Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2262607
 


 



Burning Man: A Case Study of Altruism Thriving in a For-profit Organizational Form and the Rationales for LLC-to-Nonprofit Conversion


Yuan Ji


Yale University - Law School

May 8, 2011

Hastings Business Law Journal, Vol. 9, No. 3, p. 449, 2013

Abstract:     
Burning Man is a temporary city of over 50,000 citizens that exists for one week every year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Burning Man is perhaps best known in popular culture for its celebration of interactive art, experimental community building, gift economy, and ritual burning of a large wooden structure in the shape of a man. The case study of Burning Man is used to illustrate that an altruistic organization, one that is ideologically committed to the provision of public goods and not driven by profit, can nevertheless thrive in a for-profit legal form while staying true to its mission. Depending on organization-specific conditions, the nonprofit form can be, but does not necessarily have to be, the best structure for the provision of altruism and public goods (or quasi-public goods). As an organization evolves and becomes more complex overtime, however, the organization form that best serves its mission can change as well. Still, the nonprofit form alone neither guarantees altruistic commitment nor is immune from abusive practices within the management or board of directors. This Article discusses the theories on nonprofit formation that make persuasive rationales for Burning Man’s conversion to a nonprofit structure; it also makes specific recommendations for better organizational accountability and transparency in the Project’s current and future operations.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

Keywords: Burning Man, altruism, altruistic organization, public good, nonprofit, organizational form

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Date posted: May 10, 2013 ; Last revised: May 28, 2013

Suggested Citation

Ji, Yuan, Burning Man: A Case Study of Altruism Thriving in a For-profit Organizational Form and the Rationales for LLC-to-Nonprofit Conversion (May 8, 2011). Hastings Business Law Journal, Vol. 9, No. 3, p. 449, 2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2262607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2262607

Contact Information

Yuan Ji (Contact Author)
Yale University - Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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