We had the UK launch of Philanthrocapitalism in the boardroom of the Economist last night – our thanks to deputy editor Emma Duncan for hosting the event and to Lisa Carden and Suzi Williamson from our publisher A&C Black.
Among the journalists and movers and shakers in the UK philanthropic world joining us were Stephen Dawson, who is pioneering venture philanthropy in Britain through the Impetus Trust, as we discuss in the book, and Nigel Kershaw, chairman of the Big Issue Foundation. It was a particular pleasure to see management guru Charles Handy and his wife Elizabeth, whose book The New Philanthropists profiles the emerging generation of philanthropists in the UK.
Everyone was speculating about the impact of the financial crisis on giving, and wondering whether the UK will rediscover the philanthropic spirit – issues that we look at in the preface to the UK edition. British philanthropy is obviously behind America’s but we do see a group of philanthrocapitalists emerging. Part of the challenge is creating a culture where philanthropy is welcomed across the political spectrum. Liberals in Britain are still prone to see philanthropy as a right-wing agenda, preferring government to take the lead in social change. We think there are plenty of reasons why those on the left of politics should welcome philanthrocapitalism, if they can get past the anti-rich reflex. As some keen-eyed observers have noted, that’s why we have adjusted the subtitle of the book for the UK market to How the rich can save the world, and why we should let them.
Philanthrocapitalism in the UK? Coming some time, maybe. If we let them.