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Private Virtues, Public Vices

Philanthropy and Democratic Equality

 A thought-provoking challenge to our ideas about philanthropy, marking it as a deeply political activity that allows the wealthy to dictate more than we think.

Philanthropy plays a huge role in supporting the provision of many public goods in contemporary societies. As a result, decisions that affect public outcomes and people’s diverse interests are often dependent on the preferences and judgments of the rich. Political theorist Emma Saunders-Hastings argues that philanthropy is a deeply political activity. She asks readers to look at how the power wielded by philanthropy impacts democracy and deepens political inequality by enabling the wealthy to exercise outsize influence in public life and by putting in place paternalistic relationships between donors and their intended beneficiaries. If philanthropy is to be made compatible with a democratic society of equals, it must be judged not simply on the benefits it brings but on its wider political consequences. Timely and thought-provoking, Private Virtues, Public Vices will challenge readers’ thoughts on what philanthropy is and how it truly affects us.

256 pages | 6 x 9

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Donations and Deference
Chapter 2. Equality and Philanthropic Relationships
Chapter 3. Plutocratic Philanthropy
Chapter 4. Philanthropic Paternalism
Chapter 5. Ordinary Donors and Democratic Philanthropy
Chapter 6. International Philanthropy

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