Philanthropy in Democratic Societies: History, Institutions, Values

University of Chicago Press
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Philanthropy is everywhere. In 2013, in the United States alone, some $330 billion was recorded in giving, from large donations by the wealthy all the way down to informal giving circles. We tend to think of philanthropy as unequivocally good, but as the contributors to this book show, philanthropy is also an exercise of power. And like all forms of power, especially in a democratic society, it deserves scrutiny. Yet it rarely has been given serious attention. This book fills that gap, bringing together expert philosophers, sociologists, political scientists, historians, and legal scholars to ask fundamental and pressing questions about philanthropy’s role in democratic societies.

The contributors balance empirical and normative approaches, exploring both the roles philanthropy has actually played in societies and the roles it should play. They ask a multitude of questions: When is philanthropy good or bad for democracy? How does, and should, philanthropic power interact with expectations of equal citizenship and democratic political voice? What makes the exercise of philanthropic power legitimate? What forms of private activity in the public interest should democracy promote, and what forms should it resist? Examining these and many other topics, the contributors offer a vital assessment of philanthropy at a time when its power to affect public outcomes has never been greater.
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About the author

Rob Reich is the faculty director of the Center for Ethics in Society, faculty codirector of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and professor of political science at Stanford University, with courtesy appointments in the Department of Philosophy and the School of Education. He is the author or editor of many books, most recently Education, Justice, and Democracy, published by the University of Chicago Press. Lucy Bernholz is a senior scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and codirector of the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University. She is the author of Creating Philanthropic Capital Markets. Chiara Cordelli is assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Sep 21, 2016
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780226335780
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Nonprofit Organizations & Charities / General
Political Science / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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BLUE OCEAN SHIFT is the essential follow up to Blue Ocean Strategy, the classic and 3.6 million copy global bestseller by world-renowned professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. Drawing on more than a decade of new work, Kim and Mauborgne show you how to move beyond competing, inspire your people's confidence, and seize new growth, guiding you step-by-step through how to take your organization from a red ocean crowded with competition to a blue ocean of uncontested market space. By combining the insights of human psychology with practical market-creating tools and real-world guidance, Kim and Mauborgne deliver the definitive guide to shift yourself, your team, or your organization to new heights of confidence, market creation, and growth. They show why nondisruptive creation is as important as disruption in seizing new growth.

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The late Susan Moller Okin was a leading political theorist whose scholarship integrated political philosophy and issues of gender, the family, and culture. Okin argued that liberalism, properly understood as a theory opposed to social hierarchies and supportive of individual freedom and equality, provided the tools for criticizing the substantial and systematic inequalities between men and women. Her thought was deeply informed by a feminist view that theories of justice must apply equally to women as men, and she was deeply engaged in showing how many past and present political theories failed to do this. She sought to rehabilitate political theories--particularly that of liberal egalitarianism, in such a way as to accommodate the equality of the sexes, and with an eye toward improving the condition of women and families in a world of massive gender inequalities. In her lifetime Okin was widely respected as a scholar whose engagement went well beyond the world of theory, and her premature death in 2004 was considered by many a major blow to progressive political thought and women's interests around the world. This volume stems from a conference on Okin, and contains articles by some of the top feminist and political philosophers working today. They are organized around a set of themes central to Okin's work, namely liberal theory, gender and the family, feminist and cultural differences, and global justice. Included are major figures such as Joshua Cohen, David Miller, Cass Sunstein, Alison Jaggar, and Iris Marion Young, among others. Their aim is not to celebrate Okin's work, but to constructively engage with it and further its goals.
The troubling ethics and politics of philanthropy

Is philanthropy, by its very nature, a threat to today’s democracy? Though we may laud wealthy individuals who give away their money for society’s benefit, Just Giving shows how such generosity not only isn’t the unassailable good we think it to be but might also undermine democratic values and set back aspirations of justice. Big philanthropy is often an exercise of power, the conversion of private assets into public influence. And it is a form of power that is largely unaccountable, often perpetual, and lavishly tax-advantaged. The affluent—and their foundations—reap vast benefits even as they influence policy without accountability. And small philanthropy, or ordinary charitable giving, can be problematic as well. Charity, it turns out, does surprisingly little to provide for those in need and sometimes worsens inequality.

These outcomes are shaped by the policies that define and structure philanthropy. When, how much, and to whom people give is influenced by laws governing everything from the creation of foundations and nonprofits to generous tax exemptions for donations of money and property. Rob Reich asks: What attitude and what policies should democracies have concerning individuals who give money away for public purposes? Philanthropy currently fails democracy in many ways, but Reich argues that it can be redeemed. Differentiating between individual philanthropy and private foundations, the aims of mass giving should be the decentralization of power in the production of public goods, such as the arts, education, and science. For foundations, the goal should be what Reich terms “discovery,” or long-time-horizon innovations that enhance democratic experimentalism. Philanthropy, when properly structured, can play a crucial role in supporting a strong liberal democracy.

Just Giving investigates the ethical and political dimensions of philanthropy and considers how giving might better support democratic values and promote justice.

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