How the Digital Revolution is Impacting our Giving Back Spirit

A philanthropic approach to entrepreneurship has long been rooted in capitalist societies.  Notably in North America, the idea that wealth beyond a certain point must be invested back into society still constitutes an important part of the social contract. The motivations are intrinsically social rather than private: expanding opportunities and generating economic prosperity for a wider group outside the family.

John Rockefeller Sr. is a striking example of a philanthropist who generated an incredible amount of social benefits by donating 95% of his wealth before his death without a definite nor immediate quid pro quo. His strong moral sense left an impressively enduring legacy. He created two dominant research centres, restored the welfare of the American South and dramatically improved the sanitary system on a global scale. The University of Chicago, that he founded in 1890, became a world-leading institution counting today nearly 100 Nobel Prize laureates.

According to Andrew Carnegie, who introduced the concept of The Responsibility of Wealth in 1889, ‘the sole purpose of being rich is to be a philanthropist’, suggesting that, according to God’s plan, individuals need to do well so they can create greater good in turn.

However, since the advent of the Digital Revolution and its consequent impact on users’ intellectual wealth, the opportunity to add value to society has been democratised, hence made available to the whole Internet Community. In other words, the privilege and responsibility of creating good through wealth is no longer restricted to the upper-class of self-made millionaires, but it belongs to every netizen willing to spread their intellectual assets.

Recent studies within the domain of Knowledge Management, have outlined different reasons underpinning the upsurge of knowledge sharing online.

The fundamental motivation is closely related to the emergence of the so called Communities of Practice on the web. Strictly speaking, CoPs are platforms informally grouping individuals bound together by a common interest or expertise. As the studies show, online communities such as Eloquens enable the creation of an environment of mutual trust, respect and collaboration that nurtures the generation and proliferation of knowledge.

The development of online communication and interaction is also a crucial premise that facilitates the transfer of knowledge. Conversation can happen via email, but also in real time on group chats or discussion boards, with the benefit of being archived and becoming accessible to all members.

Additionally, the web allows us to research a given user on other platforms, get to know their personal brand and their professional history. So, as we build trust in their competence, we become more inclined to start a peer-to-peer collaboration towards the knowledge transfer process.

By engaging with these virtual communities brought about by the Digital Revolution, more and more individuals have developed the moral need to make their own resources a public good.

As such, digital platforms have democratised the privilege to engage in philanthropic efforts, they’ve made it a flexible, dynamic and simple process. The giving back culture is expanding, adding value to society through knowledge sharing and we are all encouraged to do so.

With knowledge being within everyone’s reach, the general intellectual capital is constantly thriving. But, with great wealth comes great responsibilities and the question as to whether we are increasingly responsible to share our intellectual wealth to generate greater good inevitably arises.

Our Leading Philanthropists Authors in a Giving-Back Spirit

Prof. Aswath Damodaran is sharing his teaching material in the fields of Corporate Finance and Valuation.

Stephen Goldberg is impacting leaders across the world by sharing his experience in Leadership.

Brian Weisberg is helping inspire world Startup CFOs by sharing high class financial modelling tools.

Do you also want to contribute to the public good by sharing your own knowledge online? 🧠💻🧠  Publish Best Practices on!


Marta Santi

Content Manager
& Business Developer

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