So, after needlessly offending Britain’s philanthropists by calling them tax dodgers, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has sensibly abandoned his plans to limit the tax deductibility of their giving. This U-turn is embarrassing for the government, certainly, but not as harmful as it would have been to its efforts to promote a Big […]
Failure and the Giving Pledge
Why did the 35 billionaire philanthropists who gathered in Santa Barbara on May 9th hold their meeting behind closed doors? After all, as Matthew reported in the latest issue of The Economist, they were only invited to attend as a result of having been very public, declaring their intention to give away at least half […]
The Rich Versus The Rest?
‘Toward a New Social Contract’ is the theme of this year’s Global Philanthropy Forum, currently taking place in Washington, DC. But the real hand-to-hand fighting on the role that philanthropy plays in the rich’s responsibilities to society is being played out in Britain, where a government initiative to cut the tax subsidy to giving has […]
The Paradox of Flux
The fun of the Russian steam bath, or ‘banya’, supposedly comes from the invigorating contrast between the heat of the sauna followed by a bracing roll in the snow. There was an echo of such dubious pleasure at this year’s Skoll World Forum held in Oxford last week, as the mood swung between optimism and […]
Britain’s Prime Minister has cause for a small (nice cup of tea, rather than pop the champagne cork) celebration today, now that his Big Society idea has had its first positive headlines in quite some time, with the long-awaited launch of the £600 million Big Society Capital (BSC) social investment fund. BSC has cost the […]
The Chancellor Is An Idiot, Right?
When Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne made his budget speech a couple of weeks ago, the well-trailed headline was his decision to cut the rate of income tax for the highest earners to 45% from 50%. Cue howls of complaint from the Labour opposition and ridicule for the government’s claim that ‘We are […]
The ChangeNation Model
“Build back better” is one of those phrases that caught on after the financial crisis that struck in 2008 laid waste to so many economies and the social and environmental activities they supported. Unfortunately, actual examples of building back better, or even making a serious attempt to do so, have been hard to find. Now, […]
The idea that the fight against poverty needs to put women and girls at the top of the agenda has been gaining traction in recent years. This has been a long slog, boosted by the advocacy of people like Sheryl WuDunn and Nick Kristof, the authors of the terrific ‘Half The Sky’. Equally important has […]
An Indian Spring?
India’s wealthy gave Bill Gates and Warren Buffett a somewhat mixed reception last year when they visited the country last year to spread the gospel of philanthropy. Mukesh Ambani, one of India’s most prominent tycoons, let it be known that he preferred watching cricket to dining with the American philanthrovangelists, whilst the 70 or so […]
A man dies and goes to Hell. On arrival Lucifer gives him a tour of the facilities: the damned are divided into national groupings, each with their own pot of boiling sulphur covered with a heavy steel lid. Yet one pot has no lid. “Who’s that for?”, asks the new member of the damned. “Oh, […]