Philanthrocapitalism: rendering the public domain obsolete?

Carol Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Engaging the lively debates about the next expression of neoliberalism, this study suggests that it is evolving into philanthrocapitalism. After a brief discussion of the trajectories from neoliberalism, the article addresses the core ideology of philanthrocapitalism. The central thesis explores how philanthrocapitalism is moving beyond the requirement of ‘business practices’ for recipients of donor funds, into enforcing ‘business rule’ on to the public domain. Although philanthrocapitalism is most debated in the fields of health care and education, this article uses empirical analysis of international agricultural policies trying to enlist Southern Africa policies. It explores how philanthrocapitalist rule is reducing transparency, participation and deliberation within the public domain, well beyond requesting efficient business practices for greater food security. It concludes with how smallholder farmers are actively organising to resist business rule over their genetic resources and farming practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages17
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • Agrarian change
  • Southern Africa
  • agriculture and food security
  • governance
  • neoliberalisation
  • participation and power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development


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