In her book last year, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System”, Diane Ravitch dismissively described the wealthy philanthropists who are bankrolling various efforts to improve the otherwise taxpayer funded school system as the “billionaire boys club”. She argues that the likes of Bill Gates, the Walton family (heirs of the founder […]
Tag: George Soros
Osama bin-Laden – Philanthropist?
The late and unlamented terror chief may not be anyone’s idea of a philanthropist, least of all ours. Yet, however offensive it may seem, the horrible thought does raise some important questions, so please bear with us on this one… First of all, Osama bin-Laden had plenty of cash – inheriting a pile from his […]
“Bah! Humbug!” in the Wall Street Journal
Two recent articles in the Wall Street Journal have taken shots at elements of philanthrocapitalism – the idea, endorsed by many of the most successful capitalists, that capitalism needs to make a more deliberate effort to improve society. Like Dickens’ Mr Scrooge, the writers’ response to the suggestion that firms and business leaders could do […]
Betting on the Poor
“This is pushing microfinance in the loansharking direction,” said Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel peace prize-winning founder of Grameen Bank, in response to today’s news that SKS, an Indian microfinance institution, has gone public. ”It’s not mission drift. It’s endangering the whole mission.” We respectfully disagree. The keenly anticipated initial public offering, which aimed to raise […]
What do the victory of billionaire Meg Whitman in the recent primary to be the Republican candidate for governor of California, and the controversial Gaza aid flotilla have in common? Both these recent new stories highlight the difficult questions that arise when philanthropy merges into politics. At first glance this is a bit of non-question. Doing good for […]
Is Michael Edwards Wearing Any Clothes?
Our old sparring partner Michael Edwards has been banging the drum against philanthrocapitalism again. We actually agree on more than Michael admits – particularly that philanthrocapitalism needs transparency and accountability to succeed. And he is willing to give some grudging credit to Bill Gates for his recent pledge of $10 billion to develop vaccines against […]
Don’t Vote for a Free Lunch!
Invoking the name of Robin Hood (Britain’s famous bandit who, according to the legend, “robbed from the rich to give to the poor”) aid lobby groups, celebrities and philanthrocapitalists such as film maker Richard Curtis, have launched a high-profile campaign for a new tax on banks to fill the gaping hole in the public finances. Not […]
The Year of Giving Dangerously
2009 showed that the philanthrocapitalism revolution is here to stay, as mega-giving by the likes of Bill Gates and the mass philanthrocapitalism of organisations like kiva.org and donorschoose surged ahead despite the economic downturn. So what does 2010 hold in store? Gazing into our crystal ball, we see philanthrocapitalism continuing to surge ahead as givers […]
Ranking The Best Philanthrocapitalists
It was good to see Barron’s magazine’s cover feature about the world’s 25 best givers, which rightly observed that “the name of the game in philanthropy this year is to make your dollars go far – very far.” The article, prepared in partnership with the excellent Trevor and Maggie Nielson at Global Philanthropy Group, focuses […]
The Soros Stimulus
George Soros is at it again, making waves with another big, controversial gift – this time of $35m to help New York’s poorest school children. He may be the favourite bogeyman of the right, but, as this latest gift shows, Soros certainly understands philanthrocapitalism. Indeed, as we write in Philanthrocapitalism, regardless of whether or not […]