Winners Take All
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.

Winners Take All Details

TitleWinners Take All
Author
ReleaseAug 28th, 2018
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
ISBN-139780451493248
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Politics, Economics, Business, Cultural

Winners Take All Review

  • Mehrsa
    January 1, 1970
    This is an excellent book and a must-read! It's also totally readable and even quite funny at times. And it's the kind of book that you keep bringing up in conversation and then trailing off and saying---you just really have to read this book. The oversimplified thesis is that you can't use the master's tools to break down his house. I hope this book is widely read and circulated.
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  • Nils
    January 1, 1970
    Philanthropy exists mainly to enable the super-rich and super-powerful to defer any serious discussion of a serious reordering of power and wealth, argues Giridharadas. Through a series of vignettes both of the super-rich and super-powerful themselves, who prove themselves unable to conceive that righting the world’s wrongs might require that they cede some of the their privileges, and their servants in the philanthropic world, who realize queasily their own compromised position (which Giridhara Philanthropy exists mainly to enable the super-rich and super-powerful to defer any serious discussion of a serious reordering of power and wealth, argues Giridharadas. Through a series of vignettes both of the super-rich and super-powerful themselves, who prove themselves unable to conceive that righting the world’s wrongs might require that they cede some of the their privileges, and their servants in the philanthropic world, who realize queasily their own compromised position (which Giridharadas admits, to his credit, includes him), the book suggests that reforms within the frame of what he calls MarketWorld simply are inadequate, and in fact mainly provide ideological and psychological cover for an intolerable state of affairs. Dani Rodrick emerges as the intellectual hero.
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  • John Spiller
    January 1, 1970
    "Winners Take All" is an important and timely book. Giridharadas examines the fundamental limitations and contradictions of those who work for social change from a position of wealth and prestige. His central theme is "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house," that is, the solutions proffered by the global elite will never address the conditions that created the problems. He explains how this mindset, which he dubs "MarketWorld" not only entrenches the status quo but also spur "Winners Take All" is an important and timely book. Giridharadas examines the fundamental limitations and contradictions of those who work for social change from a position of wealth and prestige. His central theme is "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house," that is, the solutions proffered by the global elite will never address the conditions that created the problems. He explains how this mindset, which he dubs "MarketWorld" not only entrenches the status quo but also spurred the backlash that led to Brexit and the election of Trump.In a tone more rueful than accusatory, Giridharadas examines the blinkered world view of the philanthropic elite who seek "to do well by doing good". These folks tend to favor "win-win" solutions, that is, an approach that benefits the individual without requiring a fundamental change to the system that created the problem (and their wealth). Similarly, the philantrocapitalists tend to prefer empowerment solutions to redistribution. While they tend to arrogantly consider themselves more capable than government of addressing problems, they profess ignorance and weakness when taking on the system itself. Those who do not share their market-driven approach to problem solving are pitied as ignorant rubes.Giridharadas explains how we find ourselves in this predicament. The Republicans have long run on the theme that "government is the problem, not the solution." Instead of providing a competing vision of the role for strong government, the Democrats have co-opted some of the Republican government-bashing while offering market-friendly solutions. Thus, the limited range of policy prescriptions center on even further deregulation so that the market can work its "invisible hand." Giridharadas ultimately concludes that we cannot rely upon the rich to produce a just and equitable society, though they do have a role. Rather, it will take a group effort which includes democratic institutions.
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  • Greg
    January 1, 1970
    We live in a world where every SV exec and company, even ones laughably so (Coca-Cola? Facebook?) claim to be changing the world for the better, doing good and are involved in charitable donations. With so much charity and well-meaning, why hasn't the average American seen an income change for three decades? It's something that most seem to be acutely aware of even if they haven't spent enough time to properly articulate the critique.Giridharadas forwards the idea that the winners of capitalism We live in a world where every SV exec and company, even ones laughably so (Coca-Cola? Facebook?) claim to be changing the world for the better, doing good and are involved in charitable donations. With so much charity and well-meaning, why hasn't the average American seen an income change for three decades? It's something that most seem to be acutely aware of even if they haven't spent enough time to properly articulate the critique.Giridharadas forwards the idea that the winners of capitalism certainly want the feeling of doing good without any self-sacrifice. Charity is treating the symptom and not the cause; vehicles of extreme wealth extraction via tech on the backs of ordinary people is what enables a plutocratic elite to give money back. The book ridicules thought-leaders peddling marketable ideas that never-quite rock the boat hard enough to make a meaningful change, entrepreneurs whose social solutions happen to line their pockets, banking execs who now steep their language in social progress, and so on. The book is largely told via vehicles of anecdotal stories to illustrate larger trends, landing interviews from a diverse cast of would-be do-gooders to those grappling with trying to make a substantive change within the system. In the end, Anand's pulse reading of the rise of populism is a rebuke the jet-setting plutocrats by electing Trump, as "the arsonists make the best firefighters" answer.While that might be a part of the story, he's not entirely wrong with this outlook.
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  • Steve Turtell
    January 1, 1970
    It's hard to argue with any of the blatantly obvious points Giridharadas makes, but in chapter after chapter his targets prove themselves immune to the criticism. The whole book is a collective portrait of a class well-described by Tolstoy in one of the book's epigraphs:“I sit on a man’s back choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible… Except by getting off his back."– Leo Tolstoy, Writings on C It's hard to argue with any of the blatantly obvious points Giridharadas makes, but in chapter after chapter his targets prove themselves immune to the criticism. The whole book is a collective portrait of a class well-described by Tolstoy in one of the book's epigraphs:“I sit on a man’s back choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible… Except by getting off his back."– Leo Tolstoy, Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence.I'd love to read reviews by the people he skewers, especially an unrepentant Bill Clinton, who sees absolutely no problem pulling down millions on the lecture circuit after his time in office. "He said this as though it were impossible to imagine how the opportunity to earn tens of millions of dollars after a presidency might affect a president's fight-picking decisions while in office."
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  • Katie P..
    January 1, 1970
    This book puts words to questions and ideas I have been wrestling with for a long time, having worked in the startup world, where people routinely pay lip service to "changing the world" while looking for tax and legal loopholes, ways to hire fewer people and pay the people they do hire less money, and all kinds of other things that I would assume would make your brain explode from cognitive dissonance. If you consider yourself "elite" or even "elite adjacent" - if you're a startup founder or an This book puts words to questions and ideas I have been wrestling with for a long time, having worked in the startup world, where people routinely pay lip service to "changing the world" while looking for tax and legal loopholes, ways to hire fewer people and pay the people they do hire less money, and all kinds of other things that I would assume would make your brain explode from cognitive dissonance. If you consider yourself "elite" or even "elite adjacent" - if you're a startup founder or an aspiring startup founder or you work at a corporate consulting firm or in the pharmaceutical industry or any other number of industries that claim to "make the world a better place" while shaping what "a better world" looks like in their own image - and you can't admit that there's at least some validity to the arguments put forth in this book, I would venture to say that you are part of the problem.
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  • Jinie Choi
    January 1, 1970
    Challenged every view I've held of tech philanthropists, and corporate philanthropy. As a believer in profit and private companies accelerating innovations to help these causes, it made me revisit foundations of my beliefs and confront my biases.
  • Vivek
    January 1, 1970
    Brutally honest -- crystallizes what every yuppie professional (i.e., me) knows deep down about their (i.e., my) "efforts" to "do good."
  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    Game changer! Read this book and join the revolution.
  • Stevo Brock
    January 1, 1970
    This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 9/2, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet: http://forums.delphiforums.com/stevo1. https://amzn.to/2CcDbWp
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