“The rich that wants to repair the world are not the saviours, they are the problem “ (Anand Giridharadas)
Instead of nutrition companies donating to children, they should stop fattening them. Instead of “giving back”, corporations needs to take less from the start. Instead of complaining that the government doesn’t solve problems, the billionaires should understand that it is them that left it with less money.
In a well spoken bestseller and in a piercing interview, Anand Giridharadas attacking the system in which rich philanthropies thinks they will save us from the problem that they themselves created.
In the heart of the Colorado mountain, at a height of 7,880 ft above sea level, lies down Aspen: what use to be mining town, lies one of the most expensive addresses in America. Among houses of billionaires, a posh ski sight, one finds Aspen institute, a known research institute, that its annual festival of ideas conjoins politicians, philanthropies, academics and other elite members. On 2011 Anand Giridharadas, at the time a New York Times columnist that had already published one best seller, has found himself in Aspen’s festival.
“In theory, the aim of the program meant to help leaders and initiators learn how to make the world a better place” say Giridharadas, “…understanding that something strange is happening when the rich and the powerful assemble to talk about change”. Giridharadas is talking about hypocrisy when the talking is aiming to improve the world while at the same time, Aspen festival for ideas get sponsorship from Pepsi and Monsanto. Plus there was never a demand from aspen institute to the powerful and rich elite members that are coming to the festival to revise their own products and the basics of what they are doing.
Eventually the elite is the problem. In a conference that was taken in 2015 in Aspen, Giridharadas came back and gave a talk in front of the elite members who were assembling to improve the world. At that talk he was criticising the idea itself that head of corporations such as Facebook, amazon, google and Microsoft that were attending the meeting, had been addressed with the demand to solve big issues that concerns the majority of the population. On what basis should they deal with those issues instead of countries or the people themselves through their public institutes?
What Giridharadas referring here is to the fact that separated institutes, such as journalism, business, art, education etc. from the beginning of the modern era up to today, where and still are building their own knowledge, singularly basing their autonomy as a separate functioning unit that cant bear wimpy decisions, that resent their long history, inner complexity and tradition. This is exactly what happens, Giridharadas stresses, when the big capitalistic philanthropist trying to change the world. they proactively “change their lanes” of philanthropic activity between institutes, disregarding the refine texture of their inner logic, history, culture, or their own moral- mechanism. a professional successful sociologist (lets imagine Zygmunt Bauman) for example, wont open a chain of restaurant based on his sociological skills, the same as if a high school principle wont go manage Walt Disney based on his high school management successful experience.
Giridharadas claims that we, the people let that happen, and even invite those irresponsible, based on self centered-wealth-worth wimpy jumps from lane to lane by the elite activity to change the world for the better. we can do something to stop it. Giridharadas doesn't say that the billionaires are trying to do bad in purpose, they do aim for good by their philanthropic activities, but many times have bad ideas, and a big lobby to support those ideas, based only on their power. they use distorted rhetoric that centers the discussion on the victim instead on the criminal, moves aside the central problems — the cause for the mall situation. for example — instead of talking about the trillions of dollars that are held up in tax shelters outside America, money that could be use to change the education system and help the poor get fair education, the discussion promoted by those elite power will present themselves “helping to improve the world” by showing how they support some poor girl in Bangladesh get her basic needs using their donations. so a global problem of providing disposable children with basic needs could sounds very charming and appealing but covers the much bigger problems that could be solved if those philanthropists where to address the deeper problems their own power creates in the first place.
Giridharadas thinks that the government of the United States has problems that were created by the elite privet sector. the privet sector needs the poor intervention of the government in the privet businesses, but then complaining about the deregulation that the government are acting.
one needs to nourish the garden of democracy, the people doesn't like the government to get access to the population activities too much, and raise taxes, but that kind of approach can put a barrier to big corporations control on us and the maintaining of the failings of our systems to fight our major colossal problems.
Based on an article by Uri Pasovsky from Calcalist from 15.11.2018: