The idea that philanthropy is the answer to funding social improvements is one that will only make things worse.
Wrapped in a pretty name philanthropies are special interests. Sure, they do tons of good, but they are not democratic by nature. In the worst cases they represnt the will of ine individual, who gets to the societal ills which get fixed. This is not a feasible long term solution to society’s need for more equitable distribution of resources.
We would not suggest turning down the billions and all the good which can be accomplished. We do suggest that charitable giving not be seen as an alternative to democratic selection of how to help those in need.
most of these donors have the best of intentions. But make no mistake: Their influence is growing in tandem with their largess, shifting power away from democratic institutions.
As Government Retrenches, Philanthropy Booms https://nyti.ms/2tHYvtE
Lobbyists are to blame.
The larger question is why we allow the chemical industry — by spending $100,000 on lobbying per member of Congress — to buy its way out of effective regulation of endocrine disruptors. The industry’s deceit marks a replay of Big Tobacco’s battle against regulation of smoking.
Are Your Sperm in Trouble? https://nyti.ms/2mxZcF9
How can someone objectively believe that corporate funded research doesn’t bias scientific outcomes?
There’s just so much evidence that it does. This isn’t to say that every collaboration is biased, but we should presume that it’s more likely to exist than not.
Scientists Loved and Loathed by an Agrochemical Giant http://nyti.ms/2iOYpLm
We all get so excited when a billionaire claims he will give away all his money. We think philanthropy is so wonderful that it can solve all the world’s ills. Reality is that this type of philanthropy follows the whims of the giver.
In recent years, many of the industry’s elite have pledged financial support to schools, hospitals, police stations and homeless shelters, all while many of the industry’s companies have avoided paying taxes that would fund those same vital public institutions.
Wealth gleaned by way of tax dodges and monopolistic business practices is wealth stolen from the public, even when it is returned in the form of supposed gifts. Philanthropy has the power to do a great deal of good, but so do tax dollars allocated in an equitable democratic system. Perhaps it’s time to adopt a Gospel of Government.
What Can’t Tech Money Buy? http://nyti.ms/1WrhUuw
Of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Except that that’s not how it’s working out these days. It’s working out to be a government for the rich and for corporations.
A recent study found…
that in policy-making, views of ordinary citizens essentially don’t matter. They examined 1,779 policy issues and found that attitudes of wealthy people and of business groups mattered a great deal to the final outcome — but that preferences of average citizens were almost irrelevant.
“In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule,” they concluded. “Majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.”
One reason is that our political system is increasingly driven by money: Tycoons can’t quite buy politicians, but they can lease them. Elected officials are hamsters on a wheel, always desperately raising money for the next election. And the donors who matter most are a small group; just 158 families and the companies they control donated almost half the money for the early stages of the presidential campaign.
America the Unfair? http://nyti.ms/1UdlP9G
We know we can’t trust Trump or his word. It’s enticing to believe that he may actually do some good for the country. You can rest assured that it would only be inadvertently if he does. He is out for himself and no one else.
But remember that we’re dealing with a president-elect whose business career is one long trail of broken promises and outright scams — someone who just paid $25 million to settle fraud charges against his “university.” Given that history, you always have to ask whether he’s offering something real or simply engaged in another con job. In fact, you should probably assume that it’s a scam until proven otherwise.
And we already know enough about his infrastructure plan to suggest, strongly, that it’s basically fraudulent, that it would enrich a few well-connected people at taxpayers’ expense while doing very little to cure our investment shortfall. Progressives should not associate themselves with this exercise in crony capitalism.
Build He Won’t http://nyti.ms/2eWb0Pu
There are time to privatize and times not to. Just like all of Idiot-Elect Trump’s schemes privatizing infrastructure is just an enrichment scheme at the Public’s expense.
if you think we should build more infrastructure, then build more infrastructure, and never mind the complicated private equity/tax credits stuff. You could try to come up with some justification for the complexity of the scheme, but one simple answer would be that it’s not about investment, it’s about ripping off taxpayers. Is that implausible, given who we’re talking about?
Infrastructure Build or Privatization Scam? http://nyti.ms/2eQW0lI