Philanthropy

Round 2 in the great social engineering debate


At PhilanthropyDaily.com, I respond to the responses that the Hewlett Foundation’s current and past presidents have made to Bill Schambra’s stern critique of their social science-based approach to giving. Hewlett’s champions defend themselves by blurring the distinction between the natural and social sciences. But

If social science, as employed by America’s largest foundations over the last century, were so wonderfully productive of human flourishing, why don’t Kramer and Brest toss out numerous instances of its successes with such non-bacterial human problems as unwed motherhood, the declining work force participation of men, or “income inequality”?  Why haven’t foundations conquered those challenges as straightforwardly as cholera and hookworm? Could it be because human beings differ in kind from bacteria and parasitic nematodes?

For the whole piece, go here.

Scott Walter

Walter served in the George W. Bush administration as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and was vice president for publications and research at the Philanthropy Roundtable. There…
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