Why Is New York City Planning to Sell and Shrink Its Libraries?

Defend our libraries, don't defund them. . . . . fund 'em, don't plunder 'em

Mayor Bloomberg defunded New York libraries at a time of increasing public use, population growth and increased city wealth, shrinking our library system to create real estate deals for wealthy real estate developers at a time of cutbacks in education and escalating disparities in opportunity. It’s an unjust and shortsighted plan that will ultimately hurt New York City’s economy and competitiveness.

It should NOT be adopted by those we have now elected to pursue better policies.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

There’s Much You Should Not Trust When The Wealthy Give- Anand Giridharadas’ “Winners Take All- The Elite Charade of Changing the World” and David Callahan’s “The Givers: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age”

Beware the Triumph of the "New Philanthropy"
On a recent Sunday towards the end of August the New York Times Book Review ran as its cover a review written by economist Joseph Stiglitz of Anand Giridharadas new book “Winners Take All- The Elite Charade of Changing the World” (see Meet the ‘Change Agents’ Who Are Enabling Inequality August 20, 2018.)  Somewhat consistently, the New York Times Book Review podcast started out the first half of its 54 minutes with an extended interview with Mr. Giridharadas about his new book (listen to Interrogating the Change Makers- “This is change that doesn’t necessarily change anything,” Anand Giridharadas says, August 24, 2018)

That same Sunday the Times ran amongst its collection of Sunday Review op-eds an op-ed by Mr. Giridharadas “Beware Rich People Who Say They Want to Change the World- Society’s winners can seem so generous, until you consider what they’re really selling,” (August 24, 2018), which was basically adaptation of from his book to promo its themes.

The next Sunday, Mr. Giridharadas again appeared in the Times Sunday Book Review Section this time reviewing Francis Fukuyama’s book “The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment” and Kwame Anthony Appiah’s “Rethinking Identity: Creed, Country, Color, Class, Culture” (see: What Is Identity? August 27, 2018).  Of course, his review of those authors’ books included a squib identifying Mr. Giridharadas as the author of his new “Winners Take All” book.

In all, the Times did not do a shabby job in giving a leg up to one of its own: Mr. Giridharadas has been writing regularly for the Times now for a number of years.  The Biographical information on his website contains the following:
He is a former columnist and correspondent for The New York Times, having written, most recently, the biweekly “Letter from America.” His datelines have included Italy, India, China, Dubai, Norway, Japan, Haiti, Brazil, Colombia, Nigeria, Uruguay, and the United States. He has also written for The Times's arts, business, and travel pages, and its Book Review, Sunday Review, and magazine-
Giridharadas’s promotion of his new books is also doing well enough in other ways; you can catch him this upcoming Sunday 10:00 AM at the Brooklyn Book Festival:
How Do We Change the World?
Borough Hall Courtroom
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn Heights, New York 11201
Choosing between the Stiglitz review of Giridharadas’ book and Giridharadas’ own op-d microcosmic facsimile of his book, we recommend reading the Stiglitz review first.   Infused with Stiglizt’s own points of view, his review zips along making extra points about the Trojan House bargains of accepting charity from the ever more wealthy and disconnected .01%, and expresses those points perhaps a tad more trenchantly.

Stiglitz also appropriately and importantly links Giridharadas’s new book to another by David Callahan while offering an observation about how both authors are likely pulling their punches as they write about the wealthy in order to maintain their access to them.  He writes:
Giridharadas embedded himself in the world he writes about, much as the journalist David Callahan (who edits the Inside Philanthropy website) did for his recent book, “The Givers: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age.” And like Callahan, Giridharadas is careful not to offend. He writes on two levels — seemingly tactful and subtle — but ultimately he presents a devastating portrait of a whole class, one easier to satirize than to reform.
One of our friends from Texas breathlessly inquired the other day whether we had heard about Giridharadas and how Giridharadas had been boldly in the face of the wealthy when he gave a speech before a 2015 confab of moneyed “thought leaders” gathering in Aspen to solve the world’s problems through philanthropy.   Did you hear, he asked us, that Giridharadas told them they could do a hell of a lot more good in the world than they did with their charity, if they would just stop the harm they did while making their money?  Perhaps our well-read Texas book friend had just seen the actually quote in a New York Magazine interview where Giridharadas was plugging his book.  To wit (emphasis supplied):
Giridharadas broke with protocol, accusing his audience of perpetuating the very social problems they thought they were solving through philanthropy. He described what he called the Aspen Consensus: “The winners of our age must be challenged to do more good, but never, ever tell them to do less harm.”
(See: Q&A- Why Philanthropy Is Bad for Democracy Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All, on how well-meaning liberals paved the way for Trump, by Nick Tabor, August 26, 2018)

