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Private Foundations and Development Partnerships: American Philanthropy and Global Development Agendas

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This book explores the influence of private United States (US) philanthropic foundations in the governance of global problems. Through a close scrutiny of four high profile case studies of public-private collaboration, the work addresses the vacuum present in global governance scholarship regarding the influence of foundations, arguing the influence of these actors extends This book explores the influence of private United States (US) philanthropic foundations in the governance of global problems. Through a close scrutiny of four high profile case studies of public-private collaboration, the work addresses the vacuum present in global governance scholarship regarding the influence of foundations, arguing the influence of these actors extends beyond the basic material, and into the more subtle and complex ideational sphere of policy and governance. This book: charts the growth of private forms of governance and foundations' role in deepening and extending private power in global politics provides a historical examination of private foundations in international affairs including their centrality in the development of the institutional architecture in international health and agriculture and the linkage back to domestic political systems analyses the new modes of philanthropy and giving styles - particularly venture philanthropy and 'philanthrocapitalism' - and how these are being rearticulated in the aid architecture and in development discourses evaluates distinctive features and unique attributes of foundations as transnational actors (including their limitations) - how they use these attributes when exercising policy influence and how they negotiate and collaborate with other state and non-state actors in global governance provides an introduction to three prominent foundations - Gates, Rockefeller and the Acumen Fund - and four key partnerships - IAVI, GAVI, AGRA and A to Z textile Mills. This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of international organizations, international political economy and development studies.


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This book explores the influence of private United States (US) philanthropic foundations in the governance of global problems. Through a close scrutiny of four high profile case studies of public-private collaboration, the work addresses the vacuum present in global governance scholarship regarding the influence of foundations, arguing the influence of these actors extends This book explores the influence of private United States (US) philanthropic foundations in the governance of global problems. Through a close scrutiny of four high profile case studies of public-private collaboration, the work addresses the vacuum present in global governance scholarship regarding the influence of foundations, arguing the influence of these actors extends beyond the basic material, and into the more subtle and complex ideational sphere of policy and governance. This book: charts the growth of private forms of governance and foundations' role in deepening and extending private power in global politics provides a historical examination of private foundations in international affairs including their centrality in the development of the institutional architecture in international health and agriculture and the linkage back to domestic political systems analyses the new modes of philanthropy and giving styles - particularly venture philanthropy and 'philanthrocapitalism' - and how these are being rearticulated in the aid architecture and in development discourses evaluates distinctive features and unique attributes of foundations as transnational actors (including their limitations) - how they use these attributes when exercising policy influence and how they negotiate and collaborate with other state and non-state actors in global governance provides an introduction to three prominent foundations - Gates, Rockefeller and the Acumen Fund - and four key partnerships - IAVI, GAVI, AGRA and A to Z textile Mills. This work will be of great interest to students and scholars of international organizations, international political economy and development studies.

27 review for Private Foundations and Development Partnerships: American Philanthropy and Global Development Agendas

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trevor (I no longer get notified of comments)

