Episode 142: One-Two-Three-Fourlosophy

Let’s face it, if you’re reading this (and listening to our show), you’re likely in pretty good shape as human beings go. You’ve got access to the Internet, some free time, a computer or smartphone — all the benefits of Progress. But what about those Others who aren’t in such good shape? You’d like them to get where you are, right? And if you do, what’s the best way to go about that?

Peter Buffett recently expressed some dissatisfaction with the systems and organizations who dedicate themselves to philanthropic work. Is he right? Kevin and I had some thoughts on his thoughts. Have a listen! And please share your thoughts in the comments.

Show Notes:
The Charitable-Industrial Complex, by Peter Buffett
Why We’re Wrong About Social Change, an interview with Peter Buffett
First World Problems, by Wes Molebash
This American Life 503: I Was Just Trying to Help

Post-Show Song:
Big Rock Candy Mountain (instrumental)

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4 Comments on "Episode 142: One-Two-Three-Fourlosophy"

  1. Squeezie
    19/09/2013 at 12:18 pm Permalink

    Maybe it’s an Off topic, but … what do you think of French ?

  2. Squeezie
    03/10/2013 at 10:53 am Permalink

    Quel … désert !

  3. nxixcxk
    08/10/2013 at 7:20 am Permalink

    Hi Guys,

    Great podcast. I was looking for a podcast explicitly philosophical (but not too over the top), and I think I found it!

    I enjoyed hearing about the concept of philanthropic colonialism, or, as you gentlemen had rephrased it, philanthropic paternalism–which I think fits their philanthropic activities better.

    I would agree with you on the point that this “philanthropists” should only help when help is asked for, and limit their help to a very narrow framework, based upon what the recipient is asking for, as I think it is VERY presumptuous of them to simply give 3rd-world handouts to first-world countries.

    That said, I got the impression from both of you that you may be cultural relativists, as neither of you seem to think one way of living was better than the other?

    Is that the case? If so, what is your reasoning?

    Also, what is your beef against capitalism? You never outright decry it, but you seem to implicitly have something against it, given your negative tone when you mentioned “capitalism” and “wealth disparity,” and “micro lending/debt-and-repayment.”

    I must mention that capitalism, as suggested on the podcast, is not defined via there being a lending system in place. Although it is true that lending and debt and repayment systems DO exist in capitalism, they also exist in pretty much every other form of government, so that activity does not differentiate capitalism from other polico-economic institutions.

    I also wonder about your view regarding “wealth disparity.” Is it bad? If so, why? Because although there isn’t much wealth disparity in countries without capitalistic elements, there isn’t much wealth to begin with.


    I hope to receive a response to this too-long comment, lol. Cheers, and I’m going to listen to another one of your casts as I run this morning!


  4. StephenTorrence
    08/10/2013 at 11:30 pm Permalink

    Hello Nick,

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply! We already had episode 144 in the pipeline when you posted this, so we’ll tackle our answer in episode 145 hopefully. Or Kevin might just get ambitious and write a reply here first. ANYTHING could happen. 8)

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