Reform or change? Is philanthropy about changing the social and economic system or trying to reconcile people to it through palliative measures? Ananthapadmanabhan Guruswamy is the Chief Executive Officer of Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives (APPI) set up by successful Indian entrepreneur, Azim Premji. Ananthapadmanabhan gives Charles Keidan his views.
We’re meeting here at the WINGSForum in Mexico City. You were involved in the first session of the event, a very challenging discussion about the difficult relationship of philanthropy with capitalism and wealth creation. What were your reactions?
Well, the growth in philanthropy - and I’m talking about organized philanthropy by very rich people - is clearly a consequence of the growth in capitalist wealth accumulation. That’s a fact but it doesn’t mean that philanthropy can’t get past that. To me, it seems important to acknowledge that philanthropy is inextricably linked to a certain kind of capitalism and that does create conflicts, but the problems that it causes are not insurmountable.