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May 8, 2013
Judge Richard Posner suggests that foundations are “total scandals” because they lack market or electoral accountability. Foundations also operate without significant transparency requirements, elevate the preferences of wealthy individuals across generations, and are recipients of generous tax breaks.
In this final Ash Center Democracy Seminar of the Spring 2013 semester, Rob Reich explored the role of foundations in democratic societies. He argued that foundations can gain legitimacy in spite of their plutocratic power, through their work in supporting pluralism and in long-run social policy innovation. Phil Buchanan, Chris Letts, and Eric Beerbohm offered remarks and Archon Fung served as moderator.