Quick guide to Philanthrocapitalism

12 methods of ideological and manipulative philanthropy

  • Not changing the system, not naming perpetrators. “The world is what it is”, “Be glad with what you have”. Recognise those inspirational quotes from your social media feed? Where do they come from?
  • Can’t say “social justice” — have to say “fairness”. Among other things, it makes the system that produces the problem more abstract. So subtle.
  • If responding to a problem unavoidably involves organisation outside one’s sphere, always propose organisation from bottom-up, definitely never top-down
  • Using anecdotes involving one person or one family. Due to limitations of the human brain, helping one identifiable victim beats thousand nameless and ignored cases
  • Only treat symptoms, never causes. For example, finance the unsteady incomes of gig-economy workers with a whizz-bang business model of temporary lending, but don’t mention the need for better industrial relations
  • Affirming the “Responsibility is always firmly private, opt-in and personal, never public or general societal” mantra. That’s like gambling companies asking you to “gamble responsibly”, or UberEats to “please don’t litter”, and ignoring that their whole business models are based on addiction and litter…actually, hang on…that is exactly what they are saying…
  • Popularise this mantra: You can only do good for others by doing well for yourself first
  • Talking disparagingly of “win-lose” solutions, and look for “win-win” situations at all costs — in essence, saying that you shouldn’t look for a moral obligation; enlightened self-interest is enough. Leaders of tech and business in near absolute power cast themselves falsely as renegades, claiming what is best for them is also best for the poor and uneducated (in an interesting twist, Trump managed to be at once an exposer, an exploiter and an embodiment of this cult)
  • Appeal to our built-in optimism bias. Firmly hold that “The same tools that created the problem can also fix them, we just need a bigger dose of them”, even if it sounds very much like a popular definition of insanity
  • Leaders of technology and business who hold their own tools of technology and business the key to solving problems. Social enterprise for social problems. Never get the government to do things — invent an app. If you have a huge hammer, all problems look like nails. And once the question has been framed in business terms, the battle is all but won — who can question the mastery of the business titans in matters of business?
  • Once everything is done to render governments impotent and dysfunctional (lobby power, tax evasion, PR drive), point out the resultant parlous public sphere and legitimize workarounds of our troubled democracy that will make it more troubled, thus creating a vicious circle
  • Market ideas like everything else. Dominate the distribution channels (social media, centers at universities, Ted talks, NGOs, the PR of charitable foundations) and there will not be opposition to the ideas. In this MarketWorld, potential thought leaders (used to be called thinkers or intellectuals) can choose to shape their speeches to fit in, thereby gain access to funding, audiences, the influence of the elite. Alternatively, they can remain big picture thinkers, use all tools at their disposal, willing to criticise and where need be, propose systematic change, even “win-lose” ones — but they will never reach anyone, nor have funding for their work.

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10AM Jam

10AM Jam

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