The influence of new philanthropy on democracy

Oct 5, 2013 by

Education reform has been heavily influenced in recent years by massively wealth philanthropists who fund their own favored school reforms and then bring public policy along with them. How this is affecting the democratic process is the subject of a piece in Dissent Magazine titled, “Plutocrats at Work: How Big Philanthropy Undermines Democracy,” by Joanne Barkan, a writer based in New York City and Truro, Massachusetts.

Barkan explains why the current stream of philanthropic giving is different from private donations made in the past, and she uses school reform as a case study of the problems facing the democratic process when the very wealthy have, for various reasons, a wide berth to influence public policy.

You can read the whole piece. Here’s part of it, with permission from the author:

…Right now, big philanthropy in the United States is booming. Major sources of growth have been the wealth generated by high-tech industries and the expanding global market. In September 2013 there were sixty-seven private grant-making foundations with assets over $1 billion. The Rockefeller Foundation, once the wealthiest, now ranks fifteenth; the Carnegie Corporation ranks twentieth (Foundation Center).

The influence of new philanthropy on democracy.

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