benign genocide, philanthropy

Evaluating Philanthropy

I am virtually certain that the theory I have been developing — perhaps it is a thesis — will evolve as discourse on the Web.

That theory is that the global reality we have today is essentially and foundationally the product of the interaction between capitalism and philanthropy and that the major moral lapses of this accepted interaction can be termed casual or benign genocide.

A huge piece of this line of thinking involves the need to demonstrate that philanthropy in itself needs vastly more critical attention than now exists.

Another piece is the need to evaluate capitalism more as a cultural than a purely economic entity.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with creating abundance. It is the uses of abundance — and in particular the unexamined and widespread acclamation of these uses that is built into what might be called the media-education complex — that needs an updated Veblenian analysis.

I cite Veblen with the serene intent of recalling many strands of Thorstein Veblen’s thinking and applying some of its vicious strictures to the low estate of culture today. Even dissenting streams are all coagulated with the broad flow of uncritical acceptance of a tasteless hierarchy of values.

It does no good to complain about economic differentials when the mass of social engines out there are in lockstep to applaud the low estate of virtually every step on the ladder.

If you Google “evaluate philanthropy” you come onto the essentually uncritical ethos I am referring to. The philanthropic structure is as accepted as the capitalist structure is, and as the casual genocidal structure is. It all proceeds under the banners of educational-media benignity.

We fail in criticiam if we try to squeeze the reality I am describing into the old wineskins of Marxism and whatever other isms may have been pertinent.

We need a critique which answers these questions:

What is the function of philanthropy and what does its dominant status leave undone and unattended?

What is the function of governments and to what extent is their task limited or compromised by the priorities of philanthropy?

Well, one could go on and on. Just as one could go on about the limits of criticism of design, of transportation, and so forth.

It is doubtful that much will take place until he spark that accompanies these questions strikes the flinty minds of the dominant forces that might be called the mainstream of Web thinking.

I have faith that it is in the questions themselves that the prospects of significant change and growth exist.


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