Winners Take All
by Anand Giridharadas

November 7, 2022
T. Alex Blum
Winners Take All
by Anand Giridharadas

If you believe that the charity of billionaires is making up for the exploitation that creates their wealth in the first place, you should read this book. The subtitle of this book is "The Elite Charade of Changing the World".

According to Anand Giridharadas, he was inspired to write this book by Thomas Piketty’s groundbreaking Capital in the 21 st Century, his study of wealth redistribution from the majority to the wealthy minority, and its effects on civilized societies.

Giridharadas drills down into the details of how the super-wealthy (the Jeff Bezos and Elon Musks of the world) and the corporations they lead use the smoke screen of ostentatious giving and demonstrations of technological advancements (like space travel, or medical technology) to distract from the realities of how they are using the courts and the Congress to weaken the labor movement, thereby compromising worker safety and quality of life, and pushing deregulation and globalization based on the self-serving and false narrative that big business is better able to solve big problems than government, justifying more and more massive profits achieved directly and indirectly at the expense of workers and consumers.

He outlines how they have done it hand in glove with the major management consultancies like McKinsey, Bain, and BCG, (link) who contribute to a narrative which sells the idea that real change can only be driven by the genius of the tech movement, disregarding the role of government as a driver of benefits for the many, not just the few. He touches on many related issues, like the evolution of executive compensation to a multiple of worker compensation and share value that has grown in the last 40 years by over 1000%, while median worker pay has not even kept up with inflation.

This book explains how stock buybacks and other market manipulations siphon money into the hands of the few that could be used to pay workers a living wage or provide better benefits, which would reduce the drain on society of providing those benefits instead.

The process of using charitable giving as a smokescreen to protect the status quo and prevent change that would threaten the disproportionate advantages that corporations and the wealthy enjoy in American society is something that needs to be examined closely, and this analysis is well-researched, and fact driven.

If you want to understand a little better how the super-rich are gaming the system and building a new class society in this country, read this book.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "the rich are different from you and me", and he said it in 1926. It’s even more true today.

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