American capitalism differs from all other forms of industrial capitalism is its historical focus on both the creation of wealth (entrepreneurship) and the reconstitution of wealth (philanthropy). Philanthropy is part of the implicit social contract that continuously nurtures and revitalizes economic prosperity. Much of the new wealth created historically has been given back to the community, to build up the great social institutions that have a positive feedback on future economic growth. This entrepreneurship-philanthropy nexus has not been fully explored by either economists or the general public. The purpose of this paper is to suggest that American philanthropists – especially those who have made their own fortunes – create foundations that, in turn, contribute to greater and more widespread economic prosperity through knowledge creation. If we do not analyze philanthropy we can understand neither how economic development occurred nor what accounts for American economic dominance.
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Acs, Z.J., Phillips, R.J. Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy in American Capitalism. Small Business Economics 19, 189–204 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019635015318