdf?ua=1) . He is driving where funding is allocated and protecting intellectual rights. I believe this is incredibly problematic. EA could have a seat at that table. Yes it would cost a lot (in 2018/2019 Gates contributed 531 million), but at 100 million it would make EA the 11th largest financial donor of the World health organization! 

I realize these are just ideas with no details but I'd love to know if these are horrible ideas because I can't get them out of my head. Perhaps, I'm looking for a reality check.

Thanks!