Rich people sometimes donate a lot of money to art institutions and creators to enrich everyone's cultural experience. Philanthropy has always been important in the world of arts and culture.

The motives are often noble, but of course, as always, there is more to it than that. Consider tax benefits and social influence, or consider donations to foundations that in turn belong to the donor. Moreover, giving brings undemocratic principles. Decisions are no longer made through governments, constructions are set up and wealthy givers decide for themselves what is good for society, because yes, if we have to wait for the government. This does not even happen in consultation with administrators, who themselves prefer a faster, less bureaucratic path.

Still, philanthropy can be beautiful

Yet philanthropy can be beautiful, it can play an important role in the sasociety because it supports institutions and creators. It can provide support in ways that governments cannot, and of course it can be motivated by a strong desire to serve the common good. But contrasted with this utility thinking is the uomo economicus, man driven by self-interest. Somewhere in the middle we should look for it, but caution toward big givers always seems to me to be warranted.

But opposed to this utilitarianism is the uomo economicus, man driven by self-interest

Last August, sociologist Nous Faes wrote the column 'The New Messiah" in Metropolis M. She talks about a "surplus of 'excess' money in our society" that is in stark contract with the huge deficits that exist. And that, of course, is where the shoe pinches. How is it that we find it normal to live in a world where very few people become so idiotically rich that they give the money away to self-selected causes, thereby paying a lot less in taxes and thus cutting off government policy?

I am no economist, but I can imagine that if that one percent very rich we have in the Netherlands pays more taxes on their 26 percent of national wealth (see also the aforementioned column by Faes), if that enriches the national treasury, that giving money to institutions and creators is not necessary at all. That the funds can then be distributed democratically and the cultural sector - as well as the health sector to name a few - can flourish.

Different rules always apply in the sideline than on the field

When funds are simply distributed through taxes and public policy, you can remove a number of obstacles that lurk along the sidelines of current (private) money flows: opacity in favor of the giver, power and inflood of the giver, selection by the giver of what is important and distraction Of the unequal distribution of wealth. Different rules always apply in the sidelines than on the field. Get the money to the field, I would say.

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