The Charitable-Industrial Complex

0727OPEDopen-articleInline
via Open, N.Y. and The New York Times

Money should be spent trying out concepts that shatter current structures and systems that have turned much of the world into one vast market.

I HAD spent much of my life writing music for commercials, film and television and knew little about the world of philanthropy as practiced by the very wealthy until what I call the big bang happened in 2006.  That year, my father, Warren Buffett, made good on his commitment to give nearly all of his accumulated wealth back to society. In addition to making several large donations, he added generously to the three foundations that my parents had created years earlier, one for each of their children to run.

Early on in our philanthropic journey, my wife and I became aware of something I started to call Philanthropic Colonialism. I noticed that a donor had the urge to “save the day” in some fashion. People (including me) who had very little knowledge of a particular place would think that they could solve a local problem. Whether it involved farming methods, education practices, job training or business development, over and over I would hear people discuss transplanting what worked in one setting directly into another with little regard for culture, geography or societal norms.

Often the results of our decisions had unintended consequences; distributing condoms to stop the spread of AIDS in a brothel area ended up creating a higher price for unprotected sex.

But now I think something even more damaging is going on.

Because of who my father is, I’ve been able to occupy some seats I never expected to sit in. Inside any important philanthropy meeting, you witness heads of state meeting with investment managers and corporate leaders. All are searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left. There are plenty of statistics that tell us that inequality is continually rising. At the same time, according to the Urban Institute, the nonprofit sector has been steadily growing. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of nonprofits increased 25 percent. Their growth rate now exceeds that of both the business and government sectors. It’s a massive business, with approximately $316 billion given away in 2012 in the United States alone and more than 9.4 million employed.

Philanthropy has become the “it” vehicle to level the playing field and has generated a growing number of gatherings, workshops and affinity groups.

As more lives and communities are destroyed by the system that creates vast amounts of wealth for the few, the more heroic it sounds to “give back.” It’s what I would call “conscience laundering” — feeling better about accumulating more than any one person could possibly need to live on by sprinkling a little around as an act of charity.

But this just keeps the existing structure of inequality in place. The rich sleep better at night, while others get just enough to keep the pot from boiling over. Nearly every time someone feels better by doing good, on the other side of the world (or street), someone else is further locked into a system that will not allow the true flourishing of his or her nature or the opportunity to live a joyful and fulfilled life.

And with more business-minded folks getting into the act, business principles are trumpeted as an important element to add to the philanthropic sector. I now hear people ask, “what’s the R.O.I.?” when it comes to alleviating human suffering, as if return on investment were the only measure of success. Microlending and financial literacy (now I’m going to upset people who are wonderful folks and a few dear friends) — what is this really about? People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?

See Also

I’m really not calling for an end to capitalism; I’m calling for humanism.

Read more . . .

 

 

The Latest Bing News on:
Charitable-Industrial Complex
The Latest Google Headlines on:
Charitable-Industrial Complex

[google_news title=”” keyword=”Charitable-Industrial Complex” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]

The Latest Bing News on:
Philanthropic Colonialism
  • Israel Leadership is not only Israel’s Business
    on May 25, 2024 at 6:25 am

    In an absurd turn of events, Zionism — created initially as a solution for antisemitism — is now perceived as colonialism to justify antisemitism ... as an independent advisor for Philanthropists, ...

  • Colonial Volkswagen
    on May 23, 2024 at 5:01 pm

    A dealership's rating is based on all of their reviews, with more weight given to recent reviews. Want to share your experience with this dealership? Dylan explained everything so well in advance ...

  • ‘History as our guide’: How new-look Colonial Country Club returned to its roots
    on May 22, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    Gil Hanse won’t argue with them. But the architect has a different label for the work that he and his design partner, Jim Wagner, just completed at Colonial Country Club, in Fort Worth ...

  • Colonial Van Lines Reviews
    on May 21, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    Colonial Van Lines specializes in long-distance relocations. It offers full-service packing and storage options for both household and corporate moves. The company is registered with the Federal ...

  • Colonialism Never Ended
    on May 20, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    …And other ideas Florida doesn’t want to teach you. We're sorry, but something went wrong while fetching your podcast feeds. Please contact us at [email protected] ...

  • None of us saw digital colonialism coming. Now we must live with its consequences
    on May 10, 2024 at 6:33 pm

    The perverse principles of the 1970s that powered the tech titans have left us with a world where the richest 1% own nearly two-thirds of its wealth ...

  • Luis Miranda Jr. reflects on giving, the arts and his son Lin-Manuel in the new memoir 'Relentless'
    on May 7, 2024 at 6:08 am

    He was an ardent independentista, committed to helping lift his country from the shadow of United States colonialism. But the job opened ... political organizing and philanthropic giving — a ...

  • ‘British ingenuity’ not colonialism drove UK growth, says Kemi Badenoch
    on May 1, 2024 at 9:45 am

    Kemi Badenoch said ‘simplistic narratives’ about Britain’s growth ‘exaggerate’ the impact of slavery and colonialism (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire) The UK’s economic success is the ...

  • Colonial Hyundai
    on September 16, 2022 at 6:18 am

    [{"search_type":"general-inventory-search","vehicle_array":[{"trim":"SEL","make":"Hyundai","cat":"crossover_compact","year":"2024","customer_id":"91201","stock_type ...

  • MIT Technology Review
    on April 22, 2022 at 3:08 am

    Over the last few years, an increasing number of scholars have argued that the impact of AI is repeating the patterns of colonial history. European colonialism, they say, was characterized by ...

The Latest Google Headlines on:
Philanthropic Colonialism

[google_news title=”” keyword=”Philanthropic Colonialism” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]

What's Your Reaction?
Don't Like it!
0
I Like it!
0
Scroll To Top