Our Texas friend quickly cited as an example of that thought the Sackler family that has been virtually criminal, acting like common drug pushers with deceptive agendas, addicting hundreds of thousands to opiods.  In fact, the New York Magazine article quote from Giridharadas on this:
The CDC now estimates that 200,000 people have died in the opioid epidemic. Just think about that for a minute. Those are genocide numbers! Not only have they not gone to jail, their names are in the Brooklyn Museum.
Another recent such example is the way that when Seattle passed a small tax on businesses making more than $20 million in gross revenue in order to address its homeless crisis (greatly acerbated by skyrocketing rents) Jeff Bezos and his Amazon, Seattle’s biggest employer and the second biggest company in the United States, used their political heft to crush the tax getting it repealed.  That was the absurdity even though Jeff Bezos with $167 billion is the world’s richest man and many of Amazon’s workers, impoverished by the low wages the monopoly pays, collect food stamps.

Giridharadas apparently has a number of ideas he wants to address about why the so-called “giving” of the monied elite should not be accepted at face value for what it purports to be or considered as an actually benefit to society.  Having not yet read the book we don’t know for sure how well laid out they are there.
    •    In his op-ed he says that the elites are selling “fake change,” “milquetoast” change that “is change the powerful can tolerate” and that leaves in place and undisturbed a “winners-take-all economy” that “siphons the gains from progress upward.”  He suggests it allows the wealthy the benefit of `redefining change,’ and `defanging’ it so that there are no redistribution of power, income, or benefits with the flow continuing upward.  He also offers the line, “President Trump is what we get when we trust the rich to fix what they are complicit in breaking.”

    •    In his Times Book Review podcast interview Giridharadas speaks of the charity of the wealthy as “papal indulgences” indicating that they serve as conscience salves, or the components of broken, jury-rigged moral systems by which wealthy escape any self restraint or regulation.  He said he also see the charity as `helping’  the underlying problem persist.

    •    In his New York Magazine interview he discusses a quote he uses from Thomas Piketty: “the durability of this system depends on the effectiveness of its apparatus of justification.”  He says there that his book is about “The apparatus of justification” and how his critique is that this philanthropy, a drop in the bucket, “is upholding the problem . . ” the “kindness” of the wealthy “is how a bad system is maintained.”

    •    In the podcast Giridharadas also speaks of the “win-win” formulations that almost inevitably creep in to the equations with what the wealthy propose as philanthropy.  When `what’s in it for them' is a prerequisite, perspectives are likely to be pretty skewed and it likely leads quickly to some pretty corrupt equations.  We are not sure how far Giridharadas pursues those implications.  Michael Bloomberg in his autobiography released as he was launching into politics  said he never made charitable gifts without calculating the benefit he’d get in return.  Then he put his chief political tactician in charge of dispensing his gifts enforcing quid pro quo returns.  
Stiglitz tells us that Giridharadas refers to the:
prevailing ethos “MarketWorld,” made up of people who want “to do well and do good.” He beautifully catches the language of Aspen, Davos and the recently extant Clinton Global Initiative, which will doubtless reappear in the newly born Bloomberg initiative. It’s a world of feel-good clichés like “win-win” and “make a difference.”

    * * *

They would fund a million of these buzzwordy programs rather than fundamentally question the rules of the game — or even alter their own behavior to reduce the harm of the existing distorted, inefficient and unfair rules.
Stiglitz continues that:
Giridharadas rightly argues that this misallocation of resources creates a grave opportunity cost. The money and time the MarketWorlders spend fixing the edges of our fraying social order could be used to push for real change. This is especially so in the political battles in which the country is currently engaged, where a majority of the Supreme Court and members of Congress seem hellbent on rewriting the rules of the American economy and political system in ways that will exacerbate economic disparities, increase monopoly power, and decrease access to health care and women’s reproductive rights.
The ending of Stiglitz’s review apparently tracks the ending of the Giridharadas book quoting political scientist,  Chiara Cordelli:
Democracy and high levels of inequality of the kind that have come to characterize the United States are simply incompatible. Very rich people will always use money to maintain their political and economic power. But now we have another group: the unwitting enablers. Despite believing they are working for a better world, they are at most chipping away at the margins, making slight course corrections, while the system goes on as it is, uninterrupted.
But it is probably too shallow when describing the worst in current philanthropic trends to stop and conclude only with the observation that they enable the system to continue uninterrupted.

