1-10af898b0574a730c7288f71de989f61-f_medium
November 11, 2015
Boston book launch for No Such Thing as a Free Gift
Harvard Coop
November 11, 2015
6.00pm - 8.00pm
Harvard Coop
1400 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02238 United States
Linsey McGoey in conversation with Nicole Aschoff, Ray Madoff, and Alicia Yamin

The charitable sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in the global economy. Nearly half of the more than 85,000 private foundations in the United States have come into being since the year 2000. Just under 5,000 more were established in 2011 alone. This deluge of philanthropy has helped create a world where billionaires wield more power over education policy, global agriculture, and global health than ever before. 

In No Such Thing as a Free Gift, author and academic Linsey McGoey puts this new golden age of philanthropy under the microscope—paying particular attention to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As large charitable organizations replace governments as the providers of social welfare, their largesse becomes suspect. The businesses fronting the money often create the very economic instability and inequality the foundations are purported to solve. We are entering an age when the ideals of social justice are dependent on the strained rectitude and questionable generosity of the mega-rich.  

“The charitable model represented by the Gates Foundation is failing to address the root causes of inequality and ecological crisis. This path-breaking book is a sorely needed, historically grounded investigation into the difference between philanthropy and justice.” – Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything and The Shock Doctrine   


Linsey McGoey is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex. She has been a member of the World Health Organization’s expert steering group on the impact of a human rights–based approach to maternal and children’s health. She has published reviews and op-eds for the Guardian, Spectator, Globe and Mail and Open Democracy.  

Nicole Aschoff is the Managing Editor at Jacobin magazine   

Ray Madoff is a professor of law at Boston College Law School.   

Alicia Yamin is Director, JD/MPH program and Lecturer in Law at Harvard University.