Rethinking Philanthropy

Creating a Culture of Gift

Philanthropy seems to lack a representative cultural voice in the arts today, so what might be the major themes of an artistic and cultural movement devoted to the life of philanthropy?
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The Transformation of Philanthropy: Causes, Processes, and Foreseeable Results

Philanthropy is undergoing a classic paradigm shift—a particular kind of historical change, which has a usefully intelligible character and direction. The generic phenomenon was identified by Thomas Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, 1962), and was readily applied in other fields of historical scholarship, especially to describe revolutionary change. More broadly applied, it refers to the total transformation of a mature field of human endeavor—“mature” in the sense of fully and coherently organized in its conceptualization, methodology, technology, and demographics, and fitting into its broader historical milieu, including technology, economy, societal infrastructure, cultural norms, and institutions.

Empowering, Not Enfeebling: Beyond the ‘Market V. State’ Dichotomy

The very core of philanthropy is the desire to do something, and rightly so. But sometimes we need to pull back and let individuals work to form their own associations, based on their own goals and taking advantage of their dispersed knowledge and diverse talents.

Poverty and Politics in Tocqueville’s Memoir on Pauperism

Alexis de Tocqueville's Memoir on Pauperism can help us understand the unintended consequences of apparently benign “solutions” and can help us become more fully aware of the difficulties of solving the problem of need in the modern world.

Why State-Led Humanitarian Action Fails

Foreign aid intended to alleviate poverty has largely failed and, still worse, in many cases caused additional harms to those who were already suffering.


Will the ties of community based on mutual need continue to fray thanks to centralized charity (welfare) and the comfort of the coming plenty? Or will abundance lower the costs of each of us to become a superphilanthropist?

Education for Charity: A Spiritual Visitation

How can we educate for charity? How can we help those we care most about realize their full charitable potential? We might explore the human ascent from the pit of avarice to the heights of charity.

Pioneer Virtues

For the Western pioneers, justice was a concrete action to be taken in specific circumstances, not an abstraction; happiness was a pursuit, not a right; and democratic decisions were a practical more than a political responsibility.
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What Kind of Problem a City Is

In her work the Life and Death of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs details the complex, dramatic patterns of urban life.

How good (and bad) ideas spread

Despite technology’s role in distributing information, the diffusion of ideas is still essentially a social phenomenon.

Making Sense of Social Complexity

How might we as individuals, groups, and society as a whole might make use of deeply human tools—from psychology to social learning—to make sense of the complex world in which we live?

Polycentric Innovation

A selection of articles exploring various aspects of polycentric innovation and the conditions necessary that allow entrepreneurs of all stripes to pursue ways to improve their industry, the culture, and their communities.

Loneliness and Its Antidotes

This collection of articles draws attention to the loneliness that pervades our society while considering what antidotes might serve to build meaningful connections between us.

The Future of Work

While policymakers have a role in building a proper scaffolding for workers, what role might philanthropy, business, and social entrepreneurs play in ensuring that the individuals of our society not only survive the transition, but thrive in the midst of it?
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