How some rich people are trying to dismantle inequality

By Erynn Beaton, Maureen A. Scully and Sandra Rothenberg.

 

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Members of Patriotic Millionaires, whose privileged members advocate for higher taxes on the rich, met with lawmakers in this 2015 photo to discuss legislation to close the carried interest loophole. (Senate Democrats, CC BY-SA)

 

Ample research indicates that the growing problem of wealth and income inequality could stunt U.S. economic growth and undermine our democracy while stirring political polarization. Given that the federal government shows little interest in fighting economic inequality and many states are ill-equipped to do much about it, what else can be done?

Studies have also found that the rich exert far more influence over government than the rest of us. This imbalance means that wealthy people who do something about inequality may have more power to make an impact than everybody else. As scholars of social change, we wanted to learn more about how a small number of affluent Americans choose to spend their own time, clout and money fighting inequality.

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Do We Need More (Ice Bucket) Challenges to Change the World?

By Stephan Manning.

If somebody had told me earlier this year that the best way to raise money for research on a rare disease is to have people pour buckets of ice water over their heads I would have probably suggested ordering another martini – on the rocks! Today it seems that hardly anybody has not been nominated for the ALS ice bucket challenge or at least heard about it. In a nutshell, the idea is to challenge people to either donate $100 for research on ALS* or dump a bucket of ice water on their head within 24 hours, which would qualify them to nominate other people. Critics have called the campaign a substitute for charitable work; a distraction from other campaigns; and a waste of water. But nobody can deny that this campaign has generated over 1 Million Facebook videos since June 1 and more than 2.2 Million tweets since July 29, all of which have helped mobilize $41.8 Million from 739,000 donors for ALS research within the past month. So what’s the secret behind this campaign and do we need more (ice bucket) challenges to solve the world’s many problems?

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Spotlight on Meritocracy: Does Charity Need to Pay More for Top Talent?

By Michelle Kweder, Maureen Scully and Gerald Denis.

Recently, a TED Talk by Dan Pallotta set the blogosphere on fire, with a hopeful call for how non-profits can ramp up to a new level of operations and impact.  Many people were inspired that the non-profit sector was at last being seen for its worthiness and bigger potential.  But some people worried about what sounded like corporatizing the non-profit sector – in a world where corporatization has yielded many of the societal problems that non-profits are now left to mop up. Continue reading