World of Giving

Jeffrey Inaba and C-LAB will be hosting a book launch this evening—Thursday, November 12—at the New Museum in New York. The party kicks off at 6:30pm, lasts two hours, and it’s free and open to the public—but you have to RSVP. Just send a quick note to; tell them you read about it on BLDGBLOG.

[Images: From World of Giving, published by Lars Müller, the New Museum, and Columbia University].

The book, called World of Giving, explores the financial infrastructure—and the resultant networks of social capital, or what Inaba calls Aid Capital—that arise in global philanthropy. But this is not just the expected cultural gift-giving of building opera houses in developed cities, funding commerically-unattractive graduate research, or opening new hospitals halfway around the world; it is also a darker philanthropy, we might say, of money-laundered financing for terrorism, arms deals, and more—the terrain of mobile capital and secret bank accounts that Loretta Napoleoni explores in her book Terror Incorporated: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks. The World of Giving, in this sense, is not just a Hallmark world in which generosity rules, but an entire shadow economy of often unpredictable impulses and results.

The book itself, meanwhile, is basically a translation of C-LAB’s installation at the New Museum, Donor Hall. Donor Hall is, the museum writes, “a bold, immersive graphic environment that identifies and quantifies public and private philanthropy around the world. The presentation is based on research on dozens of organizations—from sports, media, politics, education, religion, finance, paramilitary, and non-governmental organizations—and tracks the amounts of money various organizations donate to culture.”

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