Harvard guest lecturer suggests philanthropy stems from ‘injustice’

Harvard guest lecturer suggests philanthropy stems from ‘injustice’

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Author and former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas recently warned students during an event hosted by Harvard Kennedy School's Institute of Politics about the inherent problems of charity and philanthropy, suggesting that "generosity is the wingman of systems of injustice."

The story: Giridharadas, author of "Winner Takes All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World," observed that the venue, named after John F. Kennedy Jr., is probably “the only space at Harvard not named after a random rich guy who gave a lot of money.”

He then added that nearly all the rest of the spaces at Ivy League school were named after  “hyper-rich” donors who are always doing “everything they could to change the world" and asked, “Why is this happening?”

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“What if all the generosity is the wingman of systems of injustice?” Giridharadas asked.

He argued that bad, wealthy people make large donations because they have a moral “virtue deficit” and try to make up for their misdeeds through what he called  “surplus virtue” created by positive organizations like charities and universities

Giridharadas also suggested college students should do more to protest the acceptance of donations from such individuals, saying he finds it “very hard to explain the lack of serious protest in this country” on campuses.

In a recent tweet, he wrote, “Billionaires are like Bruce Wayne, causing societal problems through their companies by day — then wearing Batman costumes to solve them philanthropically by night.”

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