Thursday, October 30, 2008

Royal Largesse

"Another rapidly evolving category...is the working royal. The leading pioneers in this branch of philanthrocapitalism have been two British royals...Diana's philanthropic tiara has been inherited by Queen Rania of Jordan."

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

The authors name this branch of philanthrocapitalism celanthropy (i.e., celebrity + philanthropy). Neologisms are habit forming. I predict neither of these catchy synthetic words will catch on fire.

Now my big problem. Philanthropcapitalism comprises living business people using their wealth, companies, and expertise in businesslike ways to solve big social problems. The notion of "hyperagent" makes me gag a bit but I'm coming around. Then this stuff about the "royals" -- Prince Charles and Princess Di.

First a reminder about capitalism from Jerry Muller in The Mind and the Market, "a system in which the production and distribution of goods is entrusted primarily to the market mechanism, based on private ownership of property, and on exchange between legally free individuals."

Royals live off property, trusts, taxes, and brand. Such a life is pre-capitalist. That they do good is a great thing but hardly breaks new ground or cries out for a neologism.

I fear the authors have gone off the rail by hanging with the rich and famous.

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