Although one might reasonably wonder about the choice of a far-left institution like Brown University for such a donation, somebody’s donating money for this purpose is a fine thing:
Brown University has received a $25 million gift from an alumnus which it will use to launch a center for entrepreneurship to provide students with academic expertise and real-world experience in innovation.
The gift from Jonathan M. Nelson, founder and CEO of Providence Equity Partners, will support the creation of a program with an “action-oriented and interdisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship,” the university said in a statement.
How thoroughly this Ivy League venture will integrate with Rhode Island’s new “trickle down” economic development strategy only time will tell, but the potential for links between the university’s students and faculty and the government of Rhode Island (and the growing shadow government of Rhode Island) is substantial.
Also, yesterday, Governor Gina Raimondo gave a scrum of reporters some sense of how talks with General Electric came about:
The governor, a Yale Law School graduate, said she initiated the state’s pursuit by contacting a fellow Yale board member who also serves on GE’s board. That led to multiple phone conversations with GE’s CFO, and ultimately to conversation with GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. Raimondo said she told him, “Just let us compete.”
During dozens of phone calls and meetings, she said, she hammered a message that Rhode Island is a good place to do business, in part since taxes have generally been lowered over the last 20 years and other costs have been stabilized due to changes in the state pension and the state’s Medicaid program. Raimondo declined to specify a dollar figure, but said the state’s offer was “in the same neighborhood” of roughly $140 million in incentives granted to GE by Massachusetts and the City of Boston.
Is this how government works, now, under progressive leadership? Ivy League chums call each other up and make secret deals with taxpayer money?
Brown alum Neil Steinberg uses money from the Rhode Island Foundation to buy a report from Brown and Yale Law alum Bruce Katz while Harvard and Yale Law alum Gina Raimondo hires Yale and Yale Law alum Stefan Pryor to run the state’s commerce efforts, and meanwhile Brown alum Jonathan Nelson donates money to the university positioning future Brown alums to take maximum advantage of the design-the-world, public-private-university-and-nonprofit economic strategy put into place by their Ivy League forebears.
Reflecting on the top-down schemes of Raimondo and Brookings, I’ve been asking what happens to people who don’t get with The Plan, it appears we should also wonder whether there’s an even larger gap between those in and out of the club. In the Era of Obama, people have frequently raised the specter of Orwell’s 1984, but in Rhode Island Huxley’s Brave New World might be more apt:
Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.