Giving Compass’ Take:
• In this article from Wired, Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, highlights Anand Giridharadas as someone who is trying to institute real change by emphasizing democracy’s strengths.
• One of Giridharadas’ arguments is that elite philanthropy isn’t working: Rather than trying to give back, we should think about giving up more. Are we willing to take that important step?
We should all look through Anand Giridharadas’ eyes. For years, Anand has been observing and writing about change. He rejoices in the dynamism and prosperity that have come with technological change and a global economy, but he also sees the many people left behind. In his most recent book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, Anand trains his focus on elite do-gooders. He offers a tough appraisal, and many people in Silicon Valley and San Francisco tech circles aren’t going to like it. Anand’s vision for fixing the world relies not on the generosity of the rich but on democratic governance. It is a vision that is desperately needed. “Are we ready to hand over our future to the elite, one supposedly world-changing initiative at a time?” he asks. “Or is meaningful democracy, in which we all potentially have a voice, worth fighting for?”
These questions are dear to my heart. In the U.S., philanthropy directed toward safety net programs — food, housing, health — amounted to $50 billion in 2017. That seems like a lot. But the federal government spends nearly half a trillion dollars on the social safety net — almost 10 times that amount. And that’s not even counting Medicaid. We need government, and we need it to function well. More important, perhaps, is that government is accountable to the public; companies are not. Anand reminds us that we live in a democracy, but that it is up to all of us to put money and effort into making our government work for everyone.
Read the full article about why we need less elite philanthropy by Jennifer Pahlka at wired.com.
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