- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Allen Lane (1 March 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0241400724
- ISBN-13: 978-0241400722
- Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.2 x 23.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Winners Take All Paperback – 1 Mar 2019
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Entertaining and gripping . . . For those at the helm, the philanthropic plutocrats and aspiring "change agents" who believe they are helping but are actually making things worse, it's time for a reckoning with their role in this spiraling dilemma. I suggest they might want to read a copy of this book while in the Hamptons this summer (Joseph Stiglitz New York Times Book Review)
In Anand's thought-provoking book his fresh perspective on solving complex societal problems is admirable. I appreciate his commitment and dedication to spreading social justice (Bill Gates)
Winners Take All boldly exposes one of the great if little-reported scandals of the age of globalization: the domestication of the life of the mind by political and financial power and the substitution of 'thought leaders' for critical thinkers. It not only reorients us as we lurch out of a long ideological intoxication; it also embodies the values -- intellectual autonomy and dissent -- that we need to build a just society (Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger)
In this trenchant and timely book, Anand Giridharadas shows how the winners of global capitalism seek to help the losers, but without disturbing the market-friendly arrangements that keep the winners on top. An indispensable guide for those perplexed by the rising public anger toward 'change-making' elites (Michael J. Sandel, author of What Money Can't Buy)
A brilliant, rising voice of our era takes us on a journey among the global elite in his search for understanding of our tragic disconnect. Thought-provoking, expansive, and timely (Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns)
A trenchant, humane, and often revelatory investigation by one of the wisest nonfiction writers going (Katherine Boo, author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers)
About the Author
Anand Giridharadas is a political analyst for MSNBC and he teaches journalism at New York University. He has also been a foreign correspondent and columnist for the New York Times and a McKinsey analyst. He is the author of The True American and India Calling.
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Giridharadas calls such efforts a charade because they don’t address the causes of inequality. He writes, “when elites assume leadership of social change, they are able to reshape what social change is—above all, to present it as something that should never threaten winners.” (p. 8) Quoting OECD leader Angel Gurria, Giridharadas writes, “Elites have found myriad ways to change things on the surface so that in practice nothing changes at all.” (p. 9)
To explain and illustrate why the elites’ efforts fail to address structural causes of poverty and inequality, Giridharadas examines the methods that foundations and corporations use. He describes a meeting of the Open Society Foundations’ Economic Advancement Program’s advisers in which, “the issues . . . would be presented in the business way, in the form of slides with graphs and charts. The question of building more inclusive economies would be atomized into endless subcategories, until the human reality all but vanished. The fundamental problems would grow almost unrecognizable. Justice and inequality would be converted into problems the private equity executive was preeminently qualified to solve.”(p. 132)
Giridharadas explains that the protocols by which McKinsey consultants help corporations to become more competitive are now commonly viewed by foundations and NGOs as essential for analysing and addressing social problems. He writes, “Our age of market supremacy has blessed the protocols with a remarkable change of fortune: They have evolved from being a specialized way of solving particular business problems to being, in the view of many, the essential toolkit for solving anything.” (p. 139)
The problem, according to Giridharadas, with using the protocols for analysing and addressing social problems is that, “problems reformatted according to the protocols were recast in the light of the winner’s gaze. After all, the definition of the problem is done by the problem-solver and crowds out other ways of seeing it.” (p. 142) “The protocols’ spread to social questions also gave elites a chance to limit the range of possible answers.” (p. 152)
Giridharadas’s cites the final Clinton Global Initiative’s one-sided panel discussions to demonstrate that private social reform efforts fail to understand and address the causes of poverty and inequality because they exclude divergent perspectives and voices: “The organizers of this final CGI, held in the throes of the antiglobalist revolt, decided that a panel on the topic was a must. And the organizers evidently concluded that the panel should consist entirely of globalists, with no one representing the other side.” (p. 214)
Giridharadas devotes Chapter 4 to examining the sycophancy of thought leaders, to show how the elites reward the generation and promotion of winner-safe prescriptions for social change.
Frank Giustra of the Giustra Foundation wrongly accuses Giridharadas of not offering solutions to the problems presented in Winners Take All. Giridharadas does propose solutions. To more equitably distribute the gains from the increasing productivity of the workforce, Giridharadas calls for “tighter regulations on trading, higher taxes on financiers, stronger labor protections to protect workers from layoffs and pension raiding by private equity owners, and incentives favouring job-creating investment over mere speculation.” (pp. 40-41)
I strongly recommend Winners Take All to anyone working in philanthropy or CSR.
4/5, as the narrative feels repetitive and ranting at times.