Philanthropy - from Aristotle to Zuckerberg

Hosted by the Marshall Institute

Online public event


Fran Perrin

Fran Perrin

Professor Rob Reich

Professor Rob Reich

Paul Vallely

Paul Vallely


Professor Stephan Chambers

Professor Stephan Chambers

Join us for this talk by Paul Vallely who will be discussing his new book, Philanthropy: From Aristotle to Zuckerberg.

The super-rich are silently and secretly shaping our world. In this exploration of historical and contemporary philanthropy, author Paul Vallely reveals how this far-reaching change came about. Vivid with anecdote and scholarly insight, this survey - from the ancient Greeks to today's high-tech geeks - provides an original take on the history of philanthropy. It shows how giving has, variously, been a matter of honour, altruism, religious injunction, political control, moral activism, enlightened self-interest, public good, personal fulfilment and plutocratic manipulation. Highly engaging and meticulously researched, Paul Vallely's authoritative account of philanthropy then and now critiques the excessive utilitarianism of much modern philanthrocapitalism and points to how philanthropy can rediscover its soul.

Meet our speakers and chair

Fran Perrin is the Founder and Director of the Indigo Trust and was awarded an OBE in 2020 for her services to charity. Fran is also co-founder and Chair of the Board of 360Giving. She was formerly an advisor at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, in the UK Cabinet Office.

Rob Reich (@robreich)  is a Professor of Political Science and, by courtesy, Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate School of Education, at Stanford University. He is the director of the Center for Ethics in Society and co-director of the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, both at Stanford University. He is the author most recently of Just Giving: Why Philanthropy is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better.

Paul Vallely (@pvall) is a writer and consultant on philanthropy, ethics, religion and international development.  He has worked as a journalist and campaigner with government, businesses, NGOs and churches. He produced award-winning reports from more than 30 countries, was co-author of the report of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa and has advised Bob Geldof, Bono and others. He has written on political, cultural, ethical and religious issues in the New York Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Times and Independent. He was made a CMG in the 2016 Honours List.

You can order the book, Philanthropy - from Aristotle to Zuckerberg, (UK delivery only) from our official LSE Events independent book shop, Pages of Hackney

Stephan Chambers is the inaugural director of the Marshall Institute at LSE. He is also Professor in Practice at the Department of Management at LSE and Course Director for the new Executive Masters in Social Business and Entrepreneurship. 

More about this event

The Marshall Institute (@LSEMarshall) works to improve the impact and effectiveness of private action for public benefit through research, teaching and convening.

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Podcast & Video

A podcast of this event is available to download from Philanthropy - from Aristotle to Zuckerberg.

A video of this event is available to watch at Philanthropy - from Aristotle to Zuckerberg.

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