At a New York Social Enterprise event called the Feast I had the privilege of hearing Matthew Bishop, author of Philanthrocapitalism which is about the “head and the heart coming together” in a new model of capitalism. We should use the present financial crisis to build something worthwhile, said Matthew, and shared with us that more will be explored in Matthew’s upcoming book The Road From Ruin, available early next year.

Actually, the previous night some friends of mine and I went over to the Economist, where Matthew works, and had a chat. Lovely guy. I met him earlier this year at Greenbelt Festival in UK where he spoke on Bill Gates, Bono and You: How the Rich Can Save the World and Why We Should Let Them.


Despite being very English, Matthew prefers coffee to tea, as we noticed last night at the Economist HQ, which, btw, is an impressing and imposing building. Lots of marble . . .


When we were there, Matthew gave us a copy of his book Philanthrocapitalism which had the unfortunate subtitle: “How the Rich Can Save The World”. Apparently the publishers put that in and Matthew had them change the subtitle to what it is today – “Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Change the World”. Its a subtle change that represents the heart of what Matthew is saying: new forms of micro-philanthropy enable ordinary people to become philanthropists and giving becomes something that benefits everyone, not just the recipients. That means that anyone can change the world, not just rich people.

Right now Matthew is mentioning Warren Buffet, Bill Gates (I think Matthew has interviewed both of them), Rick Warren, and other high influence people are changing the world but, he stresses, the route to transformation is paved with ordinary people and accessible social media – facebook causes, kiva – that will increase everyone’s ability to impact the world.

– Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of how we will solve the world’s problems. Some of this collaboration is happening with social enterprise, non-profits, etc. Actually, this is what we were talking about yesterday.

– We have to do the boring stuff. Can we create a system that will measure social impact? Social accounting . . .Which is also what we talked about yesterday with Matthew.

Well done! A great start to the event!

You can follow Matthew at his blog.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


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