Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What's wrong with philanthropy?

Having often thought there was something wrong with philanthropy, I couldn't ever put my finger on exactly why. I think I have it now. Capitalists use the notion of philanthropy as a justification for capitalism in the first place, 'see how wonderful the wealthy are as they donate huge sums to the poor, education and the arts - no government does that without raising taxes', or so goes the mantra of the haves. I stumbled on something that began to open that door, 'people should stop being good in the way they distribute their money, they should try being good in the way they're making it'. Carnagie, Gates, Haskayne, Werklund have all 'given back', but why? Was their 'share' too big to begin with? Are they feeling guilt at their success at the expense of others? If they are to give back, why not to the workers who actually made their fortunes? Why not give each employee their share rather than donating it to 'cultural' edifices and organizations that cater to the wealthy, such as grand music halls or whole faculty wings of universities. Having expropriated the surplus labour from the workers in the first place and amassed it, why not give it back to them? Why? Because of the basic need for inequality in the capitalism sandbox, labour simply should not get its fair share. But if that notion is true it is interesting the idea of sharing should still surface. There is something innate in us that looks askance at the outrageous accumulation of things, money included, and this seemingly rings throughout human history and regardless of culture. Somehow we know it's not morally correct. It's as though in the core of our being we are more sharers than hoarders. In the end philanthropy is to alleviate the embarrassment of riches, to forestall negative sentiment and to outwardly look good to the general public. I found this vid http://youtu.be/mTAE5m3ZO2E

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