Philanthropy, humanity’s most benevolent impulse–is a timeless and borderless virtue, dating at least to the dawn of religious teaching. Perhaps this act has been bastardized by the giving class as a way of displaying extravagance or might rather than the virtue it tends to portray.
Philanthropy as we understand it today, however, is a phenomenon usually executed by companies or the wealthy as a way of giving back to the society. Some companies engage in this act to gain publicity or rather as a marketing strategy for their brand while others do it because of the tax incentives associated to philanthropy.
Just before his death, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.” Philanthropy is an offspring of the market, conceived and sustained by returns on capital, yet its most important responsibility is to help address the market’s imbalances and inadequacies.
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