Episode 61 - Owning Change

In an age of global disparity and inequity, billionaire philanthropists (dead and alive) are stepping up to the plate with powerful foundations and acts of charitable giving to solve some of the world's greatest challenges. But how much faith should we place in the hands of individuals with concentrated wealth and power? And if we take a step back to examine the broader system in which these individual philanthrocapitalists function, do we find any contradictions between wealth doled out and the process of accumulating it? Further, despite some of the good that we perceive directly stemming from philanthropic efforts, what are some of the hidden motivations behind these efforts that ultimately seek to deepen the same structures that produced the problems in the first place which philanthropy purports to solve?

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  • 04:44 The Man Who Wrote the Gospel
  • 40:44 Philanthropy and Celebrity
  • 48:11 The Larger System
  • 54:12 Just How Rich?
  • 1:03:04 "How philanthropy shapes foreign policy, civil rights, and healthcare"
  • 1:20:20 Taxes and Giving
  • 1:30:36 What Can We Do?

Recommended Reading and Listening

Gospel of Wealth, Andrew Carnegie

Citations Needed:

The Ford Foundation in the Inner City: Forging an Alliance with Neighborhood Activists, by G William Domhoff


@misc{Andrew Carnegie_1889, title={Gospel of Wealth}, url={https://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/rbannis1/AIH19th/Carnegie.html}, journal={North American Review}, author={Andrew Carnegie}, year={1889}, month={Jun} } @book{Aschoff_2015, place={London ; Brooklyn, NY}, title={The New Prophets of Capital}, ISBN={978-1-78168-810-6}, url={https://b-ok.cc/book/2610174/078434}, publisher={Verso}, author={Aschoff, Nicole}, year={2015}, month={Mar} } @misc{BBC_2014, title={Arguments against charity}, url={http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/charity/against_1.shtml}, abstractNote={The criticisms levelled at charities range from poor practice to attacks on the very idea of charitable giving.}, author={BBC}, year={2014} } @misc{Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation_2013, title={Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)}, url={https://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Resources/Grantee-Profiles/Grantee-Profile-Alliance-for-a-Green-Revolution-in-Africa-AGRA}, journal={Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation}, author={Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation}, year={2013}, month={Feb} } @misc{Cohen_2019, title={Forget philanthropy. The super-rich should be paying proper taxes}, url={https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/02/forget-philanthropy-super-rich-should-be-paying-proper-taxes}, journal={The Guardian}, author={Cohen, Nick}, year={2019}, month={Feb} } @misc{David Graeber_2013, title={STRIKE! Magazine – On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs}, url={https://strikemag.org}, journal={STRIKE! Magazine}, author={David Graeber}, year={2013}, month={Aug} } @book{Edwards_2008, place={New York, NY}, edition={1st edition}, title={Just Another Emperor? The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism}, ISBN={978-0-9816151-1-0}, url={http://www.futurepositive.org/edwards_WEB.pdf}, publisher={Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action}, author={Edwards, Michael}, year={2008}, month={Apr} } @misc{Elliott_2015, title={How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti}, url={https://www.propublica.org/article/how-the-red-cross-raised-half-a-billion-dollars-for-haiti-and-built-6-homes}, journal={ProPublica}, author={Elliott, Justin}, year={2015}, month={Jun} } @misc{G. William Domhoff_2005, title={Who Rules America: The Ford Foundation in the Inner City}, url={https://whorulesamerica.ucsc.edu/local/ford_foundation.html}, journal={Who Rules America?}, author={G. William Domhoff}, year={2005}, month={Sep} } @misc{Joan Roelofs_2013, title={Foundations and the South African Transition}, url={https://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/19/foundations-and-the-south-african-transition/}, journal={www.counterpunch.org}, author={Joan Roelofs}, year={2013}, month={Dec} } @misc{LaMarche_2014, title={Is Philanthropy Bad for Democracy?}, url={https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/10/is-philanthropy-good-for-democracy/381996/}, journal={The Atlantic}, author={LaMarche, Gara}, year={2014}, month={Oct} } @misc{Luce_2018, title={Is wealthy philanthropy doing more harm than good?}, url={https://outline.com/8NgfGU}, journal={Financial Times}, author={Luce, Edward}, year={2018}, month={Dec} } @misc{Mathew SNow_2015, title={Against Charity}, url={http://jacobinmag.com/2015/08/peter-singer-charity-effective-altruism/}, journal={Jacobin}, author={Mathew SNow}, year={2015}, month={Aug} } @misc{McGee_2009, title={The 25 Best Givers}, url={https://www.barrons.com/articles/SB125935466529866955}, journal={Barron’s}, author={McGee, Suzanne}, year={2009}, month={Nov} } @misc{Oscar Wilde_1891, title={The Soul Of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde}, url={http://www.online-literature.com/wilde/1309/}, author={Oscar Wilde}, year={1891} } @misc{Paumgarten_2010, title={Food Fighter}, url={https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/01/04/food-fighter}, abstractNote={Does Whole Foods’ C.E.O. know what’s best for you?}, author={Paumgarten, Nick}, year={2010}, month={Jan} } @misc{Petro_2017, title={Amazon’s Acquisition Of Whole Foods Is About Two Things: Data And Product}, url={https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregpetro/2017/08/02/amazons-acquisition-of-whole-foods-is-about-two-things-data-and-product/}, journal={Forbes}, author={Petro, Greg}, year={2017}, month={Aug} } @misc{Phil Dickens_2010, title={Charity, mutual aid, and class struggle}, url={https://propertyistheft.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/charity-mutual-aid-and-class-struggle/}, journal={Property is Theft!}, author={Phil Dickens}, year={2010}, month={Aug} } @misc{Piereson_Riley_2019, title={A Battle Over a Capitalist’s Legacy}, url={https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-battle-over-a-capitalists-legacy-11548890716}, journal={Wall Street Journal}, author={Piereson, James and Riley, Naomi Schaefer}, year={2019}, month={Jan} } @article{Roelofs_2007, title={Foundations and Collaboration}, volume={33}, ISSN={0896-9205}, DOI={10.1163/156916307X188997}, number={3}, journal={Critical Sociology}, author={Roelofs, Joan}, year={2007}, month={May}, pages={479–504} } @misc{The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica_2000, title={M. Carl Holman | American civil rights leader}, url={https://www.britannica.com/biography/M-Carl-Holman}, journal={Encyclopedia Britannica}, author={The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica}, year={2000}, month={Jan} } @book{Klein_2008, edition={1st edition}, title={The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism}, ISBN={978-0-312-42799-3}, publisher={Picador}, author={Klein, Naomi}, year={2008}, month={Jun} }

Shock Doctrine source can be found in Chapter 4 on Argentinia and Chile


Special thanks to Michael Verrenkamp for research and Millie for inspiration.

Published 14-02-2019 01:05