Friday, October 24, 2008

Captains of Industry

"This is the spirit of philanthrocapitalism: successful entrepreneurs trying to solve big social problems because they believe they can, and because they feel they should."

Matthew Bishop & Michael Green, Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World

So this is the big book after the article in The Economist and the critique of philanthrocapitalism by Michael Edwards. See my posting: Philanthrocapitalism to the Rescue?

The book is full of nuggets like "sudden wealth syndrome." An essential premise of the book is represented in a quote from Paul Schervish of the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, "Schervish calls the superrich who engage in philanthropy 'hyperagents: individuals who can do what it would otherwise take a social movement to do." Like social change, history, etc.

The section on Bill Gates reads like one of those smooth biops to be found in an airline magazine or on cable, combining Ayn Rand and the cool moves of a new superaction figure.

"In 1993, Gates read the World Bank's annual World Development Report, a dense 348-page document subtitled Investing in Health. He couldn't put it down. He saw that there were deadly diseases that were "simple to eliminate."

"Gates says he has given plenty of thought to distribution. 'My favorite book is Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries.."

"Gates describes the problems of global health as 'hypercomplex,' involving all sorts of 'complicated path dependency.'"

And I thought I was a reader!

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