GLOS 3225: The Power of the 1%: Global Philanthropy and the Making of a New World

3 Credits

Philanthropy has come to play an increasingly important role in the economy and society, on both a national and global level. Americans gave away $450 billion in 2019, or a little over 2 percent of our country's GDP (Giving USA 2020). A few mega-philanthropists, such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg and others donated mind-boggling sums of money. These individuals and their foundations are having a significant impact around the world, changing the way public education is carried out in many countries, how global health priorities are defined, how public policies are made, and how African agricultural systems are organized. Forbes magazine reports that there are 1,645 billionaires in the world today, 80% more than a decade ago. While some observers look positively on this philanthropic outpouring, others suggest it may be eroding democracy. In this course, we study philanthropy from a variety of perspectives, exploring who gives away money and why, how this \"gift\" impacts givers, receivers, and taxpayers, and what the relationship is between global philanthropy and power. Specific topics include the history of foundations; religion and charity; philanthropy and politics; consumption-based giving (or \"brand aid\"), and philanthropy and social policy. We'll examine case studies such as the Gates Foundation's role in African agriculture. Students will do \"participant observation\" in a local charity, and a research project on the philanthropic foundation or giving practice of their choice.

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