A few months ago we were delighted to take part in a new Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary about philanthrocapitalism called Now I Can Change the World, the first episode of which was released on the web last week. Yet we were intrigued to see that part two of the programme was going to feature a philanthrocapitalist that we had not written about and, indeed, had never heard of – one Harrison Wyld. It turns out that the ‘documentary’ is the set up for a new ‘online alternate reality drama’ called Bluebird AR, all about a reporter discovering murky goings on behind the mask of Mr Wyld’s philanthropy.
The idea of superficially benign rich people up to no good will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a James Bond movie, although we think it is good news that giving is attracting more media interest (Bluebird AR follows on the heels of last year’s satire The Foundation on Canadian television). Novelists like Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope made powerful contributions to the debate about philanthropy in Victorian England, as a few years later did George Bernard Shaw. Let’s hope that Bluebird AR matches up to the standard of those past greats!