Rise of the Philanthrocapitalists

| 4/14/2009 5:18:57 PM

Social entrepreneurs around the world have begun promoting a new kind of philanthropy, Alix Rule writes for Dissent. Social good has become the buzzword of today’s philanthropists, based on advanced “metrics” and “sophisticated techniques” designed for maximum “efficacy and effectiveness.” Philanthropy, according to Rule, is philosophically intertwining with business, and good is being reduced to a kind of currency. 

This trend is troubling if not dishonest, writes Rule. There is a near total disregard in this money-as-good philosophy for collectivity and public discourse. It focuses instead on individuals and what they can return for the investors. The recent trend toward corporations accepting responsibility for their actions is undoubtedly a good thing, and the new philanthropists have produced some impressive results, but mixing the goals of philanthropists with the profit-seeking motives of business is not a good long-term strategy for creating a more just world.

For more on rethinking charity in today’s economic crisis, read Giving When It Hurts from the March-April issue of Utne Reader.

Source: Dissent (Subscription required)

Tom Hendricks
4/21/2009 1:13:08 PM

I think the key to ending world poverty is not that difficult. It requires both a will and a way. We don't have the will yet, but we do have the way. The idea of mini loans has evolved to CBA's community bank accounts. Money from any source (mostly governments) is set into a community or neighborhood bank account. The money is never spent - so this costs nothing to investors. What is important is 1. the interest goes to the community. And they have the power to use the money to resolve problems in any way they can. Unlike charities or being on the dole, this empowers the community to end their problems in their way. It builds hope. As long as the money is used to help the community, the investors don't touch it. They have the option of removing their capital whenever they like. 2. the money is placed into neighborhood banks with these stipulations - for that vast amount of money they must return a fair or solid interest, and they can only loan it to local businesses. Look at the advantages: The money is never spent, the bank has money to loan local businesses, and the community is empowered with interest monies each and every month forever. The interest never stops coming in and the capital is never spent Never. The US could have ended poverty in our country by taking 500 billion bailout money and dividing it into 50 state CBA's where monthly interest (millions of dollars) is given to a different county every month - and never stop coming in from that point on forever and capital is never spent - so it would have cost the US nothing.

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