Thursday, October 8, 2009

Philanthrocapitalism and the Bottom Billion- Part 2


Philanthropists today, celanthropists especially, have the ability to bring important world issues to the attention of the average American, in a way that politicians and lobbyists have not compete with. Despite the advantages of media such as the internet, business and entertainment rock stars have a quality about them that sets them apart from the integral congressman. I believe that part of this is the slightly reduced faith of American citizens in their politicians, which has led them to seek role models elsewhere. The successful investment banker who had meager beginnings and now executes board meetings of his/her own Fortune 500 company is appealing to the average aspiring, hardworking employee.   

Popular celebrities simply have their own ways of casting their fans under enchanting spells which compel them to pay attention to whatever the celebrity agenda may be. Bishop & Green note that throughout history, the responsibility for social welfare has been shared both my citizens and their governments. In the Victorian era, generous philanthropists endowed hospitals and universities some which are world-renowned to this today. There is no express statement in the book confirming the authors’ opinion on whether philanthrocapitalists will solve today’s world issues, although there is certain assertion that he current era of philanthropy surpasses the previous ones in opportunity.

In my opinion, philanthrocapitalism is the best proposition for solving global issues such as poverty, hunger and disease. While capitalism and democracy have uplifted some countries, some have been left behind, even sunk lower into destitution. The bottom billion that Collier refers to need more than just the traditional philanthropy to catch up. The funds provided by philanthropists combined with the financial tools of capitalism and armed with the far-reaching influence of celanthropists form a three-pronged weapon that can begin to have effect today and arm the citizens of developing countries on their way out of the bottom billion.  
Paul Collier sets about the goal of introducing the bottom billion and explaining the factors that have contributed to placing them in this predicament. It is impossible to discuss any subject in the global arena without denoting globalization, and Collier duly acknowledges this, yet also explores other reasons why the some countries have diverged away from development, while others have converged. Generally, Collier speaks of various traps which have either physically or symbolically entrapped the citizens of the countries comprising the bottom billion. The conflict trap refers to the stagnation in growth which certain countries seem unable to escape due to constant regional conflict. While exploring the conflict trap, Collier states that “There is basically no relationship between political repression and the risk of civil war"(20). I disagree with Collier’s statements because they likely consider the effects of political repression when present during the examined conflict. 

Realistically, people are repressed for many years before any large scale, violent signs of public outcry are made. The actual repression itself may have ceased by the time a civil war is incited, but the state of affairs once the protagonist has ceases still serves as a form of repression to the people. As well, it seems extremely unlikely that a society living in political harmony could suddenly erupt in conflict without repressive provocation.  


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