Sizeable donations to philanthropic foundations and institutions can tackle problems that the government and private sector can’t address. But large gifts can also be a threat to democracy. Philanthropic organizations are oddities in a democracy. The large gifts they take in come with little accountability, preferences from donors (sometimes in perpetuity), and generous tax subsidies. Rob Reich, co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford, wonders if giving is a way to convert private wealth into public influence.
Read more about the topics mentioned in this episode.
- Is Big Philanthropy Compatible with Democracy?, The Atlantic
- Rob Reich on the Undemocratic Bent of Big Philanthropy, Non Profit Quarterly
- The ethical argument against philanthropy, Quartz
- Living a Moral Life, Aspen Ideas to Go
- Has Democracy Run Its Course?, Aspen Ideas Festival
- Can Our Democracy Survive the Internet?, Aspen Ideas Festival
“Aspen Ideas to Go” is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute. For a curated listening experience, subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or find an archive of episodes here.