Free Marketeers & Philanthropy

Print or PDF
We first should consider that the greatest, most effective philanthropy is creating well paying, productive and satisfying jobs. Therefore, a business must first be profitable enough to make payroll and expand. But, many Free MarketEErs want to go beyond creating jobs and pursue other projects beyond their businesses. We submit, however, that business owners are good at business, and should first consider funding others’ business ideas. If they want to engage in formal philanthropy, they face challenges:

CHALLENGE #1: HONORING DONOR INTENT: Many business owners give to charities, but many charities frequently  advocate policies opposed by the donors. Some charities even undermine the business environment that made the donation possible. And, when business owners set up their own Charitable Foundations, they are met with a common problem: foundations are frequently taken over by anti-business types within a short time after the founder’s death.

CHALLENGE #2: EFFECTIVE GIVING: Many philanthropists make their giving less effective, or even, in some cases, wasting their giving, by failing to test their charitable efforts against business standards of cost effectiveness. Moreover, under the theory that if you give a person a fish, he will eat for a day, while teaching him to fish will allow him to eat for a lifetime, the most effective “giving” may be to support individuals in profit making efforts through venture capital and/or micro lending endeavors (Mohammed Yunus’ Grameen Bank is perhaps the best example).

THE SOLUTION: Opportunity Economics and Free MarketEErism address both challenges by robustly advocating a business friendly environment that allows for the greatest creation of jobs and the widest distribution of wealth by:

  1. maintaining donor intent through keeping the giving in the hands of the business donor, and
  2. making the giving more effective, testing the giving against successful results and cost-effectiveness.