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Establishing the great tradition of Philanthropy is the first step towards becoming a diplomatic power. Fate always gives more wealth to some than to most, and when they choose to share their wealth with their fellow citizens, everyone benefits. A Philanthropist doesn't simply aid the poor, however. He looks for a worthy person, pursuing a worthy occupation, and helps him in his endeavors, which in turn benefits all society. And when the State chooses to encourage and direct this laudable activities, the results can be truly amazing!
- Gold gifts to City-States produce 25% more Influence.
Philanthropy is a great starting Policy, which immediately lets the player get more Influence for his or her buck, when he or she chooses to spend it. When you combine this effect with the Influence boost during the special quests City-States give you, the result becomes outstanding - a single 1000 Gold gift may provide almost 200 Influence (depending on the moment in the game)! That, and the Policy being the requirement for more advanced Policies in the tree, usually makes adopting Philanthropy first a no-brainer.
You should, however, consider the state of your treasury when you decide. Because the required Gold for gifts doesn't diminish - it is the Influence obtained that increases. So, if you don't have enough Gold lying around to distribute gifts, you are actually not getting the immediate results you may be looking for. In this case, it's better to start with Consulates, the other level 1 Policy in the tree, which provides both an immediate and long-term benefit.
Philanthropy is the policy where a nation's wealthiest citizens give some portion of their wealth back to the people, often in the form of libraries, museums, hospitals or scholarships. Unlike patronage, where the citizen is paying for the creation of art for himself and others of his class, philanthropy tends to benefit the poorer members of society. Scottish-American Andrew Carnegie was one of the great philanthropists in history. For much of his life Carnegie was an utterly ruthless businessman, creating the US Steel company and making the second largest fortune in history, largely on the backs of the men who slaved in his mines and foundries. Upon selling his business in 1901, Carnegie devoted the last 19 years of his life to building libraries in poor cities, providing funding to some 3,000 in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries around the world.