The troubling ethics and politics of philanthropy Is philanthropy, by its very nature, a threat to today’s democracy? Though we may laud wealthy individuals who give away their money for society’s benefit, Just Giving shows how such generosity not only isn’t the unassailable good we think it to be but might also undermine democratic values and set back aspirations of justice. Big philanthropy is often an exercise of power, the conversion of private assets into public influence. And it is a (...) form of power that is largely unaccountable, often perpetual, and lavishly tax-advantaged. The affluent—and their foundations—reap vast benefits even as they influence policy without accountability. And small philanthropy, or ordinary charitable giving, can be problematic as well. Charity, it turns out, does surprisingly little to provide for those in need and sometimes worsens inequality. These outcomes are shaped by the policies that define and structure philanthropy. When, how much, and to whom people give is influenced by laws governing everything from the creation of foundations and nonprofits to generous tax exemptions for donations of money and property. Rob Reich asks: What attitude and what policies should democracies have concerning individuals who give money away for public purposes? Philanthropy currently fails democracy in many ways, but Reich argues that it can be redeemed. Differentiating between individual philanthropy and private foundations, the aims of mass giving should be the decentralization of power in the production of public goods, such as the arts, education, and science. For foundations, the goal should be what Reich terms “discovery,” or long-time-horizon innovations that enhance democratic experimentalism. Philanthropy, when properly structured, can play a crucial role in supporting a strong liberal democracy. Just Giving investigates the ethical and political dimensions of philanthropy and considers how giving might better support democratic values and promote justice. (shrink)
Rarely have these separate approaches been brought into the same conversation. Education, Justice, and Democracy does just that, offering an intensive discussion by highly respected scholars across empirical and philosophical disciplines.
Many experts in moral education agree that the potential for empathy, a key moral emotion, is innate. However, it is also evident that this potential needs to be developed if children are to acquire crucial moral qualities such as honesty, concern for others and a sense of fairness. Our central claim is that important structural changes in both families and schools may be necessary for the development of empathy and, hence, the fostering of these moral virtues. Since many families and (...) schools are far from ideal, both are likely to need help from the other and each can compensate to some extent for the other's failings. However, unless families become more sex-egalitarian, and schools become more multicultural in their student and faculty populations as well as their curricula, both lack components necessary for their success as moral educators. If such changes occur, the resulting dynamic between families and schools may be ideal for the healthy moral development of citizens. (shrink)
The common school ideal is the source of one of the oldest educational debates in liberal democratic societies. The movement in favour of greater educational choice is the source of one of the most recent. Each has been the cause of major and enduring controversy, not only within philosophical thought but also within political, legal and social arenas. Echoing conclusions reached by Terry McLaughlin, but taking the historical and legal context of the United States as my backdrop, I argue that (...) the ideal of common schooling and the existence of separate schools, which is to say, the existence of educational choice, are not merely compatible but necessarily co-exist in a liberal democratic society. In other words, we need both common schooling and educational choice. The essay proceeds in four parts. First, I explain why we need to understand something about pluralism in order to understand common schooling and school choice. In the second and third parts, I explore the normative significance of pluralism for common schooling and educational choice, respectively. In the fourth part, I show how the two can be reconciled, given a certain understanding of what pluralism demands. (shrink)
The late Susan Moller Okin was a leading political theorist whose scholarship tried to integrate political philosophy and issues of gender and the family. This volume stems from a conference on Okin, and contains articles by some of the top feminist and political philosophers working today. Their aim is not to celebrate Okin's work, but to constructively engage with it and further its goals.
ABSTRACTClassical liberals and libertarians assign fundamental importance to economic liberties and champion bottom-up approaches to social welfare. They point to the significance, even superiority, of philanthropy in providing for society's most disadvantaged citizens, and they defend rights of inheritance and intergenerational transmission of wealth. So one might think that John Tomasi's “market democracy” would defend gift giving and philanthropy. But market democracy leaves far less room than might be thought for an enthusiastic defense of gift giving and philanthropy, and this (...) distances market democracy more than we might expect from the territory of classical liberalism and libertarianism. (shrink)
This chapter defends an overarching ideal of liberal democracy—government for and by the people, where each is considered free and equal—and shows how different conceptions of this ideal lead to different visions of the nonprofit sector. The argument reflects a more fundamental point: that claims about the proper shape and scope of civil society, and certainly the dimensions of nonprofit organizations, are structured by larger political ideals. We cannot understand competing visions of the nonprofit sector without seeing it in relation (...) to the political and social order in which it is supposed to rest. (shrink)