links for 2008-07-23


  1. thanks Sean, but (I’m sure unwittingly) you forgot to include my response to Jim’s post. Here it is:

    Thanks Jim, I’m glad you got that off your chest! “I feel your pain” as someone more famous than me once said. It sounds as though you feel as I did when I wrote “Just Another Emperor” – fed up at being lectured on something close to my heart with little by way of logic or evidence to support the claims that were being made. Good for you – with an honest debate we might actually get somewhere.

    I am happy to plead guilty to some exaggeration and over-generalization (my rationale for doing so is clear from my opening statement at the start of this debate), but by trashing my book as “political spin” you do a disservice to the argument it makes, which is considerably more nuanced than you claim.

    The core of my argument is that “philanthrocapitalism”is very good at doing some things but not very good at doing others (and may even cause some unwitting damage), so we have to be clear where the boundaries lie and protect other strategies and traditions to do what business and the market won’t do, even when coupled with social objectives – like community organizing and building social movements.

    That’s why I praise “social entrepreneurs” including your own company Benetech, as “important experiments” on page 38. But that doesn’t mean that they hold all the keys to success, or that they can’t be out-performed in social terms by others who don’t follow “philanthrocapitalist” techniques. Does Benetech address all the necessary aspects of protecting and extending human rights? Of course not – it makes a valued contribution where its skills in business and technology can contribute something useful. We need civil society activism to do the rest. And – to respond to your final point in the third of your contributions – there is plenty of evidence that activism creates changes in systems, structures and values that are every bit as impressive as the “rock star” social entrepreneurs you want to encourage. Learning from them, and valuing their contributions, might be a very good place to start.

  2. Didn’t mean to leave you off Michael. I linked prominently to your Forum when it was launched and I linked to Jim’s response because it was newsworthy.

    I’m glad you’ve posted your response here though.