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The Spectator on Philanthrocapitalism

“Whether you’re feeling sceptical or charitable about their subject-matter, Bishop’s and Green’s book is the best overview so far of the new spirit of philanthropy” writes Linsey McGoey, a sociologist at the University of Oxford, in her review of the book in this week’s Spectator magazine.
 
Linsey does, however, take us to task over Bill Gates, putting him among “a new breed of robber barons”, citing criticisms that “capitalism has perpetuated the very problems Gates and others purport to be tackling” and that Gates and co are motivated by a “self-interested desire to find new markets for products no longer being snapped up in the saturated West”.
 
In the final chapter of the book we look at a range of critiques of the philanthrocapitalists.  It’s fair to say that we see capitalism, for all its faults, as having a lot to offer the world – it is capitalism that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in India and China in the last 20 years.  Indeed, one of the attacks on Gates that we discuss comes from the economist Robert Barro, who thinks that he could do more good for the world by sticking to business rather than philanthropy.  Capitalism does create social and environmental problems that threaten its sustainability.  The philanthrocapitalists recognise the need to think long term and deal with these challenges.
 
Linsey may not like capitalism but she does think Philanthrocapitalism is “perceptive and well written”.

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