Authors

A win-win situation

Anand Giridharadas has come up with a book titled, “Winners Take It All: The Elite Charade of Changing The World”. It is bold and forthright. In a nutshell, his assertion is, “Rich people are playing a double game. On one hand, there’s no question they’re giving away more money than has ever been given away in history. But I argue in this book that we also have one of the more predatory elites in history, despite that philanthropy, despite that desire to change the world.”

Giridharadas.says, “There’s this idea that has taken hold in our time, which is the idea of the win-win. A win-win is the idea that essentially the winners can profit while helping other people. They can do well by doing good. Doing well by doing good has become the mantra of so many elites in our time. What this often ends up meaning in practice is that social change that offers a kickback to the winners is favoured, and forms of social change that don't are not. So let's take some examples… if you take the issue of empowering women - well, in theory, many, many people would be in favour of that. But let's get down to the brass tacks of what do we do? Well, if you look at most rich countries, things like maternity leave and universal day care and, you know, various other social policies to actually give women and families the opportunity to play all of their roles seem to be what it takes. Well, what's the problem with that? It's kind of expensive for the winners. Frankly, rich people would probably have to pay higher taxes in America to empower women in that way. So what happens? Do rich people ignore that demand of women for empowerment? No. They offer a light facsimile of change.

They offer a win-win change. They offer change that doesn't change anything fundamental. Lean-in circles - let's get women together. Let's get them in a circle. Let's get them to, you know, mentor each other and raise their hands. This is the kind of change the winners can get on board with–change that changes nothing fundamental, change that keeps what they need, change that doesn't change their world.”

Giridharadas says, “I think there's no question that we have lived on the receiving end of 40 years of dogma that government is bad and the market is good. We have been living amid market fundamentalism without necessarily realizing it. You know, it's easy to denigrate government. Let's just stop and pause and reflect on how well the United States of America functions in the spectrum of human societies out there. It's easy to be down on our government, even under this presidency. And I am not calling for government to take over and control things. I'm calling for government to stop being shamed and discredited and pushed out of the picture.”

Giridharadas says that one of the most disturbing things in reporting this book is that he realized that when the rich say they alone can fix a problem…they are actually carrying the message of the so-called philanthro-capitalists of the last generation. That's actually something that has been pushed by these private-sector change agents for years.

They are specially capable of solving social problems…." a parody of the sort of philanthropist you don't like - trust me, I'm very rich, I'm going to fix this problem for you, don't worry about it.”


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 10:10:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/a-win-win-situation/article25006005.ece

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