As noted above, in his review, Stiglitz mentioned David Callahan’s “The Givers: Wealth, Power and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age.”  Callahan edits the Inside Philanthropy website.  In a previous Citizens Defending Libraries post we mentioned and quoted from a New York Times op-ed Callahan wrote (“Who Will Watch The Charities” 2015): Why Nonprofit Boards May Stray From Their Core Missions And Obligations To the Public- Considered Generally And Particularly With Respect To Libraries.  Here’s what we quoted via a Noticing New York article:
There is new study on the increasing dominance of Wall Street financiers on charitable boards. . . by Garry W. Jenkins at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. .

From the report:
As financiers come to dominate the boards of leading nonprofits, it is not surprising that their approaches and priorities have made their way, very explicitly and fundamentally, into the governance of the nonprofit sector.
    * * * *

A May 30, 2015 New York Times Sunday Review Op-Ed, "Who Will Watch the Charities?," by David Callahan, founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, is far more caustic and cynical.  "(W)e should end the charade that all philanthropy is somehow charitable," says Mr. Callahan. . .   He warns a big problem with modern philanthropy: "how inextricably entwined it has become with politics and ideology."  He says:
it's alarming how in an era of high inequality, private funders have a growing say over central areas of civic life like education and public parks, and how this influence is often wielded against a backdrop of secrecy.
As for political ideology, Jane Mayer in her book “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” devoted a lot of text to documenting how the Koch Brothers have used “charities” to which they have made tax deductible contributions to further their political agenda, which is in turn focused on what would be best for their personal businesses and increase their wealth.

Scott Sherman wrote about Callahan’s new book.  He noted its overall mildness, the “Givers is not a screed; those looking for a rhetorical demolition of the superrich will be disappointed.”   It is a inventory of a variety of wealthy givers with different styles and motivations that, as Callahan points out, “you’ll find that few of them, as individuals, had much to do with the meltdown of 2008 and many would be fine with paying higher taxes.”  But Sherman says about the “new philanthropy?”:
There are growing concerns about the influence and reach of the superwealthy: “Philanthropy is becoming a much stronger power center,” Callahan says, “and, in some areas, is set to surpass government in its ability to shape society’s agenda.” The state has retreated; the givers have advanced.
You have to read a long way into Sherman’s article before he brings up the relevance of what Sherman wrote about in his book “Patience and Fortitude- Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library.”  Sherman’s book was about a consolidating shrinkage plan to sell and destroy Manhattan's most important central libraries, including the 42nd Street Central Reference Library.  The plan involved a “charitable” donation from the CEO with the highest salary in the world.  Sherman writes:
In 2008 Stephen A. Schwarzman, another cofounder of Blackstone, gave $100 million to the New York Public Library at a moment when the Library was secretly undertaking a dubious real estate and construction scheme. For nearly a decade, the NYPL refused to reveal how Schwarzman’s money was being utilized. Only in recent months did the Library account for the gift’s use: the $100 million formed part of the endowment and will soon be used for new renovation projects.
Even so, Sherman pulls his punches.  He does not describe how that $100 million Schwarzman transfer was on the understanding that the plan to sell libraries would go forward.  (See: On Charlie Rose NYPL Trustee Stephen Schwarzman Confirms Suspicions: His $100 Million To The Library Was Linked To NYPL’s Real Estate Plans, June 22, 2013.)  And that is probably not all that made Schwarzman’s $100 million transfer a problem.  (See: Too Close For Comfort? Real Estate Addresses- Blackstone, Booz Allen Hamilton, The Libraries & Bryant Park.)

Worse yet, Sherman blithely mentions to 'balance out' (?) `on the good side of things’ the following that is misleading:
In New York, the Leon Levy Foundation has helped to revitalize a pair of Brooklyn landmarks, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
In fact, the Brooklyn Public Library central Grand Army Plaza is threatened by exactly the same kind of misguided plans that Schwarzman’s Central Library plan threatened the Manhattan libraries with.  It is again another symptom of how profit and a market place oriented philanthropy is running amuck to destroy and privatize our public assets.  See:  Planned Overhaul of Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza Library- Another “Central Library Plan” Questionable In All The Same Ways.

