Edited by Marilyn L. Taylor, Robert J. Strom and David O. Renz
Chapter 1: Entrepreneurship and philanthropy: protecting the public interest
Entrepreneurs, like all other humans, come in various forms and with various inclinations. Those who are successful are apt to end up in control of prosperous business firms and personal fortunes. Historically, many of these wealthy business owners have been very generous, funding a wide range of social causes and cultural and artistic endeavors that have vastly improved the welfare of their communities. In this chapter, we consider the implications of entrepreneurs’ philanthropy and the ways they ‘give back’ to the communities in which they find success, using both their firms’ resources and their own. We begin with private philanthropy, discussing American entrepreneurs’ personal giving and the diversity of funding that US laws facilitate. Going beyond the entrepreneur’s private interests, we also address the corporate interest and the hazards of corporate philanthropy. Finally, we consider the public interest as we offer some thoughts on philanthropy and spillover costs and benefits, including a discussion of firms that offer social value beyond the creation of useful products and well-paying jobs, as well as productive companies whose actions damage the general welfare, as an incidental consequence of their pursuit of business goals.
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