Robert Reich and Julia Cagé - Philanthropy and Democracy

Tue, 2019-04-02 12:30 - 14:15

A discussion with Robert Reich, Stanford University and Julia Cagé, Sciences Po.

Why Philanthropy is failing Democracy and how it can do better?

Tuesday 2 April 2019 | 12.30 pm - 2.15 pm
Amphitheater Simone Veil, 28 rue des Saints Pères, Paris

Julia Cagé, Assistant Professor of Economics, Sciences Po, author of “The Price of Democracy”
Robert Reich, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University, author of “Just Giving”

Moderated by: Marie-Laure Salles-Djelic, Dean, School of Management and Innovation, Sciences Po

Introduced by: Mark Maloney, Vice Dean, PSIA

The conference will focus on the role of philanthropy in contemporary democratic societies, and debate on why it might be failing democracy and how it could do better? Is philanthropy, by its very nature, a threat to today’s democracy? Robert Reich shows how the generosity of wealthy individuals not only isn’t the unassailable good we think it to be but might also undermine democratic values and set back aspirations of justice. Big philanthropy is often an exercise of power, the conversion of private assets into public influence. And it is a form of power that is largely unaccountable, often perpetual, and lavishly tax-advantaged. The affluent—and their foundations—reap vast benefits even as they influence policy without accountability. Would a political theory of philanthropy provide a framework for various norms to inform public policy on philanthropy to meet criteria of justice and equity more effectively?

Julia Cagé is an Assistant Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics at Sciences Po Paris and co-director of the Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP)'s "Evaluation of Democracy" research group and a Research Affiliate of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). Her book The Price of Democracy was published by Fayard in 2018.

Robert Reich is professor of political science and, by courtesy, professor of philosophy at the Graduate School of Education, at Stanford University. He is the director of the Center for Ethics in Society and faculty co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society both at Stanford University. Most recently, he is the author of Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better and Philanthropy in Democratic Societies.


A discussion organized by the Paris School of International Affairs and the School of Management and Innovation of Sciences Po, with generous support from the Embassy of the United States of America.

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