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Is philanthropy a threat to our democracy? Are there political risks hidden in what first looks like altruism? In this public event, two political scientists—Chiara Cordelli (University of Chicago) and Rob Reich (Stanford)—will explore how governments have outsourced public functions to private entities, leaving philanthropy to fund important services like education and health care. This has allowed Big Philanthropy, financed by an affluent elite, to gain significant power over public policy, not to mention lavish tax advantages that further contribute to social inequality. The respective authors of The Privatized State and Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better, Cordelli and Reich will explore the hidden social costs of modern philanthropy, and then consider how philanthropy can be redeemed. When properly structured, they contend, philanthropy can play a crucial role in supporting a strong liberal democracy. Throughout this conversation, they will pay particular attention to how the redemption of philanthropy depends on putting constraints on privatization, democratizing the governance of philanthropic entities, and changing existing tax rules.
Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
Professor of Political Science and, by courtesy, of Education; Co-director, Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, Stanford
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