Tristram Hunt in The Guardian on The Business of Giving:
And this is the point: the philanthrocapitalists pride themselves as consciously post-political. "The venture-capital ethos means instead that these social entrepreneurs are almost willfully blind to ideological issues," David Brooks of the New York Times wrote admiringly before describing a dinner with Bill Gates. "He looked utterly bored as the conversation drifted to presidential campaign gossip. But when asked about which programmes produce higher reading scores, the guy lit up and became a fountain of facts and findings."
There is little engagement with the kind of structural injustices - racial, economic, social - or broader environmental, demographic or strategic challenges that require political advocacy. Having made their riches from the existing free-market model, venture philanthropists see little need to confront its problematic aspects. And, given their accelerating influence in media and government, such an approach closes down a broader ideological debate.
Silence is not a sound; white is not a color; complacency is not an emotion; indifference to injustice is not a moral failing; being super-nice and to keep it positive is not a way to shut out the cries of the distressed. To be post political, of course, is to take for granted the hegemony of one's own ideology. In any giving transaction, my sense is, that you can take your tone from the giver or the recipient. I find it pays better to adopt the ideology of the giver. Things just go more smoothly that way as you build trust and confidence. There is no outside of Wealth Bondage. Giving might have seemed to be one, but Bill Clinton would tell you otherwise, as would Bush.
We are all capitalists now, or in loyal service to such. If you check out how those who warble most sweetly about philanthropcapitalism in the blogs, you will note a business plan behind it. Who is the client massaged by the message? What bank, brokerage house, association of wealthy people, or what private wealth client is buying the consulting service? The studies? The newsletter? The copy for insertion in client firm newsletter? The hooha? The panegyricks? Now, you could say the same about the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Michaelango was in the pay of the Church. So today the commanding heights are held by the capitalist and we must all sing hosanna.