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Conversations on Philanthropy is an annual publication of The Philanthropic Enterprise. Seeking to ignite reflection and discussion on the role of beneficence in the social order, Conversations features academic papers, essays, and reviews by scholars, philanthropists, and social entrepreneurs. Read more at

Consequentialism and Philanthropy: The Legacy of a Revolutionary

Insofar as civility—the virtue of the citizen—requires disinterested interest in what is right not for the direct benefit of the individual but for the country, the generosity of philanthropy achieves significance far beyond that of charity.

(Re)Considering the Independent Sector

Introduction Richard Cornuelle’s Reclaiming the American Dream: The Role of Private Individuals and Voluntary Associations has been subjected to numerous interpretations in the more than half a century since its original publication in 1965.

New Work for the Invisible Hands of Business

Introduction Perhaps the abiding theme of Richard Cornuelle’s thought was libertarian skepticism about the efficacy of government in addressing social problems.

Better and Worser Angels, and their Invisible Hands

In his essay “New Work for Invisible Hands” Richard Cornuelle evokes Adam Smith’s metaphor of the invisible hand, but challenges us to consider it in terms of our communal rather than our commercial activities.

The Good, the Bad, and the Charitable

Robert Atkinson and William Dennis both critique the philanthropic tax exemption in the United States in a manner reminiscent of Augustine’s early pleas for chastity: “IRS, grant me taxation, but not yet.”