Friday, October 31, 2008


"It is October 25,2025. In the library of Lord Branson's luxurious eco-friendly space mansion, beneath a hologram of Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates is celebrating his birthday with his closest friends. The views are spectacular."

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

Everyone is there. Melinda,Pierre, Richard, Jeff, Mo, Angelina, Bill C.,Larry, Oprah, and so many others. And, of course, Bono. Celebrating Bill's birthday is just a trifling ruse for their new venture to travel together beyond the stars to fight disease and poverty. So much in the universe still requires their attention.

Before they get down to the business of philanthrocapitalism they recite solemnly from their bible, Andrew Carnegie's The Gospel of Wealth, "the man of wealth [is] the mere trustee and agent for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves."

"Well, we can dream," the authors wistfully admit.

Philanthropcapitalism is a good scan of the current landscape and emerging trends of philanthropy and giving, whether or not you buy into the new language.

What's missing, however, is any comparative analysis of other social strange strategies and how they stack up. I suspect we still need the "agency" of communities, governments and other civil institutions as well as the "hyeragency" of the rich.

Back in the here and now, Spence Limbocker reports in an NFG Reports article that "ACORN estimates the monetary impact of its campaigns across the United States to be more than $15 billion." These impacts include living and minimum wages increases and CRA and predatory lender victories.

How much have philanthropcapitalists invested in community organizing, a tried and true approach to achieving scale and institutional change?

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