Philanthrocapitalism Week

Forget Fashion Week, New York is now in the grip of Philanthrocapitalism Week, when world leaders, corporate titans, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and other policymakers gridlock Manhattan as they shuttle between meetings at which they (mostly) try to figure out creative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. We have written an article for the Washington Post today on how all this activity could produce a bold new strategy for international aid.

Matthew and Michael will be mostly walking between two events featured in the book, the Clinton Global Initiative (the “Philanthropy Oscars”) and the Global Creative Leadership Summit organised by Canadian philanthropist Louise Blouin. We will blog about these events a few times over the next few days.

The opening plenary session at the Global Creative Leadership Summit was on the future of global governance, and featured Matthew as moderator and four men who have been at the heart of tackling some of the biggest global problems – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the IMF; Pascal Lamy, head of the World Trade Organisation; Luis Ocampo, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; and Michael Chertoff, America’s former secretary of homeland security.

Lamy said he was reassured that the leaders of America and China seem keen to contain the effects of the recent protectionist move by the Obama administration against imports of Chinese tyres. Let’s hope so.

Chertoff thought there was an opportunity for focused global action to tackle piracy at sea, which “we are less effective at policing now than we were 200 years ago”.

Ocampo said that real progress is being made in persuading governments of the need for the international rule of law and enforcement of it.

Strauss-Kahn said the primary goal of the IMF was to promote peace and prevent war, which might have been a real possibility had the economic crisis that the IMF helped manage through unprecedented global coordination of economic policy instead turned into a depression. He said that on average a country involved in a war lost 14% of its GDP over a seven year period, and wealth was destroyed amounting to two and a half times GDP – so well worth avoiding on economic grounds as well as all the rest.

Matthew asked each of them what single change would improve their ability to solve global problems. There was general agreement that the greatest need is for the organisations of global governance to have, in Lamy’s words, “more legitimacy”. How to give them that seems a worthy challenge for philanthrocapitalists. Next stop, CGI.