Meanwhile, almost immediately adjacent to the Grand Army Plaza Library, the Botantic Garden is similarly under threat.  It was once a board of horticulturalists and peopel of that ilk. It's been taken over by a board of market-oriented Wall Streeters with too many conflicts of interest, a board that is allowing or promoting shrinkage of that public asset: The garden’s science building was sold off; the hours are shorter; charges have been instituted for the public to visit the garden and those charges keep escalating; more space and resources are devoted to private parties and functions; and, very importantly right now the board is not fighting or in any way seriously objecting as the previous zoning that was intentionally protective of the garden is being eliminated to build towers that will overshadow it, ruin views and send glass glare into it as well.
Towers casting shadows on the Botanic Garden as protective zoning is eliminated without a whimper of protest from a "new philanthropy" board
Yes, certainly sometimes the “new philanthropy” is about making things nice around the edges, putting a better face on things and making a system that needs to be changed more palatable so it can persist, but sometimes, connected to ruses to steal more, that “new philanthropy” is not giving at all.  Sometimes the public is directly impoverished by the exact schemes that masquerade as charity.  Take for instance this undemocratic result: how a school district can wind up with less funds for what the public wants funded when the (Bill and Melinda) Gates Foundation pays the school district on condition that it divert its available funds away from other expenditures that were the district's priorities to a questionable pet project the foundation is promoting.  Or very similarly, consider the funds that get advanced to pay for schools to be converted into private charters?

The Revson Foundation is, in theory a charity, but it has been very busy funding and promoting the promotion of selling and shrinking libraries, getting rid of books and making libraries more oriented to marketplace oriented partnerships with private corporations.  (BTW: Speaking of such partnerships, the NYPL board of trustees were told this week that the NYPL is going into the film business with HBO.)

But these efforts can be subtle and stealthy, hard to recognize and sort out.  When Anand Giridharadas appears at the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday he will appear on a panel with Eric Klinenberg, who himself just had a Times Sunday Review op-ed published promoting his new book: “Palaces of the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.”  His op-ed, reading like it was cribbed from the Citizens Defending Libraries own web site was:  Why Libraries Still Matter- To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library (In an age of polarization and inequality, the are the bedrock of civil society. -  This crucial institution is being neglected just when we need it the most.)
Even so, Mr. Klinenberg’s new book does not mention Citizens Defending Libraries or the Committee to Save the New York Public Library.  Nor does his book mention previous books that have covered this territory: “Dismantling the Public Sphere- Situating and Sustaining Librarianship In the Age of the New Public Philosophy,” by John E. Buschman and “Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library: How Postmodern Consumer Capitalism Threatens Democracy, Civil Education and the Public Good,” by Ed D'Angelo.  We checked with Mr. Klinenberg and he said that although he lives in the same city and is writing about these subjects he never heard of  Citizens Defending Libraries or the Committee to Save the New York Public Library, and that he has not heard of John E. Buschman or Ed D'Angelo or their work.

Mr. Klinenberg’s book was funded by the Revson Foundation, something we have asked him more about, but have not heard back about.

Mr. D'Angelo expressed concern to us (which we share) that Mr. Klinenberg, wittingly or not, may be helping the Revson Foundation, “wrap their market-oriented policies in a progressive garb that is more in tune with the current political climate.”  It is impossible to reach a judgment on this from this Times Sunday book review of Klinenberg’s book.  . . .  It should be noted that Klinenberg’s work as a graduate student concerning a 1995 heat wave in Chicago was noticed and written about admiringly by Jane Jacob’s in her last book “Dark Age Ahead” (2004).  Jacobs praised Klinenberg and a study he did for being able and willing to search “beneath the surface” to reach conclusions, contrary to those of a sloppy New England Journal of Medicine study about the elderly who survived the heat wave vs. those who didn’t.  The New England Journal blamed the victims: Matching neighborhoods against each other for contrast, Klinenberg concluded that those elderly who proved better able to survive were in neighborhoods where the neighborhood fabric was strong, that had “stores and gathering places,” where people were “accustomed to walking outside” on the “district's bustling crowded street” where they felt secure and trusted, rather than feared their neighbors.  Another failing Jacobs said that Klinenberg found was that, with the implementation of “reinventing government” cutbacks, firemen had been trained to 'replace' social workers who were fired . . .  much the way librarians are being 'replaced' by untrained substitutes now?

