Winner takes all’ – Charade of Philanthropy by Anand Giridharadas
Yes, its Valentine’s Day and I love how the author, Giridharadas eloquently challenges the ‘new religion’ that plutocrats (super-rich entrepreneurs) are the only ones who can change the world for the ‘better’, not democracy through elected, accountable governments. Such individuals “ are like the arsonists who turn up to put out the fire they started” They start by discrediting government as incompetent having starved them of tax funds so the public becomes convinced government are made up of pointless bureaucrats. Super rich Entrepreneurs then ride in like the cavalry to save the day with public already gaslighted to see them as the superhero’s and elected officials as the villains.
Tax haven counties like the Netherlands are exporting oligarchic systems to ensure all countries go in the wrong direction of making government as small as possible creating laws with no fangs such as addressing gender and ethnicity pay gap which are seen as minority rather than family and class issues. Demands for equality are re-framed in political terms as ‘left’ and ‘right’ rather than ‘top and bottom’ so as to discredit such demands as being of undesirable political persuasion.
Smaller entrepreneurs start to emulate the same behaviours as the oligarchs at a local level and hence the gaslighting seeps into the fabric of local communities quelling the rise of any serious leadership challenges amongst the marginalised and under-represented groups. For this reason it was fascinating to read the research on charities, their homogeneous (white middle-class) workers and volunteers and funding is concentrated in affluent areas and not where there are need most, namely deprived areas of the country and cities across the UK.https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/jan/17/charity-gap-highlights-need-to-rebuilt-society-says-thinktank?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
This system has set up the ‘rich man’s veto’ against laws to ensure they keep money extracted by the labour of the majority that should be used to fund social problems they created in the first place. They are the architects of recent scandals like the growth of food banks (a failure of government but lauded as philanthropy doing good); #Grenfell fire and #Wiindrush sagas #ClinicalNegligence cases in the #NHS and millions spent on fighting legitimate #Whistleblowers where minority voices are missing from public policy and public discourse due to bias in the media run by homogeneous groups aligned to systems of power. The lack of diversity amongst the decision makers who design our public policies, legislation and professions who help to enact these policies whether at national or organisational level ensure such policies are enacted in ways that ensure they will have little measurable impact on lived experiences of minority groups they have no proximity and empathy with. The inter-relationship between proximity, policy and empathy is missing from the equation to effect improved working lives and notions of ‘good work’. Until we have legislation to demand equality impact assessments are carried out we perpetrate the cycle of avoiding accountability and transparency in decision making and public policy enactment.
They prefer philanthropy over taxes because this gives them both credit and control. This helps enhance their reputations and clean up what they did that was bad like hurting the climate, causing the financial crisis, paying people at low levels and employing them insecurely. If they were to pay their taxes anonymously they don’t get personal credit with the photo shoot at Award Ceremonies or control over how the money is spent i.e. boring but necessary things like NI, adoption, fostering, fire services, employment rights, access to justice, roads, schools, childcare, elder care homes, hospitals etc. Instead they can invest in their pet projects like their favourite art gallery, opera house or food banks. Serious thinkers who challenge this system get invited in small numbers to these elite spaces as a pseudo attempt to add spice. They are invited to gently challenge in conversations at elite round table discussions in order to seduce them to water down their objections to a gamed system that relies on whom you know than what you know (the fallacy of meritocracy). These minority voices fall for it because they start to think if I water down demands for income and power redistribution, become grateful and congenial at a personal level I will get invited back and this converted patronage by those in power will not be withdrawn and replaced by the next dissenter waiting in the wings.
When sitting at the devil’s table or lying with dogs you risk eventually getting fleas so must remain super vigilant to ‘snakes in suits’. The seduction process seeks to get you to take your eye of public policy and how it is being engineered to privilege the few with selected few from the masses to act as its mouthpieces in return for a few crumbs from the table while the ‘Winner takes all’ literally. So it is useful to be reminded of of the wisdom of Plato “The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men”.
Youtube link to interview with Anand : https://youtu.be/qcHlNKLQBIM
Safia Boot – Founder Respect at Work Limited
Date: Friday 14 February 2020
© Respect at Work Ltd
#Inequality #SocialJustice #gaslighting #democracy #Oligarchies #EmploymentLaw #Poverty #InstitutionalRacism #EthnicityPayGap #GenderPayGap #AccessToJustice #GenderEquality #Davos #FinancialCrisis #Hubris #Tax #TaxHavens #OffShore #Banking #WhitePrivilege #Class