Philanthrocapitalism and the Gospel of Wealth

The Gospel of Wealth is an article that has been applauded by modern philanthropic figureheads such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and continues to draw attention despite being more than a century old. [1] Written in 1889, the article is one of the reasons why Andrew Carnegie is remembered by certain ‘higher circles’ as a role model for the thoughtful, even ethical member of the economic elite; his aggressive business tactics, to put it mildly, simply brushed aside. In this article we will explore the extent to which members of the surging philanthrocapitalist movement in the United States can be seen as the successors of Carnegie’s thought, and identify some of the commonalities and differences. The last part is devoted to a discussion on symbolic structures and the role of large-scale philanthropy in maintaining them. Read the rest of this entry »