Doug Casey doesn’t have much good to say about philanthropists or philanthropy. From Casey at internationalman.com:
International Man: Let’s start by defining our terms. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines philanthropist as “one who makes an active effort to promote human welfare.”
What do you make of this concept?
Doug Casey: Who can possibly be against philanthropy based on that definition?
The problem is that most philanthropists don’t actually care so much about their fellow man. They care about building their own reputation—their so-called legacy—and seeming like a good guy. They give money to organizations that, in turn, are supposed to “do good” with it. In fact, most philanthropy is irresponsible; some is outright destructive.
Everybody in the public eye wants to look like a philanthropist. However, I think the whole concept has been perverted and turned on its head. A little later in this interview I’d like to talk about what a real philanthropist should do.
Most people claiming to be philanthropists are just guilt-ridden. They’re unhappy with what they’ve done with their own lives, or done to other people, and are trying to make up for it by dispensing money.
I have no problem with somebody who wants to build a museum, a library, or a stadium with their name on it. Those things may or may not be the most productive use of capital, but they certainly do no harm. I know a number of wealthy philanthropists; I consider them decent human beings—otherwise I wouldn’t associate with them. That said, most are misguided in this regard.