No Such Thing as a Free Gift: The Gates Foundation and the Price of Philanthropy

Linsey McGoey. Verso (Random, dist.), $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-78478-083-8
This debut from University of Essex lecturer McGoey is a scathing but overly one-sided indictment of contemporary global philanthropy, with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the primary target. McGoey claims that the charitable sector’s rapid growth is being driven more by greed, ego, and the pursuit of good PR than a commitment to lasting change. She devotes considerable time to tracing the roots of American philanthropy, evoking figures such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, before launching a critique of the “international architecture of celebrities and policy-makers” that includes Bill Clinton and his Clinton Global Initiative as well as elite conferences such as TED, Davos, and Skoll. Turning to the Gates Foundation, she skewers their initiatives in education and health, concluding that philanthropy is “a mode of giving that is not imperiled by its own ineffectiveness” but instead “thrives upon it.” It is clear that McGoey has done considerable research on global philanthropy. However, her unwavering attack on the Gates Foundation and a generation of global philanthropists comes across as tedious, and she neglects to consider other perspectives. Despite the abundance of interesting information, the nonstop harsh negativity may lose the reader’s interest. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/2015
Release date: 10/20/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 296 pages - 978-1-78478-119-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-78478-623-6
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