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I Don’t Know Much About Philanthrocapitalism But…

“Philanthrocapitalism is quite frankly the worst CSR-related idea I’ve come across in a long, long time” and “the idea of philanthrocapitalism must die a quick and painless death,” writes Wayne Visser on his CSR International blog. Oh dear. But, peculiarly, Wayne goes on: “let me confess that I have not read the book”. We should be grateful for the full disclosure at least!

You can see why we have got Wayne’s goat so much, since he thinks that capitalism “has fuelled the culture of greed and excess that tipped us into a global recession” and that corporate social responsibility (CSR) “should be about how you make your money, not whether you give it away once it’s made”.

Maybe we can tempt Wayne to actually pick up the book by pointing out that he is largely agreeing with us. Philanthrocapitalism is about the way that entrepreneurial wealth creators, in their business life as well as their private giving, increasingly recognise that capitalism is only sustainable in the long term if it takes account of the social and environmental sustainability of the system. Greedy short-termism is bad capitalism. Not all business leaders understand that, but we are encouraged that more and more are doing so. That’s why we call them philanthrocapitalists.

Wayne says he won’t read the book “unless someone holds an (ethically sourced, fairtrade) gun to my head”.  Now there’s a promising idea for a for-profit/non-profit CSR partnership between Amazon.com and the National Rifle Association.

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