Posted by Eileen Ellsworth
This is the first post reviewing the book “Why Philanthropy Matters: How the Wealthy Give, and What It Means for Our Economic Well-Being” by Zoltan J. Acs (Princeton University Press 2013)
Zolton J. Acs makes a persuasive and scholarly case that American philanthropy is essential to American-style capitalism because it continuously revitalizes our economy and invests in the middle class.
Acs has spent a considerable portion of his professional career studying entrepreneurship in the US and Europe and has the ammunition to back up this theory with good evidence. He starts with a discussion of the Giving Pledge, reprinting word for word several pledge letters written by such philanthropists as David Rubenstein, Peter Peterson, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, George Kaiser, and David Rockefeller. One of the primary repeating themes you find in those letters is at the core of Acs’ book – the idea that philanthropy is intended by those who engage in it to create new opportunities for the next generation of entrepreneurs, and in doing so, becomes essential fuel for American capitalism.