Foundations of Radical Philanthropy
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As an institution that often seeks to redress global inequality and poverty, philanthropy is commonly dismissed as either masking structural causes, an insufficient response, or a contribution to the problem itself. Either way, philanthropy is increasingly labelled as philanthro-capitalism because it serves the interest of capital. But what about philanthropy that engages, seeks to transcend, and tries to provide alternatives to the status quo? Such philanthropies have been highlighted in the literature, but their radical foundations could be further clarified. In seeking to do so, this article (a) engages a radical theory of poverty, (b) teases out key principles of radical philanthropy, and (c) critically highlights the need to consider radical philanthropy as an alternative to philanthro-capitalism. Radical philanthropy is quite distinct and, while it can be unrealistic for individual foundations to embody all its principles, as a collective, they can be considered as one important and concrete contribution towards realising the aphorism, popularised by the World Social Forum, that ‘another world is possible’.
KeywordsRadicalism Philanthropy Poverty Inequality Philanthro-capitalism
We would like to thank the following people who reviewed and commented on previous drafts of this article: Chris Budhan, Katrina Moore, Jenik Radon, James Wadham, Bob Zuber, and the anonymous reviewers. We would also like to thank Ben Courtenay and Will McManus for their research assistance.
This study was partly funded by Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowships (RG152479).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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