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April 2005

Calpyso and Social Capital

"First Carnival then Lent," says The Happy Tutor, my Personal Morals Tutor. Not sure what he means, but he references Calypso and says it does have something to with giving - giving life to a culture dying of copyriHail_the_kingght, sanctimony, authoritarianism, and fear. Don't know where he gets that, but to each his own. For myself, I am going to keep my head down and do what I am told. The Freedom Pens are not for me. How about you? Somewhere out there, maybe Tutor is right, there is a Calyso King who can lead us into the streets, all of us, dancing. Free of fear, from the top on down, and the bottom up. To find and fund such a figure, now that would be Social Change Philanthropy.


Google Foundation to Invest in Social Ventures?

Google Foundation may invest in "double bottom line" social ventures. Let's hope this kindles interest in program related investments among many foundations. (Through PRIs a foundation can invest corpus in for profit ventures that advance the foundation's mission.) Let's also hope that PRIs don't attract promoters who abuse the spirit of public purpose, or find a way to make out like a bandit while doing good.


Faith, Greed, and Charity - And the Greatest of These is Greed

Was talking to my Life Coach, The Happy Tutor, about Venture Philanthropy and how sterile many of the venturers seem, how unawakened. Tutor had this to say,

Selfishness, Phil, as you know, is important for the Market, but comes at tremendous cost to our humanity.

Two of Ten Commandments condemn coveting.

Giving is one sector in which we can recover the human soul we have lost to commerce.

We need all three: GNP, Democracy (which is a form of government), and Civil Society.

Each has its own dynamic. Those who over-emphasize coveting do good for others through the miracle of the pricing mechanism, but damn themselves to Hell. ("Myself am Hell nor am I out of it" - Marlowe's Faust).

Even the wealthy could (maybe) enter the Kingdom of Heaven by giving all they have to the poor, and following Christ in the way of self sacrifice.

The Social Venturer is half saved and half damned, caught like Lazarus between two worlds, awaiting the healing touch to burst the bonds of market logic.

Surely, this is Biblical?

Well, actually, I doubt it. What is Biblical is will to power, and alibis for wordly gain. God loves a winner.


Estate Tax Repeal - May I carry your Money Bags, Sir?

Latest push to repeal "the death tax," from the Washington Post. In an ideal world, in which the wealthy are wise and generous by nature, and their radius of sympathy broad enough to encompass their "neighbors" among the poor, this might be a boon to philanthropy. The tax payer liberated from a 30-50% tax at death might now voluntarily give or bequeath that money, after significant research, to those most in need, or where the dollars would have the greatest positive effect for humankind. The chances of that, however, are not high. Paris Hilton does not set much of a moral example. And even generous people most often give to private schools, museums, religious organizations, and hospitals that benefit them and their own family or social set. The wealthy whose lobbying succeeds in repealing this law, will move on to the next law or program in their own behalf, using the same propaganda techniques, the same think tanks, the same hired intellectuals, the same advertisers, and the same political pals to produce another repeal or enactment shifting the burden of sacrifice to those least able to bear it. Yet, who can blame the rich for sticking it to the poor when the poor are more than happy to cry, "Down with the Death Tax!" The gullible deserve what they get, don't you think? Who are we to patronize, or educate, losers when we can so easily propagandize and screw them?