Summary of Why Philanthrocapitalism Can Change the World

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As the old adage warns, “You can’t take it with you.” Heeding this admonition, billionaires Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and others of their ilk have pledged to donate their riches. Could this new era of philanthropy rival the golden age of Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller? In this topical interview with The Atlantic editor Corby Kummer, Matthew Bishop, a business editor at The Economist, explains Americans’ philanthropic tendencies. getAbstract recommends Bishop’s thesis to the wealthy, particularly members of the 1%, who need guidance in giving.

About the Speakers

Matthew Bishop is a business editor at The Economist. Corby Kummer is an editor at The Atlantic.



In recent years, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have kick-started a new wave of philanthropy. In fact, these do-gooders have more passion for altruism than for the activities that initially made them rich. Yet philanthropy is not a modern phenomenon. During the Middle Ages, wealthy merchants in Europe sponsored schools and hospitals. In the early 20th century, Andrew Carnegie was the first to institutionalize philanthropy in the United States. Carnegie believed the wealthy had an obligation to “invest in the sustainability of society” in order to thwart communism, and he shamed his peers into engaging in philanthropy.

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