Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Monday, July 31, 2017

Confirms my critique of power philanthropy

I'm certainly not against philanthropic giving. I think the super-wealthy should do more of it. Not to get a tax break, they already get that just by being rich in a climate of regressive taxation. Not to increase their own unrestricted political influence over society. You already need millions or billions to get elected to higher political office. But simply because it's the morally and ethically right thing to do.

But the rise of what I call, muscle or power philanthropy has only served to increase social and economic inequality and weaken what's left our our democratic institutions.

A recent article in Quartz, quotes Rob Reich, director of the Center for Ethics in Society at Stanford University, who pretty much confirms my apprehensions about the giant foundations.

Reich says:
A philanthropic foundation is a form of unaccountable power quite unlike any other organization in society. Government is at least somewhat beholden to voters, and private companies must contend with marketplace competition and the demands of shareholders. 
 Undemocratic philanthropy is a misuse of power, even if it is power attempting to do good. “At the very least, we should not provide tax benefits to further augment the private pursuit through philanthropic mechanisms of private means,” adds Reich.
After all, those very tax breaks afforded to philanthropists are depriving the public sector of further funds that should be used to provide public services.
What I've been arguing for years.

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