Aug 28, 2018

Giridharadas: Winners Take All


Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas 

 An insider's groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve.

Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can--except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it. We see how they rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; how they lavishly reward "thought leaders" who redefine "change" in winner-friendly ways; and how they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm. We hear the limousine confessions of a celebrated foundation boss; witness an American president hem and haw about his plutocratic benefactors; and attend a cruise-ship conference where entrepreneurs celebrate their own self-interested magnanimity.

Giridharadas asks hard questions: Why, for example, should our gravest problems be solved by the unelected upper crust instead of the public institutions it erodes by lobbying and dodging taxes? He also points toward an answer: Rather than rely on scraps from the winners, we must take on the grueling democratic work of building more robust, egalitarian institutions and truly changing the world. A call to action for elites and everyday citizens alike.


KIRKUS REVIEW


Give a hungry man a fish, and you get to pat yourself on the back—and take a tax deduction.
It’s a matter of some irony, John Steinbeck once observed of the robber barons of the Gilded Age, that they spent the first two-thirds of their lives looting the public only to spend the last third giving the money away. Now, writes political analyst and journalist Giridharadas (The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas, 2014, etc.), the global financial elite has reinterpreted Andrew Carnegie’s view that it’s good for society for capitalists to give something back to a new formula: It’s good for business to do so when the time is right, but not otherwise. Moreover, business has co-opted philanthropy, such that any “world-changing” efforts come with a proviso: “if you really want to change the world, you must rely on the techniques, resources, and personnel of capitalism.” Philanthropic initiatives to effect social change are no longer the province of public life but instead are private and voluntary, in keeping with free market individualism. Naturally, there’s a layer of consultants and in-house vice presidents to manage all this largess, which hinges on the premise that things aren’t so bad and just need to be nudged along. The author memorably calls this process “Pinkering,” after the ameliorist-minded psychologist Steven Pinker. “It beamed out so many thoughts about why the world was getting better in recent years,” Giridharadas writes of one initiative, “that its antennae failed to detect all the incoming transmissions about all the people whose lives were not improving, who didn’t care to be Pinkered because they knew what they were seeing.” So what’s so bad about private giving? Answers the author, when a society elects to help, it expresses democratic values with an eye to equality, while private giving is inherently unequal, a power relation between “the giver and the taker, the helper and the helped, the donor and the recipient.”
A provocative critique of the kind of modern, feel-good giving that addresses symptoms and not causes.

 Of Interest
 http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/08/anand-giridharadas-on-winners-take-all.html
https://www.npr.org/2018/08/29/642688220/generous-giving-or-phony-philanthropy-a-critique-of-well-meaning-winners




ANAND GIRIDHARADAS is the author of The True American and India Calling. He was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times from 2005 to 2016, and has also written for The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. He is an Aspen Institute fellow, an on-air political analyst for MSNBC, and a former McKinsey analyst. He teaches journalism at New York University and has spoken on the main stage of TED. His writing has been honored by the Society of Publishers in Asia, the Poynter Fellowship at Yale, and the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Award. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

1 comment:

Mohammad Salauddin said...

Great Idea. This will help hungry people to eat.

Fabrics USA Inc