Giving Compass’ Take:
• Will Snell argues that philanthropists have benefitted from wealth inequality and must invest in economic justice to undo the systems that allowed them to accrue wealth.
• How has wealth inequality benefitted you/your organization? What are long-term solutions to wealth inequality?
• Learn about defeating wealth inequality.
We live in an age that loves the solution. But a lot of problems are problems of justice rather than problems of tinkering with an engine. And when you have a problem of justice, you can’t just move forward. You have to evaluate the whodunit.
So says the author and journalist Anand Giridharadas in his recently published book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.
Many members of this elite recognize that the world has problems, but where they try to fix them, they do so in ‘safe’ ways that do not challenge the rules of the system: for example, by supporting entrepreneurship and social impact investing. Worse still, they support ‘safe’ initiatives while fighting the efforts of governments to address the real structural issues, because this would undermine their status, challenge their legitimacy and hurt their bank balances.
At the Tax Justice Network, we strongly support the view that those people with wealth need to recognize that the global economic system that enabled them to become wealthy is deeply flawed and needs to be reformed if we are to have any hope of reversing inequality. And it’s not just about saving the economy – it’s also about saving democracy. Rocketing inequality is fuelling discontent around the world, as the principles and institutions of democracy and global cooperation are undermined and attacked by nationalist demagogues. The social compact that has shored up public support for open, democratic regimes has been weakened by the increasing dominance of a strain of market fundamentalism that has restricted the benefits of economic growth to the very top of society, without sharing it with everyone else.
So, whether you work in finance or have become wealthy by other means, or if you work for a foundation that is interested in progressive change: if you want to change the world for the better, don’t just do what’s comfortable. Support genuine, global reform in pursuit of economic justice. Be the change; don’t indulge in ‘fake change’.
Read the full article about economic justice by Will Snell at Tax Justice Network.
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