Charity with US Characteristics: how our oligarchs buy their way out of criticism


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The subject is covered very thoughtfully in No Logo. Naomi Klein points out that as corporate taxes decline, corporate philanthropy increases, which is nice, except that the people and our representatives no longer control the disposition of that money.


A browser plugin that replaces every occurrence of the word “philanthropist” with “kleptocrat” would be handy.









We had that article a few days ago about the alienation of wealthy people, and this post certainly serves as a good data point.

The Koch brothers are literally the faces of the corruptive power of money in politics and higher education (and George Soros for the left.) What criticism are they “buying” themselves out of? How can they be so … unaware of their position that they feel any sort of need to protect themselves from criticism “from within” the orgs they support?

Like if I were a Koch brother, I would let all that criticism wash off me like water on a duck’s back, especially if I believed in the cause underneath. I certainly wouldn’t be caught trying to stave off all that criticism in such a blunt and easily investigated manner.

And anybody who chooses to be a financier knows they are sacrificing their public reputation to become a Master of the Universe. So why get so sensitive about it? In fact, we should make them all sign like the opposite of the Hippocratic Oath to even run a hedge fund. “First, greed is good.” I love bankers who say, “Hell yeah I got mine, capitalism’s great, nyah nyah nyah” because at least it’s an ethos, man. Them hemming and hawing about how their philanthropy somehow offsets the awful system from which they’ve sought their rent is … downright delusional.

Anyway tldr Nobody is a villain of their own story.


Hoarding money only does them any good if people are willing to take it. If they are known to be reprehensible, their money starts to not be worth much.


Strongly disagree, if only because (certainly in the financial world) most financiers are taking money from … other financiers. They literally operate almost on a different economic plane than you and I.

Also, institutions are fairly competitive amongst each other, so their ability to simply “sit on the sidelines” while some other university or research program takes questionable dollars is fairly limited. Their dance cards would be pretty empty if they applied any sort of stringent moral calculus to their donors. Hell it took forever to get us divested from apartheid supporters!

Compare that to, say, the Koch’s position on climate change (solve it with the free market) and you can easily see how the hedge fund managers who handle most universities’ endowments are … certainly not going to turn down that money any time soon.


My point wasn’t where they get their money from, but their ability to spend it. Of course, their ethics might not be a problem for other investors. Being able to ultimately transfer it does not change its value being less to many people. What people seem to love constantly forgetting that value is still largely subjective.

Sure, big institutions won’t care, but most people aren’t corporations, universities, funds, etc


I guess I’ll just say that while people don’t like the amounts of money the Kochs are throwing at these institutions, the actual positions they’re trying to advance are more like … 50/50 in terms of ideological support among most people. Maybe we could haggle and say it’s 60/40 or whatever but certainly not like 99/1 or something.


I don’t think you even need to talk about Koch levels of money here. In a related story:

IMHO, this link is worthy of its own boing-boing post if any mods are paying attention. Because you can happen to be a teen who cares about both soccer and salmon at the same time.


Why not hit up the submiterator with it?


I don’t trust BB links not starting with bbs.


One part lazy
One part no love with submitting anything ever
One part didn’t think it would get any attention
Plus several other parts related to part the first.

However, at your suggestion, I gave it a try.
And now I play the waiting game…


Oh and one part that people do this.

Edit: Not picking on renke. I just don’t think most people click the links here.


I’ve long thought this way about “charitable” tax-deductible donations to the opera or ballet or philharmonic orchestra. I mean, … it’s nice that the artists get to do their thing and all. But really, all they’re doing is subsidizing something they want to do. And getting a nice little tax write off into the deal.

In which case, why don’t rednecks get a tax rebate on their Nascar tickets, or sumfink.

Meanwhile homeless people remain homeless, and schools remain grossly underfunded. But at least the 1% get to show off to their chums about how philanthropic they are :unamused:


Oooh, GREAT. Now BB is selling stuff that used to kill turkeys, is it? Selling stuff that was made for RACISTS?!? They’ve got one for white (uncolored) people and another for black (colored) people:

SO THAT’S how @doctorow’s Patreon account is funded, huh? Wait a sec, I think I hear a chemtrail at the door…BRB


What do you think triggered the 40x tax rate hike?

Huh, the pricier one is Series 1931 and the other is 1935. A 40x tax reduction?