Can the Rich Save the World? An interview with Matthew Bishop and Michael Green

Caroline Hartnell, Alliance Magazine; October 1, 2008.

Matthew Bishop coined the term ‘Philanthrocapitalism’ in an essay for The Economist in February 2006, referring to the movement to make non-profits more like businesses and create new markets for goods and services with positive social impact. In their new book: Philanthrocapitalism: How the rich can save the world, Bishop and co-author Michael Green probe the potential they see when philanthropy combines with capitalism to benefit society. They cite examples of the philanthropy of Bill Gates, Ted Turner, and Warren Buffet who are now joined by a cadre of developing world billionaires.

In her interview, journalist Caroline Hartnell asks the authors some tough questions such as: “Isn’t it undemocratic for the super-rich to have so much unaccountable power?” In response, they counter that the new philanthrocapitalists’ long-term focus actually represents a step toward more equitable power relations within the sector. But Bishop and Green acknowledge that in order to regulate the philanthrocapitalist market, it may be time to establish a new social contract – which would include expectations of transparency and accountability – between the super-rich and everyone else. How such a social contract would be negotiated or enforced was left unanswered.

For the complete interview see:

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