Many Charities and Nonprofits Do Not Change the World

(p. A15) Opinion polls showing that present-day Democrats look more favorably on socialism than capitalism have prompted Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University, to write what he calls a “love letter” to big business. His thesis: Corporations may lack heroic attributes, but they deserve more respect than they get.

. . .

Alongside the vilification of corporate capitalism has been a rise in the social status of nonprofits, as if the nonprofit label, by itself, signals both value and virtue. Mr. Cowen isn’t having it: He asserts that fraud is more prevalent in nonprofit organizations than in profit-making ones. What is more, “plenty of charities and nonprofits don’t actually change or improve the world or deliver any useful product at all, but rather simply continue as lost causes with no impact.”

Americans have a big stake in profits, as Mr. Cowen reminds us. “As of 2015, 55 percent of Americans had money invested in stocks . . . ,” he writes. “Even if you do not personally own many or any equities, there is a good chance your retirement fund or pension fund does.”

For the full review, see:

 

(Note: ellipsis between paragraphs, added; ellipsis internal to last paragraph, in original.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date , and has the title “BOOKSHELF;‘Big Business’ Review: What Socialism Gets Wrong.”)

The book under review, is:

Cowen, Tyler. Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2019.

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