(White 2012) The philanthropic complex

White, Curtis. The philanthropic complex. Jacobin. 2012 Spring; 6:24–28. Available from: http://jacobinmag.com/spring-2012/the-philanthropic-complex/.

White draws attention to the fundamentally conservative nature of philanthropic foundations in the USA, even ostensibly progressive ones, and to their role in the domestication of the Left. Right-wing foundations aggressively fund promotion of a comprehensive capitalist world view. Progressive foundations, on the other hand, almost exclusively fund work on narrowly defined projects that do not challenge the fundamental assumptions of the existing socioeconomic system:

One source summarized the general situation in this way, “Progressive funders say all things are connected, but act as if all things are disconnected.  Conservative funders never argue that all things are connected, but then they act—and spend money—as if they were.”

White emphasizes the lack of transparency in foundation decisionmaking, and the pervasive fear of blackballing that inhibits both direct criticism of the foundations themselves, and pursuit of projects that confront corporate ideology or the fundamental interests of specific corporations. White notes that most of his sources requested anonymity.


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