29 January 2019

In episode 42 we chat to Krystian Seibert, an Industry Fellow at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. We discuss the current wave of critiques of philanthropy, why criticism is important, how to make that criticism constructive and what the response from policy and lawmakers should be. Including:

  • How do we criticise ‘well’?
  • Is some criticism in danger of ‘preaching to the converted’?
  • To what extent does personal philosophy or ideology dictate how receptive you are to certain criticisms?
  • Which criticism of philanthropy is hardest to answer?
  • How much do the current US-focussed critiques resonate elsewhere (e.g. the UK or Australia)?
  • Is there an argument to change how philanthropy is regulated by the state?
  • How do we balance the freedom to make individual philanthropic choices with the responsibility to ensure philanthropy doesn’t create greater inequality?
  • In the US the focus has been on the potential for philanthropy to subvert democracy by offering a means of influence outside the electoral system. Yet in many other places, the concern is the opposite: that the ability of civil society (funded by philanthropy) to campaign is being stifled. How do we square these two concerns?
  • Should more philanthropic funders support journalism or other mechanisms that can hold philanthropy itself to account?
  • Is there an inherent power imbalance in philanthropy, between those who have the assets and those that require them? Can we address this balance, and if so how?
  • Do we need to make philanthropic decisions more democratic? If so, how?
  • Do we need to make philanthropy more accountable to the people and communities it is supposed to serve? If so, how?
Rhodri Davies

Rhodri Davies

Head of Policy

Rhodri leads Giving Thought, our in-house think tank focusing on current and future issues affecting philanthropy and civil society. Rhodri has spent nearly a decade specialising in public policy around philanthropy and the work of charities, and has researched, written and presented on a wide range of topics. He has a first-class degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Oxford.   Read more about Rhodri



About the Giving Thought podcast

The Giving Thought podcast is an exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society.  Since launching in May 2017, the podcast has become recognised as an insightful and influential source of philanthropic debate. 

In each episode Rhodri Davies, Director of our Giving Thought Think Tank, and guests, take a contemporary issue in philanthropy and civil society and break it down into three manageable chunks, giving an overview of the extensive work they have done on the subject.  Episodes are also available free on iTunes and Libsyn.

Visit the Giving Thought podcast library