Little Phil

Changing the Relationship between Philanthropy and Democracy?

in Democratic Theory
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  • 1 Co-Founder and CEO of Little Phil josh@littlephil.org
  • 2 University of Canberra jean-paul.gagnon@canberra.edu.au
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Abstract

This Practitioner's Note considers the disruptive function of Little Phil, a mobile app that seeks to democratize philanthropic giving. Although many of the cultural aspects of philanthropy – such as increased control over donation, tracking the impact of one's giving, and building interpersonal relationships with receivers – can be opened to any person with an app-hosting device and internet access, it cannot supplant the role of big philanthropy and solve Rob Reich's problem: how to domesticate private wealth so that it serves democratic purposes? Little Phil's disruption has in concept gotten us halfway to legitimizing philanthropy. Perhaps the uptake of citizens’ panels by large philanthropic foundations will cover the remaining distance.

Contributor Notes

Joshua Murchie is Co-Founder and CEO of Little Phil. E-mail: josh@littlephil.org

Jean-Paul Gagnon is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Canberra. Email: jean-paul.gagnon@canberra.edu.au

Democratic Theory

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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