Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How billionaires can help the world...or not

Lorenzo Fioramonti (Civicus Global Survey of the State of Civil Society, Vol. 2) provides a dazzling critique the underlying philosophy behind the poverty pledges of high profile "philanthrocapitalists" like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

If we recognize that big business is co-responsible for the state of our economies and social welfare, how can then the Giving Pledge address the injustices its supporters have contributed to creating? Philanthropy is a noble sentiment but it can at best scratch the surface of social problems. Often, unfortunately, it hides or even entrenches the structural injustices in our current economic and financial system: as long as you give something back – the philanthropy creed seems to imply - you can carry on with your life doing ‘business as usual’.


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