Mitch Nauffts interviews Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau chief of The Economist and co-author, Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World. The gist seems to be that smart people have gone into business, more so in this century than in any other, hence world leadership rightly comes from the successful businessperson, that the super-rich will prosper in this dark time by buying out the less fortunate at rock bottom prices, and that plutocracy will get a bad name, and lead to social backlash, unless the super-rich are perceived to be public spirited. Philanthropy, then saves the world, or makes as if to do that, as a means to the end of legitimizing our current economic arrangements. Meanwhile, no pardon, apparently, from George Bush for noted philanthrocapitalist, and former Board Member at Hudson Institute, Lord Conrad Black. Bernie Madoff, philantrocapitalist extraordinaire, seems headed for prison too. Richard Fuld, a virtuous capitalist of the first order, has fallen into disgrace.
Efficiency, effectiveness, systems theories. wealth as a measure of success - unless the super-rich respond to moral and political traditions more inspiring than these, efforts at self-legitimization through strategic philanthropy may come up short, even if Bill Clinton is front and center and even if Matthew Bishop, trotting before his master's carriage, blows the herald's trumpet until his cheeks burst. Legitimacy in a democracy is built from the botton up. We the people. So, maybe, social change philanthropy might garner a modest world-saving investment?