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Policy Paper

Philanthropists create social impact, but undermine democracy

Author:

Emily Johnson

London school of Economics and Political Science, GB
About Emily
Master of Public Policy, Class of 2020, The London School of Economics and Political Science
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Abstract

I focus primarily on the institutional form of the private philanthropic foundation in the United States to show how large-scale private philanthropy directly undermines the fundamental principles of a democratic society. While this is by no means a novel argument, my aim is to highlight the unique capability of this form of philanthropy to efficiently achieve positive social impact and suggest how best to make use of its advantages for the benefit of society, while imposing controls to sufficiently mitigate its undemocratic aspects. I argue that such reforms should include regulation of the institutional form of the private foundation, fostering more diverse representation of, and collaboration between, policy stakeholders, and the use of innovative financing structures.
How to Cite: Johnson, E., 2022. Philanthropists create social impact, but undermine democracy. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 10(1).
Published on 20 Apr 2022.
Peer Reviewed

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