By Ian Smillie
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Additional info for Alms Bazaar: Altruism Under Fire: Non-Profit Organizations and International Development
In the early 1950s, John Steinbeck wrote: The most overrated virtue. is that of giving. Giving builds up the ego . of the giver, makes him superior and higher and larger than the receiver. Nearly always, giving is a selfish pleasure, and in many cases it is a downright destructive and evil thing. One has only to remember some of our wolfish financiers who spend two-thirds of their lives clawing fortunes out of the guts of society, and the latter third pushing it back. Some of the most important advances in governmental provision of social welfare have taken place at times of political peril for liberal democracy: the British reform acts of 1908 and 1911 were instituted in the teeth of massive labour unrest and the incipient revolutions brewing across Europe.
In the post-Civil War era, the concept of private responsibility for public good shifted from religious grounds to new ideas about the role of the elite, and about 26 enhanced private sector responsibilities. Fear of socialism and a fundamental mistrust of governmental action, especially in the social field, encouraged wealthy industrialists in the first three decades of the twentieth century to build on this idea, and to establish philanthropic foundations as an alternative to government. The Carnegie, Sage and Rockefeller Foundations emerged at this time, and helped form a concept of 'welfare capitalism', which maintained a high degree of legitimacy and influence until the 1930s.
25 The new disorder has caught us off guard. The end of the Cold War, which should have brought 'peace dividends', seems to have coincided with, or possibly contributed to, greater instability and uncertainty. In the face of this growing disorder, the world seems unwilling or unable to cope. ' He concludes that the doomsters and the cornucopians are probably both correct. Globalization, transnationalism and growth, along with breakthroughs in biotechnology and the availability of yet unimagined silver bullets will give the more stable, industrialized countries greater breathing space, more time.
Alms Bazaar: Altruism Under Fire: Non-Profit Organizations and International Development by Ian Smillie