New article in the journal Trends in Organized Crime
In the last decade, elitist philanthropy exploded in certain parts of the West and so did philanthropy of outlaw motorcycle clubs. The question is, under what conditions does philanthropy become an effective strategy of legitimization of one’s power in society? Neoliberalism did not only result in extreme inequality, weakening of the state, and emergence of increasingly disillusioned population, but also enabled philanthropy to become an effective strategy of legitimization of the informal power of both billionaires and criminal organizations alike. Philanthropy became instrumental both to image management in face of crises of reputation and to the insertion of these transnational non-state actors into governance. The destructive effects of neoliberalism allowed both groups to grow, and to reproduce and accelerate the very conditions in which they thrive, thus further weakening the state and fuelling inequality. The argument counters popular narratives about how private vices and greed can serve public benefit.