Business involvement in philanthropy is increasing day by day, but is it a blessing, a curse, or somewhere in between? Just Another Emperor? is the first book to take a comprehensive and critical look at this vital new phenomenon. Whatever position you take, this will be one of the most important debates of the next 10 years.
"In this important and insightful book, Michael Edwards lays bare the mythologies surrounding philanthropy and shows it to be exactly what it is--an essential part of our capitalist system, with all the flaws and foibles found elsewhere--good at what it does best but bad at what it's sometimes expected to do. Anyone who wants the truth of philanthropy in America should read this book."
-Robert B. Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley
The ideas in this book are a source of wide interest in the nonprofit, foundation and philanthropic communities. On April 3, Demos hosted a robust discussion with the author and some critics at its NYC headquarters. A number of websites are continuing these and other discussions. We urge interested readers to check in on what others are saying. Some snippets...
"Bang! That's the sound of Michael Edwards hitting the nail on the head. And what a welcome sound it is, given the hype over "using business means to achieve philanthropic ends."
"...I so often wonder, after reading pieces like this, how much time the author has spent working directly, first-hand with those that he criticizes. If he did, I'm not sure how could have that many misperceptions. As I was making notes to myself in the margin, I felt like the piece was more of a) a criticism of the media’s portrayal and hyperbole vs. actual practice, b) an expose about harmful private sector approaches, and c) and most importantly, a rallying cry for more investment in social justice funding."
It is hardly surprising that philanthrocapitalists are in the last analysis unlikely to achieve real social change, or transformation. As Mike points out, business approaches are often at odds with those needed for social change - competition vs cooperation; individual vs collective action; an emphasis on measurable results in a short time vs patient, long-term support for the messy and unpredictable processes of social change.
Check out the discussions--and join them--at: