Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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For philanthropists of the past, charity was often a matter of simply giving money away. For the philanthrocapitalists-the new generation of billionaires who are reshaping the way they give-it's like business. Largely trained in the corporate world, these "social investors" are using big-business-style strategies and expecting results and accountability to match. Bill Gates, the world's richest man, is leading the way: he has promised his entire fortune to finding a cure for the diseases that kill millions of children in the poorest countries in the world.
In Philanthrocapitalism, Matthew Bishop and Michael Green examine this new movement and its implications. Proceeding from interviews with some of the most powerful people on the planet-including Gates, Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bono, among others-they show how a web of wealthy, motivated donors has set out to change the world.
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About the author

Matthew Bishop is chief business writer of the Economist. Michael Green is an expert on the relationship between government and the nongovernmental sector, particularly in the field of international development. Bishop lives in London, Green in New York.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Jun 1, 2010
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781608192434
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / General
Political Science / General
Social Science / Philanthropy & Charity
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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We Have a World-Class Mess . . . Now What?
 
 Amid the carnage of bankruptcies, soaring unemployment, and millions of families losing their homes during the financial crisis of 2007–2009 lay the bloody corpse of a set of ideas that had underpinned the economics of the previous thirty years. A system that had been delivering unprecedented prosperity on a global scale suddenly teetered on the verge of collapse. Capitalism was seemingly exposed as a house of cards. The blame game became a new national pastime as doomsayers predicted the end of America’s leadership of the world economy.
 
We’re at a crossroads, and decisions about how to reshape a discredited capitalism will profoundly affect whether the coming years will be ones of depression, stagnation, or renewed prosperity.

Instant analysis since the collapse of the financial system in the fall of 2008 has produced no end of ideas about what to do—ranging from those of free market ideologues (let the market do its work and damn the consequences) to extreme government interventionists determined to keep the animal spirits of capitalism penned up.

But if there is anything worse than toxic financial assets it is toxic ideas. We need to reject the old orthodoxies and conventional wisdoms. Matthew Bishop and Michael Green take a step back and analyze what can be learned from financial crises of the past—from the Tulip Craze of the seventeenth century through the Great Depression of the 1930s, Japan’s Great Deflation, and the Long-Term Capital debacle of the 1990s to the unprecedented interventions of the government during the past year—to set the agenda for a reformed twenty-first-century capitalism. The result is an enlightening perspective on what set us on the road to ruin, as well as road signs to guide us back to prosperity.
 
--Why bubbles are the consequence of financial innovations that generate economic breakthroughs, but why it would be wrong to abandon these inventions of the financial engineers. The Road from Ruin explains how stifling innovation and risk-taking comes at a huge cost to future prosperity.

--Why the economy needed a fiscal stimulus to recover from the crisis. Bishop and Green show how economic dogmatists of the Right, who opposed the stimulus, got it wrong, but warn that those on the Left who want the stimulus to run and run could usher in a new era of high inflation.

--Why company bosses became too focused on short-term results and did not see the crisis coming. The Road from Ruin shows how we can get business leaders to put the interests of society ahead of their own pay-packets.

--The danger of focusing on the financial symptoms of the crisis without tackling the underlying economic causes, such as the world operating on the dollar standard. Bishop and Green show why the role of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency is not just a problem for the rest of the world but for the United States as well.

--Why many of capitalism’s champions—especially the advocates of the efficient market hypothesis—lost touch with reality. The Road from Ruin provides insights into new ideas in economics that recognize how the complexity and irrationality of the human beings who make up the economy can be harnessed to build a better capitalism.
 
Remarkably, the issues we face today have presented themselves in one form or another over the past three centuries. Matthew Bishop and Michael Green skillfully draw both the lessons learned and prescriptions for reform to prevent another catastrophic meltdown and put America back on top.


