The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism

Overview

"Masterly on the way philanthropy works."

-The New York Observer

For more than a century, the United States has stood as a beacon of prosperity and democracy, proof that big business and big dreams could flourish side by side. Yet few Americans realize the crucial role that generosity plays in keeping that fragile balance.

A leading voice for community development, scholar and former Connecticut College ...

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The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism

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Overview

"Masterly on the way philanthropy works."

-The New York Observer

For more than a century, the United States has stood as a beacon of prosperity and democracy, proof that big business and big dreams could flourish side by side. Yet few Americans realize the crucial role that generosity plays in keeping that fragile balance.

A leading voice for community development, scholar and former Connecticut College president Claire Gaudiani examines the crucial role of philanthropy in American prosperity. She traces the entrepreuneurial spirit of altruism, finding that generous gifts have powerfully invested in the most critical ingredients of the American economy: people, property, and ingenuity. Rather than pitting the capitalists against the populists, Gaudiani draws a blueprint for a just future, full of opportunities, based on giving.

The Greater Good is a passionate, pragmatic, and optimistic manifesto for revitalizing the promise of the American economy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As Gaudiani examines the directions in which philanthropy must advance in the years ahead, she offers some stark alternatives that will demand the attention of our policy makers. Insightful." -Edwin J. Feulner, president, The Heritage Foundation
Publishers Weekly
As president of Connecticut College in the 1990s, Gaudiani saw the school's endowment quintuple, no doubt bolstering her enthusiasm for philanthropy and inspiring this foray into writing about public policy. Declaring "no people on earth are as generous with their money as Americans are," Gaudiani posits "citizen generosity" as not just an alternative to government spending or corporate investment, but an integral fulfillment of the nation's "democratic imperative" of upward mobility. She mostly chooses her historical examples well, as in sections on Chicago's vibrant (and lucrative) museum culture and the origins of the March of Dimes, but does stumble occasionally: as evidence of our generosity, an early chapter observes that 89% of Americans made charitable donations in 2001-but fails to mention that September 11 might have made the year's giving patterns atypical. Her optimism also leads to a debatable argument that the happiness the founding fathers wanted us to pursue lay in contributing to others' success and that revived attention to various religious championings of generosity could inspire a philanthropic revolution. Gaudiani makes much of the idea that we need charity because we can't rely on government to fix our problems, especially since we hate paying taxes, and conservatives and libertarians will undoubtedly cite this book to support increased tax cuts "freeing up" money for donations. Some will agree, some will not, but what can anyone really say against a book that suggests we all give more to charity? Agent, Tina Bennett. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Philanthropy has always been vital to the growth of our country, argues former Connecticut College president Gaudiani. From Colonial times, Americans have always been willing to open their pockets for philanthropic appeals, which represent a form of "investment in our democracy and our economy." Whether it is a Rockefeller giving away millions or schoolchildren handing over pennies, Gaudiani feels that this spirit of generosity is something uniquely American and one of the country's great strengths. She points out that many institutions taken for granted today (e.g., the Smithsonian) would never have been established without a bequest from enlightened and generous donors. In addition, extending philanthropy to scholarships has enabled us to develop our "human capital," benefiting countless generations. But as companies lay off thousands and large-scale philanthropic contributions are scaled back, Gaudiani wonders if we are at a crossroads. If our generosity dries up, how will our culture endure? As Gaudiana acknowledges, there are no easy answers. This is an eloquent and thoughtfully written work that sheds light on the cultural importance of American philanthropy. Recommended for larger libraries and philanthropic collections.-Richard Drezen, Washington Post/New York City Bureau Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805076929
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/4/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 827,521
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Claire Gaudiani served as president of Connecticut College from 1988 until 2001 and continues to serve as volunteer president of the New London Development Corporation. She is currently a senior research scholar at Yale Law School and lives in Groton and New Haven,

Connecticut.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: How Philanthropy Saves American Capitalism 1
1 Democracy, Capitalism, and Generosity: The Fragile Balance 9
2 Making the Most of People Through Education: Human Capital, Part One 31
3 Making the Most of People Beyond Education: Human Capital, Part Two 59
4 Expanding the Built Environment: Physical Capital 75
5 Advancing New Ideas: Intellectual Capital 107
6 Generosity and the Future of Democratic Capitalism 134
7 The Challenge of America's Wealth and the Coming Wealth Transfer 158
8 The Challenge of Diversity 170
9 Dangerous Donations 188
10 Working Solutions 198
11 A Philanthropic Revolution 219
Notes 243
Bibliography 257
Acknowledgements 271
Index 275
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