Maybe we will learn more about Klinenberg’s point of view at Sunday’s Brooklyn Book Festival.  As for “witting” the Times review of Klinenberg’s book tells is that Klinenberg is “best known recently as Aziz Ansari’s co-author for “Modern Romance,” in which he helped the comedian apply social science tools to better understand dating.”- So, we might guess that Klinenberg at least knows how to be witty.

As for access to the wealthy, the access that Anand Giridharadas got for his book included ex-president Bill Clinton.  He said in his podcast interview that he was flabbergasted Clinton, addressing a hypothetical in their conversation said that he would allow a partnership where sugary drink manufacturers would “serve” schools by putting sugar drink vending machines in the schools. Clinton told Giridharadas that the private market needs of the drink manufacturers had to be served in the partnership and that the bad health effects of the sugar should be solved with around-the-edges fixes like asking that the bottles be smaller containing smaller portions.  Hearing this you can probably understand why the “charity” work of the Clintons in Haiti is so unpopular.

Partnerships with private drink companies to put sugary drinks in schools is not exactly a pure hypothetical: Mayor Michael Bloomberg went outside proper competitive bid process to force sugar drink “Snapple” vending machines into NYC schools and libraries– The Queen Library successfully resisted.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg starting around 2005 or earlier was also the first New York mayor to start selling off and shrinking libraries while turning them into real estate deals.  (Mayor Giuliani before him was building libraries and expanding them.) 

Mr. Giridharadas' Sunday Book Review Section review of the Francis Fukuyama and Kwame Anthony Appiah books centers around some murky discussion about how we find our identities and who we identify with, also how unfortunate “resentments” may inappropriately separate us as individuals.  In the context of Giridharadas’ review of the two books, the questions seem to be asked mostly in terms of what “groups” people are now being drawn to identify with, and the “identity politics” stuff (where `tribe’ trumps `principles’ in setting course).  A focus on so many fracturing possibilities could be a distraction. . . . We think the much more important thing going on in this country now in that regard is, instead, the sequential “othering” that is occurring with group after group: after 9/11 with Muslims (sending them to Guantanamo or worse with no due process); now with undocumented aliens seeking safety and asylum (sending them to detention camps where there is no due process); as always with people of color (who are subject to a justice system where they do not get equal due process); and now, increasingly, the poor whose very status is more and more criminalized (thus often setting them adrift from due process).
That “othering” process, often cultivated with some calculation from above, serves as a distraction of public energy from where it probably should be directed.  Where should it probably be directed?: That’s something that comes up when Giridharadas quotes Fukuyama.  Of course there is stress to be dealt with: “Fukuyama reminds us that across much of the West, people have suffered dislocation and elites have captured the fruits.”  But:
Fukuyama . . .  fears identity politics “has become a cheap substitute for serious thinking about how to reverse the 30-year trend in most liberal democracies toward greater socioeconomic inequality.” Fukuyama worries that the “woker” the left gets on identity issues, the weaker it gets on offering a critique of capitalism.
According to Giridharadas, Appiah begins his book by observing that he, himself, is a man of “ambiguous identity,” constantly asked, “What are you?”  Appiah is “a Ghanaian-British-American philosopher.”
Vested, sitting before empty bookshelves, trustee Kwame Anthony Appiah,at the NYPL trustee meeting where he volunteered for the presentation Wiseman caught on film of the Phillis Wheatley artifacts.
In terms of Appiah’s identity, Giridharadas did not note that Appiah is a fellow New York Times columnist, writing Times ethicist column.  He also did not note that Appiah is trustee of the NYPL.  In other words, Appiah is on one of those big boards of “muckety-mucks” (to use Joseph Stiglitz’s term) engaged in dispensing the “new philanthropy” we have been talking about as the core subject of Giridharadas book.  You can see Mr. Appiah in a film that Federick Wiseman was granted access to film about the NYPL in the NYPL board room as Appiah `volunteers’ to inform the other Trustees about Phillis Wheatley, “the first African American poet to be published in this country,” writing her poems as a slave before she was freed.

This raises some questions about whom Mr. Appiah, defined as a “cosmopolitan” by Giridharadas, identifies with when it comes to these fights about “socioeconomic inequality” and the need to offer “a critique of capitalism.”  Mr. Appiah’s book posits derivations of identity deriving from “five types of identity, all conveniently beginning with the letter “c”: creed, country, color, class and culture.”