    Some friends – oh, when I say friends, that’s probably overstating it – people I knew in primary school who now mostly remind me of that lyric from Dylan ‘you went years without me, might as well keep going now’. Anyway, they seem to have found me on Facebook and have taken to telling me how biased I am. Mostly I use Facebook as a substitute for screaming at the TV screen when the news is on. Anyway, I’m fast coming to the conclusion that there are worse things to be than biased. One of these ‘f Some friends – oh, when I say friends, that’s probably overstating it – people I knew in primary school who now mostly remind me of that lyric from Dylan ‘you went years without me, might as well keep going now’. Anyway, they seem to have found me on Facebook and have taken to telling me how biased I am. Mostly I use Facebook as a substitute for screaming at the TV screen when the news is on. Anyway, I’m fast coming to the conclusion that there are worse things to be than biased. One of these ‘friends’ decided that they would sing the praises of Bill Gates. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is hilarious that Gates is now interested in curing viruses – when you think of it, it has been the unifying theme of his entire career. And it’s great he has finally decided that eradicating them should be his priority. I keep being told that Gates plans on ‘dying broke’ after having donated his fortune to humanity. The problem seems to be that he is proving to be something of a failure at this whole giving away his fortune thing. Since he stated this phase of his life, his fortune has doubled. This book, in part, helps to explain why that might be the case. I need to start with a disclaimer. I guess the question is, ‘Is the world a better place given that Gates is donating a significant amount of money to ‘charitable’ causes?’ I think if the only option available is that he didn’t do this, then we could all agree that the world would probably be a worse place. We have chosen to structure the world so that a very small group of mostly men get to control the largest slice of the world’s wealth as their own, personal fortune. Having allowed the greatest concentration of wealth in the hands of the few in the history of our planet, we are now required to be grateful if and when this tiny minority decide to use that wealth in ways that aren’t immediately obviously in their own self-interests. I struggle to applaud the fact we have made this choice. All the same, it is the choice we made in the 1980s and we have been living with the consequences ever since. This second gilded age, where the obscenely wealthy get to buy respectability by donating some of their fortune to ‘worthy causes’, is the new normal. It seems churlish to complain when people like Gates donate some of their wealth back to the dirt poor. That said, and if I could choose again, I would much rather live in a democracy. I would much rather have experts decide global policy on health and education in a system where those experts could be held to account for the decisions they make – that there could even be the possibility of consequences. I would prefer that global education and health policies be influenced by people who knew something about these topics, rather than by someone who bases their decisions on their gut feelings or the latest book they have read. The problem, though, is much worse than merely this – as this book makes clear. This book provides a series of case studies – but really, I would recommend reading the last two chapters. They summed up the problems we are facing from this new form of Capitalism. I’ve brought up some of those problems already – but the fundamental problem really lies at the very heart of the project itself. That is, we are living in neoliberal times – we are convinced that the market is hyper-efficient and that everything is measurable. The ultimate measure in this system is ‘price’ – price turns a market into an information system. It never quite occurred to me just how far down this particular idea went. However, this book makes it clear that philanthropic organisations are hardly going to be ‘socialist’, just because they are working with poor people. I just assumed that ‘charities’ would, you know, give money away… No, they are seeking to find ways to ensure that they help the poor by getting the poor to pay for the charity they receive. A good charity is one that turns a profit. Since free market capitalism is the greatest boon to human civilisation, and its laws are a manifestation of natural law, then charity, like free market capitalism itself, is inconceivable without making a profit. Charity can only benefit from a healthy dose of free market ideology. I think this is actually my main concern with philanthropy – the idea that despite whatever good it is doing, it is also normalising the myth that markets are the only possible solution available to tackling whatever problems we face. We now live in a mono-ideological world where any alternatives to the accepted wisdom are mere heresy. This book makes it clear that philanthropy in the US in particular (since Rockefeller) has been dominated by ‘western rationalism’ – and this has been the case almost to a fault. The solutions offered to the problems of poverty are therefore invariably sought in western science. But this isn’t the only option available. Western science pays little or no attention to cultural context, for instance. A genetically modified rice doesn’t require ‘context’. That the ‘green revolution’ increased inequality can be overlooked if it also increased life expectancy. Any fundamental changes to the social situation of the people living in poverty can be ignored if measures are seen to be improving. And why should the poor have any input into what those measures should be – when we have Bill Gates and other philanthropic capitalists able to make those decisions for them? Could we really expect anything different? This is the deeper question raised by the new normal, the new common sense. Handing infinite power to those who have made their billions out of free market capitalism was hardly likely to mean they would hand over money to poor people. Philanthropy capitalism believes in ‘incentives’ not a free lunch. That Gates and Co utterly believe in the efficiency of private sector, free market mechanisms also means that they cannot conceive of a system that would be better able to meet the needs of the world than that supplied by entrepreneurs dedicated to turning a profit. What is surprising, to me at least, is the fact we seem incapable as a society of imagining us putting any constraints on the whims of the mega rich as they create global policy in their own image. Rather than finding ways to hold them to account, our only role is to bow before them and be grateful regardless of the impact of their spending. Because, well, they might have decided not to have spent anything at all – and since that would have been worse, we should be damn grateful. The alternative where they pay taxes and we get actual experts addressing these issues never seems to occur to us.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Igor Bandovic

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ds_Sourav

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ty

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erik Summerville

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charles Arthur Hepbaum

  7. 4 out of 5

    Claire’s

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marco

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ignas

  10. 4 out of 5

    Azzaz

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sasha

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samson Jones

  13. 4 out of 5

    John

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maukan

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Yousif

  16. 4 out of 5

    Arshie

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tinker

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aníbal

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shrivathsa Srikanth

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ladan

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lito Rod

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Deepa

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ayaan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jackson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marina

  26. 5 out of 5

    Em

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cuplstudent

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