The session was a discussion entitled 'Can Philanthrocapitalism Save the World?', with four people representing Philanthrocapitalism (new word for big capitalists giving money, eg Bill Gates).
Chaired by the CEO of Resource Alliance, Lyndall Stein the four each made a short speech, pretty much agreeing with each other that the answer was no, not alone. But all agreed 'Philanthrocapitalism' (PC) was good.
Rory Tolentino, previous chair of the Ayala Foundation in the Philippines, was the last speaker who kind of agreed with the others.
But after a discussion about PCs needing to work and help create societal change, rather than just throwing money at the problem Rory piped up again.
She starting by talking about 'the elephant in the room' and went on to say '...but when it comes to transforming society it requires steps uncomfortable to Philanthrocapitalists... for example, looking at the distribution of wealth...what we need is a revolution...without bloodshed but we do need revolution.'
I gotta say, I was bowled over. A call for revolution - a member of the board of the Resource Alliance pointing out that philanthropy was pretty much wallpapering over the cracks.
Personally, I will still continue to wallpaper but I did feel pretty challenged - it is hard to argue against her point!
As well as Rory, the panel consisted of:
- Rohini Nilekani, an Indian woman representing Infosys - which brands itself as an ethical capitalist company and had donated the venue.
- Elizabeth Edwards, from Australia and CEO of The Myer Foundation and Sidney Myer Fund.
- Pesh Framjee, head of the non profit unit at accountants Horwarth Clark Whitehill in the UK.