From the Hardcover edition.
A powerful critique of a seemingly beneficial trend that is actually undermining the effectiveness of philanthropy Written by an insider -- a former official with several high-profile nonprofits Co-published with the prominent New York think tank Demos A new movement is afoot that promises to save the world by bringing the magic of the market to philanthropy. Nonprofits should be run like businesses, its adherents say, and businesses can find new sources of revenue by marketing goods and services that benefit society. Dubbed “philanthrocapitalism,” its supporters believe that business principles can and should be the primary drivers of social transformation. What could be wrong with that? Plenty, argues, former Ford Foundation director Michael Edwards. In this hard-hitting, controversial expose he marshals a wealth of evidence to show just how far short the promise of philnthrocapitalism has fallen, and why the whole concept is fundamentally flawed. Some business practices can be beneficial to nonprofits, and it’s definitely a good thing that the for-profit sector is developing a social conscience. Edwards carefully specifies when businesses and business thinking can help. But to really get at the root causes of the systemic problems most nonprofits wrestle with—hunger, poverty, disease, violence—requires a completely different way of operating. Social transformation demands cooperation rather than competition, collective action more than individual effort, and values patient, long-term support for solutions over short-term results. Philanthrocapitalism concentrates power in the hands of a few major players, mirroring the very inequities civil organizations should be trying to ameliorate. With a vested interest in the status quo it shies away from fundamental change. At most all it can promise is valuable but limited advances: small change. Ultimately, Edwards argues that the use of business thinking can and does corrupt civil society. It’s time to differentiate the two and re-assert the independence of global citizen action.
Here, from Bill Clinton, is a call to action. Giving is an inspiring look at how each of us can change the world. First, it reveals the extraordinary and innovative efforts now being made by companies and organizations—and by individuals—to solve problems and save lives both “down the street and around the world.” Then it urges us to seek out what each of us, “regardless of income, available time, age, and skills,” can do to help, to give people a chance to live out their dreams.

Bill Clinton shares his own experiences and those of other givers, representing a global flood tide of nongovernmental, nonprofit activity. These remarkable stories demonstrate that gifts of time, skills, things, and ideas are as important and effective as contributions of money. From Bill and Melinda Gates to a six-year-old California girl named McKenzie Steiner, who organized and supervised drives to clean up the beach in her community, Clinton introduces us to both well-known and unknown heroes of giving. Among them:

Dr. Paul Farmer, who grew up living in the family bus in a trailer park, vowed to devote his life to giving high-quality medical care to the poor and has built innovative public health-care clinics first in Haiti and then in Rwanda;
a New York couple, in Africa for a wedding, who visited several schools in Zimbabwe and were appalled by the absence of textbooks and school supplies. They founded their own organization to gather and ship materials to thirty-five schools. After three years, the percentage of seventh-graders who pass reading tests increased from 5 percent to 60 percent;'
Oseola McCarty, who after seventy-five years of eking out a living by washing and ironing, gave $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi to endow a scholarship fund for African-American students;
Andre Agassi, who has created a college preparatory academy in the Las Vegas neighborhood with the city’s highest percentage of at-risk kids. “Tennis was a stepping-stone for me,” says Agassi. “Changing a child’s life is what I always wanted to do”;
Heifer International, which gave twelve goats to a Ugandan village. Within a year, Beatrice Biira’s mother had earned enough money selling goat’s milk to pay Beatrice’s school fees and eventually to send all her children to school—and, as required, to pass on a baby goat to another family, thus multiplying the impact of the gift.

Clinton writes about men and women who traded in their corporate careers, and the fulfillment they now experience through giving. He writes about energy-efficient practices, about progressive companies going green, about promoting fair wages and decent working conditions around the world. He shows us how one of the most important ways of giving can be an effort to change, improve, or protect a government policy. He outlines what we as individuals can do, the steps we can take, how much we should consider giving, and why our giving is so important.

Bill Clinton’s own actions in his post-presidential years have had an enormous impact on the lives of millions. Through his foundation and his work in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, he has become an international spokesperson and model for the power of giving.

“We all have the capacity to do great things,” President Clinton says. “My hope is that the people and stories in this book will lift spirits, touch hearts, and demonstrate that citizen activism and service can be a powerful agent of change in the world.”


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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