Revising and Re-Orienting the Standard Model

Note from the Digital Editor: In order to highlight the high-level of research and scholarship from the authors who have published in the William & Mary Policy Review’s peer-reviewed print journal, we have reproduced the abstracts from Volume 4, Issue 1 along with a link to an electronic copy of the full form of the piece. 

This paper undertakes a detailed analysis of today’s standard theory of the philanthropic sector to provide a new model that is both more accurate in its details and more comprehensive in its scope. The standard theory sees the philanthropic sector as subordinate and supplementary to our capitalist market economy and liberal democratic polity. That approach has a fundamental short-coming: its explanation of both the state and philanthropy as adjuncts to the market fails to appreciate the ways in which all three sectors support and supplement each other. The standard model’s primary focus on the market ignores how the demands that we make on both the state and the market ultimately derive from value systems the philanthropic sector not only gives us, but also prepares us to accept. From this perspective, the philanthropic sector functions, not as an adjunct to the state and the market, under those sectors’ standards of consumer demand and majority preference, but rather as both their foundation and their metric.

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Rob Atkinson is a Ruden McClosky Professor at Florida State University College of Law.