Monday, August 12, 2013

Peter Buffett and the Charitable Industrial Complex

While Mr. Buffett makes points which have been made elsewhere about the unintended consequences of philanthropy, charity as penance for the affluent, and the need for systems change rather than one-off projects, it is refreshing to see someone in his position step outside of the philanthropic echo chamber and ask some larger questions.   

As he states, philanthropic leaders, heads of state and corporate leaders are "all searching for answers with their right hand to problems that others in the room have created with their left."   We are all dealing with the contradictions and dissonance created by a networked global market that our existing systems such as government, corporations and philanthropy do not begin to solve. 

What he does not state is how we can begin to address these contradictions beyond a vague call for multi-stakeholder partners and listening. 

I applaud his piece but want to dig deeper.