Philanthropy should go after inequality's causes, not just its effects.
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
#6 / I Read It In The Times
The December 18, 2015 edition of The New York Times carried a front-page article with the following headline: "Class Divisions Growing Worse, From Cradle On."
Anyone paying attention won't find this fact very surprising. Growing income inequality in the United States has been well-reported, with even Scientific American writing on this topic.
In an Op-Ed statement appearing on the editorial page of the same edition of The Times, Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, discussed "Why Giving Back Isn't Enough."
Walker's main point, promoted in a pull quote, is as follows:
I have no quarrel with this advice to the philanthropists, from one of their own, but my belief is that the rest of us can't wait around for the enlightened wealthy to come to the conclusion that they need to target the "causes" of inequality, not just its "effects."
The "causes" of economic inequality in the United States are pretty much all "political."
So here's the good news: WE (at least potentially) are in charge of politics, not the philanthropists. It is easier to say it than to do it, of course, but the solution to income inequality is in our own hands. There is a "political" solution to the inequality problem. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, for instance, is talking about that, and we don't have to wait (for what I fear would be forever) for the philanthropists to solve this problem on our behalf.