Aaron Swartz: Think Lunatics With Money

Posted by admin on Thursday, October 6, 2016

Aaron Swartz Money Quote saying nutty political positions can easily be studied by think tanks dedicated to their wealthy funders ideas. Aaron Swartz said:
 
Nonprofits are small enough and rich people are wealthy enough that it only takes a handful of lunatics with money to fund a whole forest of think tanks Quote
 

Nonprofits are small enough and rich people are wealthy enough that it only takes a handful of lunatics with money to fund a whole forest of think tanks” — Aaron Swartz

 

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In this quote, Aaron Swartz seems to be critiquing how a small number of wealthy individuals can have outsized influence over policy debates and discussions through targeted funding of nonprofit organizations and think tanks. Some key points:

  • He notes that nonprofits are generally “small enough” that they don’t require massive budgets to operate, while certain “rich people are wealthy enough” to easily fund larger amounts.
  • Swartz argues that with this funding dynamic, only a small group of “lunatics with money” are needed to financially support “a whole forest” of think tanks and policy-focused nonprofits.
  • This implies that just a handful of very wealthy donors can in effect “buy” a large amount of intellectual real estate in the nonprofit sector through targeted donations.

Overall, the quote conveys Swartz’s view that the nonprofit world is vulnerable to being heavily shaped by the narrow ideological agendas or pet issues of a tiny number of extremely wealthy individuals, since nonprofits are relatively inexpensive to substantially influence through large donations.

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