Jan 12, 2021
In this episode we unpick the complex relationship between
philanthropy and democracy. Does philanthropy undermine democracy,
or strengthen it? Do we need to make philanthropy itself more
democratic? And if so, how?
- Does philanthropy automatically introduce a “plutocratic bias”
into public discourse and policy?
- Is lack of transparency a particular issue? Does the trend
towards using structures like LLCs exacerbate this problem?
- Does the ability of individuals at any level of wealth to
associate within civil society lead to the dangers of “faction” -
with minority groups able to exert an undue negative influence on
the democratic system? How does this relate to digitally-enabled
conspiracy groups like QAnon?
- Does perpetuity in philanthropy result in intergenerational
injustice as a result of the “dead hand of the donor”?
- What role does philanthropy play in giving voice and power to
marginalised groups and thus overcoming “the tyranny of the
majority” in a democracy?
- How does civil society campaigning and advocacy strengthen
- What role can philanthropy play in the countering
disinformation and online extremism that has tarnished the public
- Can philanthropic support for public interest journalism
- Can big money philanthropy be justified on the grounds of its
ability to drive innovation & “discovery”?
- What role does philanthropy play in enabling a “battle of
Ideas”, and is this to the benefit or detriment of democracy?
- Is voluntary action a “nursery school of democracy”, as many
- Do we need to democratise philanthropy itself? Does this need
to be with respect to donors or recipients, or both? What models
are there for doing so?