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July 18, 1998

The Generosity Economy

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Generosity flows from givers to receivers, and then around again.

Generosity is much more than just kind wishes toward those in need. It is purposeful action to improve human lives and the world. So generosity naturally assumes concrete forms to contain and direct the good intentions. That’s why I refer to “the business of generosity”—there’s organizational machinery in operation doing the work of generosity. And my business of generosity, your business of generosity, and every other business of generosity in the world today combine to form an entire economy of generosity.
This chapter is a brief study in the macroeconomics of generosity. What are the major forms and channels and iterations of generosity organizations? How are they changing? Why are some thriving while others aren’t?
We’re going to cut through the complexity. Let’s begin with some backstory to American generosity.

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