This article was initially published by Illumination on Medium!
I believe one of the most abused phrases of our time is the "philanthropist." More than ever, we find people inspired by their collective conscience who seek to foster the welfare of those in need through the openhanded donation of part of their wealth. But, ironically, often, their contribution comes with a multitude of bound "attached strings." The kind of clause and preconditions opens new avenues in their public relations domain' which I dub "popularity."
”Popularity Strives on the People’s Reward Center” –Adam Tabriz, MD
The collective conscience within us is the driver of that social responsibility, which ethically makes us feel accountable for honoring our civic duty and benefits the entirety of society. The sense of social responsibility that inspires some modern-day philanthropists often conflicts with their actions.
Traditional Philanthropy has shifted from essential altruism of "private initiatives" for the public good, focusing primarily on the quality of life. Modern philanthropists have become fond of euphemism. Because the latter has helped relish a memorable sociopolitical benefit by partnering with governments, large corporations, and even profit-making entities, despite our awareness that philanthropism is inherently a movement clear from the profit-making system. Such a close alliance is dangerous and associated with the risk of the cartel.
By its purest definition, wealth sharing is a decent deed and always appreciated, irrespective of its underlying motive, whether it serves as a tax shelter or popularity gain. Nonetheless, the nonsense of contemporary Philanthropy overshadows its practical actions. That, in turn, is disguised by euphemism. For instance, not all grant requests benefit the neediest; what foundation teams present along the hierarchy chain and eventually to policymakers in government and media influencers is often hypocritical.
The hypocrisy of Philanthropy is that, in contrast to what familiar speculation that Philanthropy unconditionally prompts redistribution of wealth and consequently about making the world a better place, is an utter mistake. Today's Philanthropy has turned out to be nothing short of a lot of elite Philanthropy for elite causes. That is why the generosity of today still favors the rich by placing them at the popularity campaigns hub and brandishing them as a credible source of swaying the multitudes without holding them accountable and the precondition of transparency.
In the past decades, we have witnessed expanding number and the role of private philanthropies worldwide. With over 260,000 philanthropy foundations globally, they regulate over $1.5tn. But:
“Popularity is the Risky Cousin of Credibility “— Adam Tabriz, MD
The wealthy and elite philanthropists of our time very much bear the necessary tools, the euphemism, to double down on their "Sociometric popularity." Because often they, as individuals, have a part or complete control ( as executives or Board members) of other industries like Social media and information technology. It is ranked by objectively measuring the number of connections a person has to others in the crowd. Not uncommonly, such an individual maintains a high perceived (faux) credibility thru sociometric Popularity.
“What puts credibility apart from popularity is that the latter phenomenon merely thrives on the People’s cognitive Reward Centers.” — Adam Tabriz, MD.
Corporate Culture, Euphemism, and Philanthropy
According to the publication in Business ethics, a European Review, Corporate entities often justify incorporating the culture of Philanthropy in their mission under the "euphemism" fabrication. However, they risk their right trade-offs between being socially responsible and satisfying stakeholders with interests and ultimate interests. That conflicting circumstance makes the usefulness of euphemism appealing, even if its intention is inherently absurd. Often, the public relations within such organizations are inclined to use euphemisms better to present themselves in a particular way, so others do not perceive them out of concern for their compassion.
Philanthropist invariably expresses power through euphemism and rhetorical expression. Their charitable intents often lean on the personal urges of elites. At times, their true intentions overlap with the priorities of a given society, but at other times, they are the source and object of social sabotage. Mainly when such grants are in the form of "mega-donations," they are potentially consequential to the priorities of that society. Hence, the relationship between Philanthropy and democracy suffers overwhelming tensions fueled by such duplicity.
“Today, every garbage you say can eventually sound loud and clear. It will even come across as justified and kind. The only resolution is to invest in social media, hide behind corporate culture and call yourself a Philanthropist.” — Adam Tabriz, MD