Nov 27, 2018
In episode 38 we talk to Professor Rob Reich from Stanford University about his new book, Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How it Can Do Better and about his wider work exploring the political philosophy of philanthropy.
In a wide-ranging conversation, we cover:
-What motivated him to write the book?
-Why has philanthropy been largely ignored as a subject of study by political philosophers and political theorists over the years?
-Does he see his book as part of a growing trend of criticism of elite philanthropy at the moment?
-Why does philanthropy potentially subvert democracy?
-Is elite philanthropy a plutocratic exercise of power? And can this ever be justified?
-Does mass market philanthropy represent a powerful means of decentralising power and choice about public goods? Or is this always undermined by the disproportionate influence of those with large amounts to give?
-Do tax breaks for philanthropy exacerbate inequality? How could we structure them differently?
-How should we understand the role of foundations?
-If one of the key benefits of foundation philanthropy is innovation and 'discovery', how do we ensure this is at the heart of what they do?
-Why are endowed structures that exist in perpetuity a particular problem?
-What has been the response from policymakers, philanthropists and foundation leaders to his arguments? And what would ideally like them to do?