Mr. Appiah did something very interesting and rather atrocious in his very first Ethicist column.  He was answering the question of a self-described whistle-blowing librarian who thought she should get word out about the “serious damage” going on in her library with a poorly planned and radical downsizing and discard of books at the library because: “If local researchers knew the scope of devastation underway, they would have strong objections.” 

Appiah responded telling the inquiring librarian to stop thinking of herself as a whistle-blower and let her administrators proceed, assuring the librarian (and his readers) that the decisions made:
don’t sound morally wrong. They reflect a judgment at odds with your own; they don’t reflect corruption, abuse or a total abandonment of the institution’s purposes.
At no time writing back did Appiah disclose that he is a trustee of the NYPL, a member of the decision-making board criticized for exactly the same kind “serious damage” to public assets due to book destruction and a “poorly planned” radically downsizing of the libraries (with the bait of Mr. Stephen Schwarzman’s money).  In fact, one might say that through nondisclosure, Appiah used his fractured “identity” or self-described  “ambiguous identity” to, by slight of hand, provide his own self justification for some very questionable actions he himself is partaking in. . . .
Does this look like another result of the way copiously flowing “new philanthropy” money controlling our public assets and policy fuzzes clear thinking when alliances are being formed and political actions being decided upon?

Let’s sum up with some points about why and how “philanthropy” money offered today may be often doing far more harm than good.   We know that Anand Giridharadas and David Callahan each make a number of these points, but we don’t know if any of the below are points that either has neglected to make:
    •    Acting salves for the conscious, such so-called  “philanthropy,” may stop the wealthy from self-regulating as the engage in very destructive behaviors.

    •    Such “philanthropy”  may act as an accomplice and a justification “apparatus” disguising the need for more appropriate and effective deeper changes where the system really needs to be fundamentally changed.

    •    The focus on finding “win-win” market oriented solutions where one of those “wins” is a market oriented benefit to the rich means that good private initiatives that otherwise could be truly beneficial get routinely shelved and supplanted by less desirable one if there is no benefit enticing a wealthy sponsor.

    •    “Philanthropists” coming from hedge funds and the board rooms of Wall Street who think of everything reduced to dollars and quantifiable numbers, and invariably cast things in market terms may be color-blind to other values and incapable of thinking in terms of other value systems.  As for seeing things or not as the wealth make policy for all, Stiglitz also offers quote from political scientist, Chiara Cordelli: “This right to speak for others, is simply illegitimate when exercised by a powerful citizen.”

    •    Tax deducted “philanthropy” can be used with stealth to push through objectionable private profit schemes that diminish or steal public assets or the public realm.  That’s the case with the Revson Foundation promoting the conversion of libraries into real estate deals and libraries that are more commercially and commercial Internet oriented, can be used in ways that benefit the wealthy class but directly are not good deals for the public.  Or, another example is the tax deducted “philanthropy” such as Michael Bloomberg conducts, used, quid-pro-quo, as a tool for his personal benefit and ambitions.  Similarly, Forest City Ratner set up 501(c)(3)s as astroturf to support its Atlantic Yards Project.  One of those Ratner controlled organizations was then used as the launching pad and bankroll for Forest City Ratner to run a candidate against Tish James the local councilmember who was opposing that real estate project. And when approvals for his project might have been rejected by the community, Bruce Ratner's donations to the Brooklyn Museum bought the award of an honor from the same museum that had now honored the Sacklers by putting their name on the public edifice.

    •    Tax deducted “philanthropy” may be used as mechanisms, as the are by the Koch brothers and those in the wealthy club they work with, to promote political and economic philosophies that are intended in the end to benefit their businesses, financial interests and the continued build up of their wealth.  The use of the “charity money” goes beyond promoting to political philosophies, extending to ensuring that whomever they want attains and stays in political office.   

    •    In general, “philanthropy” allows the wealthy to act as gatekeepers to the public dialogue, regulating access, and keeping the focus on discussions, questions and the answers to those questions where they want it. The “givers” replace and become more powerful than the democratically elected state.
PS: (9/25/2018)  For a second chapter to what is written here and to find out what happened at the Brooklyn Book Festival panel discussion see:  Authors Anand Giridharadas, Eric Klinenberg, Kristen Ghodsee, and Activist Blair Imani, On Panel at Brooklyn Book Festival Discuss, `How To Change The World’ (With Libraries and Social Infrastructure!) Plus Who NOT To Trust— When In Jumps Untrustworthy, Library-Selling Councilman Brad Lander!!

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