Matthew Bishop gets a philanthropic bail-out

The latest recipient of a bail-out seems to be Matthew Bishop, the author with Michael Green, of Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World, a book about the new wave of philanthropy by business leaders and billionaires.

Matthew, who works for The Economist, had the misfortune to publish his book last August, at precisely the moment when the financial bubble popped and the notion that the such people were benefactors from whom traditional foundations and governments should learn lost its appeal.

I pointed that out in my review, published in the same week that Lehman Brothers collapsed.

Nothing daunted, however, Matthew has kept publicising the book (which is, by the way, rather good). His prolonged book tour reached its peak in Davos today when the Victor Pinchuk Foundation laid on a lunch to discuss the ideas in the book, handed out lots of copies and secured an all-star cast to mull it over.

The panel, apart from Matthew himself, was: Tony Blair, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, the Chinese actor Jet Li and Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prize-winning microfinance pioneer. Beat that, other book authors.

There was an element of rebranding: the event was titled From Philanthrocapitalism to Philanthrocrisis. It seems that the rich people about whom Matthew wrote have no intention of letting his work be forgotten.

John Gapper is the FT’s chief business commentator

Davos blog 2009

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