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Charities Aid Foundation's Giving Thought podcast explored the big issues, themes and news stories relating to philanthropy and the work of civil society. 

This podcast is no longer produced.


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?


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