Earlier this year, Mike Edwards of the Ford Foundation launched a pre-emptive strike against philanthrocapitalism. In “Just Another Emperor: The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism”, he challenged our excitement about the potential of a new generation of businesslike philanthropists, questioning whether they really have any special skills to offer and suggesting that they are bad for civil society.
There’s no disagreement between us on the need for the philanthrocapitalists to be transparent in what they do and honest about their mistakes. We think that while Mike’s reaction (like others in the philanthropy establishment who want to dismiss these new donors) is perhaps understandable it is also mistaken. Philanthrocapitalism is a disruptive force that challenges traditional ways of doing things – that’s why we think it has potential. For the first time, Mike and Matthew debated head on, on the BBC’s legendary Today Show on Radio 4. Decide for yourself by listening here.