Canadian Rednecks?
Change in the Wind

The Business of Giving

Lucy Bernholz, a consultant to the philanthropic industry, or as she sometimes calls it, "the business of giving, "  has a chart showing its evolution since the 1900s. Not one mention anywhere on it of any social movement, whether civil rights,  worker rights, women's rights, food safety, worker safety, social justice, environmental protection, media reform, the resurgence of philanthropically funded conservatism, the resurgence of faith-based initiatives. Not one organizer. Not one mission driven thing at all. Not one mention of any entity or ideal drawn from the liberal arts, political engagment, or from faith. All about structure, technology, business, money, and markets.  A whole sector redescribed and its history rewritten in the language of commerce.  Maybe  Lucy just needs to turn the paper over and do a chart for civil society. That way we could have it both ways, just flip the paper over, back and forth. What would interest me is how Lucy would make two sheets, put them side by side, and explain how the Business of Giving and Civil Society interconnect.  Why has the language of business come to supplant the discourse of the liberal arts, of the spirit and of democracy? What drives that, Lucy? Can you imagine the chart going forward, say a decade, and the whole language of business thing being seen then as passe? A dead end. A last gasp of Reagan/Thatcher/Bush? Followed maybe by an upsurge from below that topples the rotten managerial structure, even as it collapses? Resiliance.

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