In the wake of munipal cutbacks, ordinary citizens work for free providing essential public services. I have long felt, reading Bill Schambra at Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal, that government has been crowding out these unpaid do-gooders. Those who held the job of librarian for $35,000 a year were blocking those who would do it for zero. By reducing taxes on the rich we not only create many new jobs, in China, and great wealth for entrepreneurs, and those who regulate them, but we also create new opportunities for the middle class to exhibit the moral heroism we once associated with the deserving poor. As a moralist, I applaud the rich for creating these opportunities for us to show our public spiritedness in the face of adversity.
Now a reputable moralist (Michael Sandel) asks if there are moral limits to markets. "He thinks we’re in thrall to markets." Here at Wealth Bondage, we strongly disagree. I myself have never been freer than while serving my boss, consuming merchandise, or sitting in my cubicle awaiting further instructions. Out on the street now, able to advance my own highest aspirations, I drink bum wine, and offer free advice which goes unheeded. I miss my cubicle where I had that other kind of freedom, where I knew my efforts were making a real difference. Most people I know feel the same. You can't impose freedom on them. They have to choose it. And they have. Market Freedom. They know no other.
How much longer will USians indulge the polite fiction that the wealthy -- who seize the best assets of nature, of art, of time -- make it all good by sending accountants, lawyers and pony boys to tend the altars of philanthropy.
So, why, Tom, my Learned Fellow Colleague in the Dumpster of History, did John Dryden, Poet Laureate, and also an extrordinary satirist, write such Panegryrics as, Astraea Redux?
Oh Happy Age!
Oh times like those alone
By Fate reserv'd for Great Augustus Throne!
When the joint growth of Armes and Arts foreshew T
he World a Monarch, and that Monarch You
Did he actually believe that the licentious King Charles II was another Augustus, a demi-god returned from heaven? I am more of the opinion that even in those days a poet, indeed all scribblers, best served Justice by serving those who could offer social order, and preferment up some kind of Great Chain of Being, whether secular, ecclesiastical, military, or corporate. My problem is that having served our nation's Wealthiest with countless free and unsolicited no obligation or your money back Morals Tutorials, based on all the best models, from Antquity to the present, I have nothing more to show for it than the friendship of a few men and women driven as insane as I have been. Or maybe we, Tom, are sane and the press, Congress, Council on Foundations, and Philanthropy Round Table, just to name a few are morally insane? Come, come, Tom! We are as mad Lear's Fool without even a pony's hay to butter. Our very lives point the proper moral: Respect your Betters or Live Precariously!
"Does this so-called wisdom you teach, Sir, pay?,I am often asked by my Philanthropy Advisory Students. To which I truthfully answer, "Nay, it is the pearl of great price for which you must suffer greatly strewing it before swine." To which they respond incredulously, What swine? Soon fisticuffs follow and my training in that field is limited to bleeding.
The New York Times cites two highly respected economists who say that our wealth inequality is shocking and forebodes a society like OId Europe.
Wildwoman, drawing on her experiences in the slums of Jakarta, on High Impact Philanthropy,
So, it says that they try to educate themselves, but it’s basically a bunch of rich people sitting in a room deciding that the little nonprofits and the people they serve do not know how to solve their issues. So instead, people with no experience in the field will solve their problem for them. They will make “high impact” giving a priority, giving in one particular area, to solve something they deem a priority.
It occurs to me that instead of letting a bunch of people removed from the problem take their theory of giving into their own hands, we might be better served if people receiving services, nonprofits and government worked more hand in hand, forging collaborations and best practices across the nation, sharing ideas, and forging goals collectively, instead of donors forging the goals.
My sense, Wildwoman, is that it is better, from a major gift fundraising perspective, to insult the intelligence of the poor than to offend the amour propre of the rich. The poor will take what they get, and show their gratitude, and get "results," or they will be passed over in the next funding cycle for a higher performing group of poor people. The rich have options. As a donor centered philanthropic coach my role is to be of service to those who matter most. Through High Impact Philanthropy through High Performing Nonprofits, my Hyperagent clients can dramatize their genius, posit and create the world we want (according to them), and save capitalism. Who am I to begrudge them their obscene fantasy? I work in Wealth Bondage laundering whatever they tell me to launder. The things I have seen! As I often tell the girls (of all ages, races, creeds and genders) when they complain of the systemic and ongoing abuse of power, The customer is always right, Honey. They pay for High Performing, give them High Performing. Maybe it is demeaning, but it sure beats working on the Supreme Court, or in Congress, or for the Ford Foundation Project on Social Justice and World Peace. If we are going to save Capitalism, we all have to bend over, frontwards and backwards, or there's others who will.
Into the conference room stride 18 hedge fund managers, ages 23-28. In the next 19 minutes they will collectively give away 45 million dollars - effectively, efficiently, on time, on task and on point. How is this possible? Each has sitting before him or her a one page summary of 47 charities, and a cover sheet where each charity is given a score of 1-10. The task of the brain trust in the room is to decide which of the 47 numbers is largest. How is this possible? In the background floor upon floor of low paid hacks arranged in cubicles, stacked one upon another in a hierarchy has done the research, built the spreadsheets, and processed the data. This is philanthropy getting results, not with heart or ethics or some airy fairy theory of justice but with cold hard logic. These men and women rule us for good reason. Given any two numbers they can assess the magnitude and make an informed decision.
Yes, my version is satirical, but the reality is not much different, as depicted by Bridgespan in a paper about Best Practices of Strategic Grantmaking.
Is that not embarassing, even to read it, much less write or swallow? The Case Study (Tiger Foundation: Profile in Engaged Philanthropy) is written by for and about those who rule us, and with wisdom, taste, and self knowledge held in abeyance. Through such high level rooms walks the clerk delivering papers. That would be me. In an earlier era I would have been the porter driving Young Master to the train, where he will depart for Africa, bringing civilization to the savages, dressing for dinner, and bringing results - ivory, profit, and trophies (heads of tigers, lions, elephants) home to the Manor. Strategic philanthropy is the new colonialism. That it is often revolting - why don't we say so? I guess Arundhati Roy did. I don't because these funders are my Ideal Clients and I want some of their money. After the epic scene above, I in that same conference room convened a class on The Heart of Darkness. No one showed except the janitor and he was just there to empty the trash and turn out the lights.
H. Peter Karoff listens to Yo Yo Ma discuss Bach and is reminded of gifted donors. I reread The Heart of Darkness and am reminded of how to get results. It is hard to be an artist and lack self awareness, or sensibility, but to be a philanthropist? All is takes is money.
To Whom it May Concern
Gifthub is an immortal work of art in theMenippean Tradition,written in a Padded Cell (he calls it a Dumpster for obvious reasons) in a state of shock by Phil Cubeta, Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families, under an alias, or alter ego, The Happy Tutor, Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage...... More....
Email Phil Cubeta, Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families.