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David Rieff did NOT call Raj Shah a Marxist

Update / clarification on my earlier post in which I poked fun at an article that claimed Bill Gates has brainwashed the Obama Administration.

In The New Republic article, the author David Rieff contends that Gates and his techno-fix minions at the world’s largest philanthropy have indoctrinated everyone in the Obama Administration, including former Gates Foundation guy and current USAID director Raj Shah, into the Microsoft mindset.

The article is worth reading, even though I disagree with many (not all) of Rieff’s points and felt it was bit off-target and dismissive of many people and organizations who seem to be legitimately trying to reduce global poverty.

Anyway, Rieff took exception to my somewhat off-the-cuff claim that he appeared to be implying that Shah operated like a Marxist. I think he’s right, and I was wrong on that. Here’s what he said in an email to me:

Dear Mr Paulson,

You are absolutely within your rights to criticize my views as severely as you think appropriate. But I would have hoped you would represent them fairly while doing so. I NEVER called Raj Shah a Marxist. You’re completely right: to do so would indeed be laughable. But what I wrote was that in thinking about what I view as the revolving door relationship between the US Government, the UN, and the Gates Foundation, the old Marxist category of an interlocking directorate was a useful explanatory key — that is, I was making use of a Marxist idea, not accusing Raj Shah of being a Marxist.

Yours sincerely,

David Rieff


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.