Online Research Seminar
Most discussions of philanthropy focus on the ethics of charitable giving: how much should you give, and where? But philanthropy is also a topic for political philosophy: what role should philanthropy play in a democratic society? In this talk I begin with the latter question and argue that while philanthropy often undermines or conflicts with democracy, certain forms of philanthropy are nevertheless democratically complementary or even enhancing. I then tie my discussion back to the individual ethics of philanthropy and explore some social and political implications. Ethically, democratic values suggest a greater focus on benefiting disenfranchised groups, which yields a considerable convergence with effective altruism at the abstract level of “cause areas,” but a divergence when it comes to concrete interventions. Politically, we should reform the institutions governing philanthropy to make them better serve disenfranchised groups. This suggests a reform program of “differentiation”—trying to encourage some types of philanthropy while discouraging others—which contrasts with the more familiar program of “democratization,” which aims to equalize philanthropic power throughout society.
Zoom link: https://lingnan.zoom.us/j/9960270937
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