By Daniel Pianko
Last month, John Paulson paid $400 million to rename the Harvard Engineering School. The gift represents a disappointing reality: rather than build the next generation of universities, today’s billionaires are content to bolster a university system that isn’t keeping pace with the demands of our economy or fulfilling its democratic promise.
The wealth created during the early part of the 21st century now rivals or exceeds that amassed during America’s Gilded Age, when industrialists accumulated fortunes in emerging industries, including railroads, oil and steel. Their wealth quickly transformed into something revolutionary: philanthropic investment in disruptive educational institutions designed to foster large-scale social and economic mobility. The millionaires (the concept of a billionaire was far in the future) also built a system of public libraries and a network of museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art that were open to all citizens, and solidified America’s reputation as a land of opportunity. CONTINUE READING HERE