Philanthrogeek may be very early in following an emerging area that will prove important, perhaps mission critical, to our common wealth. Much of Gifthub, sponsored as it is by Wealth Bondage: The Future of Good and Evil, is about the fatal but inevitable downside of assimilating the commons and charity to business methods and the business mind or sensibility. Generally when Wall Street or Havard Business School, or Stanford Social Enterprise Review, or FSG, or Bridgespan, or Jed Emerson, or Markets for Good, creates a blend of forprofit and nonprofit forms, they err on the side of business logic, management systems, and benefit to investors. They are part of the ecosystem of schools, business minded funders, and thinkers who have grown up to service, extrapolate, and justify (not even excuse but glorify) financial wealth feeding on whatever it takes to build more financial wealth. Now it is feeding on the social. Soon it will brand God, assuming Jobs was not god. They insist on growing to scale, cashing in and cashing out - that is their vision of moral heroism. That is their validation of who and what they are or would become. That is what their heros have done. They aspire to that, maybe pine for it. They see one who sacrifies for others, whether mother, martyr, solidier, or saint, to build or preserve a social good, even at the cost of his or her own comfort, or even his or her own life, as a putz. Such a moral hero, is a fool in their view, who has failed to learn the most basic lessons of a balanced scorecard or double bottom line business. The putz simply fails to see that he or she can have it all! They can have wealth, power, prestige, celebrity, love, and acclaim. And they can do good! What moron would voluntarily follow the way of the Cross? Or of Thoreau? Without wisdom, or a certain sort of civic virtue, without self mastery of the boundless desire for more, much is invisible. And what is not seen for what it is then becomes another mine to be stripped, packaged and sold - why not the social? We can be like Zuckerberg. And who better might one ever be?
Thinkers like Jon Husband, Dave Pollard, and Jean Russell are coming from a far more robust sense of community and common interest. They have not yet prospered materially - more fools they!
Crowdfunding of new ventures disintermediates Wall Street and the entire mindset that must measure, manage, optimize and control on the way to accelerating planetary eco-suicide. Crowdfunding, as it may emerge from the Jobs Act, is a huge, indeed, tectonic shift in the play of forces around money, meaning, community, reciprocity, and resiliency. Perhaps now we can evolve new forms in which stakeholder interests, those of ordinary citizens, are baked into a venture at inception, with funding not only from family and friends but from the affected community. Such small ventures need not grow to scale, in order to go public on Wall Street, and thereby access the ruthless and morally insane, the planet destroying, capital markets as we have come to know and love them in Wealth Bondage, the distribition power, wealth, information and close supervision, that makes us the stunted, obedient, demented, addicted, creatures we have become. These crowd funded ventures could start small and stay small accessing capital through the crowd sourced market which would be more low key, more human scale, and satisfied with a different balance between investment return and the community interest, including the long term interests of the ecosystems on which we depend for, among other public goods, air. Without air, where would we be? We could not even pitch one another without air!
Read by contrast what it takes to pitch Omidyar network. Tell me what kind of world you prefer. What tone. What moral sensibility. What degree of self knowledge. What compunction. What polity. Do you want to live in a world dominated by pumped up voices like these, calling endlessly for More, and Bigger? Or would you settle for smaller and sustainable, for reflective and quiet, for unique and unscaleable, funded in community with your fellow sufferers?