Saturday, June 28, 2008

Seeking Opinions: Is 'Creative Capitalism' Dangerous or Brilliant? - The Chronicle of Philanthropy - 27th June 2008

If you have an opinion about whether “creative capitalism” can save the world, the journalist Michael Kinsley would like to hear from you. Mr. Kinsley is looking for contributors to a book he is producing about the notion that capitalism can be reshaped to help lift people out of poverty.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft who is stepping down today to work full time for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, floated the term “creative capitalism” last winter at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He argued that problems in the world’s poorest countries are too big to be solved by philanthropy. Capitalism must step in, he said, but at the moment it does much better at serving the needs of the prosperous than those of the poor.

“The notion that capitalism, which is all about self-interest, can be amended somehow to be more about helping others—and still be capitalist—struck many (me included, at least at first) as hopelessly Pollyannaish and a little bizarre,” Mr. Kinsley writes on The Huffington Post.

What’s wrong, he wonders, with Mr. Gates’s current approach — “make the money, then give it away”? Or with taxing wealth? And if corporations give money away or devote it to good works, aren’t they cheating their shareholders?

Mr. Kinsley said he would like contributors to his book to explore such questions and decide whether “creative capitalism” is “meaningless, dangerous, useless, maybe useful, very useful, or brilliant.”

He has also created a blog where people can debate the issue publicly.

Mr. Kinsley is married to Patty Stonesifer, the outgoing chief executive of the Gates Foundation, but the writer says neither Mr. Gates nor the foundation have anything officially to do with his book project (“unless you count glancing at printouts left by accident on the kitchen counter as ‘official’”).

Do you think “creative capitalism” can help the world’s poor? Click on the comment link below to share your thoughts. (A paid subscription and free registration are required to read the Chronicle article.)


I do think that creative capitalism will lead the way towards fostering working economies in developing countries.
— Lara Sanders Jun 27

I think Bill Gates might believe in the law of the universe, what you give comes back to you. Bill Gates also evidently aware that success and wealth can be measured in many ways. I would suggest that Mr Gates may be becoming more wealthy by the day, with all the good deeds his fine foundation is doing. Awesome leadership and a true social and community entrepreneur.
— Greg Tingle Jun 27

Credit: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

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