NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The 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. An essential read for understanding some of the egregious abuses of power that dominate today’s news.
"Impassioned.... Entertaining reading.” —The Washington Post
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. They rebrand themselves as saviors of the poor; they lavishly reward “thought leaders” who redefine “change” in ways that preserve the status quo; and they constantly seek to do more good, but never less harm.
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? His groundbreaking investigation has already forced a great, sorely needed reckoning among the world’s wealthiest and those they hover above, and it 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.
In this provocative and passionate look at philanthropy, capitalism, and inequality, Giridharadas (The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas) criticizes market-based solutions to inequality devised by rich American do-gooders as ultimately counterproductive and self-serving. Giridharadas insists that "the idea that after-the-fact benevolence justifies anything-goes capitalism" is no excuse for "avoiding the necessity of a more just and equitable system and a fairer distribution of power." He turns a gimlet eye on philanthropists who make the money they donate by underpaying employees; luxurious philanthropy getaways that focus more on making attendees feel good about themselves than on creating profound change; and tech companies such as Uber, which promises to empower the poor with earning opportunities, but has been accused of exploiting its workers. Giridharadas calls out billionaire venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, who opines that "sharing is caring" but refers to labor unions as "cartels," and profiles Darren Walker, who came from modest beginnings to end up president of the Ford Foundation, where his entreaties to philanthropists to acknowledge structural inequality fall mostly on deaf ears. In the end, Giridharadas believes only democratic solutions can address problems of inequality. This damning portrait of contemporary American philanthropy is a must-read for anyone interested in "changing the world."
Anand Giridharadas shows how winners really take all
I saw the author interviewed on a Bay Area PBS station. He was articulate and insightful, so I immediately downloaded the book. This is an excellent read for anyone interested in economic social justice and the origin, evolution and sustaining power of the current system.
Winners Take All
Highly recommend people read this well written, informative, and transparent book that examines the ways in which the ultra rich market and rationalize maintaining the capitalist culture and systems that only truly benefit a few while oppressing the rest. It highlights the importance of voting for legislations and people, both locally and nationally, who acknowledge and aim to fix the problems in our systems and democracy in meaningful ways rather than abandon it in favor of workarounds that only treat symptoms and empower plutocrats.
A necessary read for concerned citizens
Giridharadas articulates an opinion that is all too rarely expressed these days. He rejects the consensus view of philanthropists being the saviors for society, and in fact indicts them for being, at best, complicit in, and at worst, the cause of our society’s problems. For example, creating job insecurity by cutting wages and automating jobs, disenfranchising women by lobbying against legislation mandating maternity leave.
While sympathetic to his interviewees, who are mostly the “doing good by doing well” type, he is still able to critique them in a pointed way.
A great read, though a bit repetitive if I’m being honest. And for us to stop looking to wealthy philanthropists to solve our problems, we need government to step up and offer solutions. I wish Giridharadas would have spent more time addressing this question of how exactly to do this. But what he does address, he does so very well. I think this is a necessary