EBS-M&M Research Seminar: The radical behaviourism of philanthrocapitalism

Activity: Talk or presentationSeminar


Elite philanthropy has played an influential role in global development since the mid-twentieth century. This role has changed and evolved through successive epochs, specifically scientific development (1940s–1970s), development partnerships (1970s–2000s), and philanthrocapitalism (2000s–present) (Kumar and Brooks 2021). But throughout, philanthropic interventions have retained two mutually supporting features: support for institutional formats that safeguard and/or advance the interests of capital (Fisher 1983, Brooks and Kumar 2023) and preference for behavioural explanations for and solutions to poverty (Nally and Taylor 2016). The current philanthrocapitalism epoch is characterised by an explicit linking of philanthropic giving with profit-making in a redefinition of philanthropy as investment, and entanglement with financial actors, methods, and logics (Stotz and Lai 2018). This has been accompanied by a move to a more radical form of behaviourism enabled by developments in data science (Brooks 2021, forthcoming). This seminar will explore these trends which are exemplified by foundations’ engagement of ‘fintech’ firms as partners in development interventions to steer market behaviour (Gabor and Brooks 2017).
Period8 Mar 2023
Held atUniversity of Essex, Business School, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational