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October 27, 2018
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The Elite Charade of Changing the World

Ralph welcomes journalist and author, Anand Giridharadas to talk about his book, “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” which argues that rich “do-gooders” don’t really want to change the system that made them rich.

Anand Giridharadas is a writer and an on-air political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, as well as being a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University  He is a former columnist and correspondent for The New York Times, having written, most recently, the biweekly Letter from America.” His latest book is entitled, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.

“I believe that the elite do-gooding in which they engage is actually part and parcel of how we uphold the systems and structures and sets of social arrangements that have caused working people and middle class people to be shut out of the American Dream for a generation. In other words, I believe the giving they do is the wingman of the continued taking. And that the ‘changing the world’ that they do is the wingman of keeping their own status quo the same. And that the generosity they do is the wingman of the injustice that they have no interest – deep down – in relinquishing.” Anand Giridharadas, author of “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World”


  1. bruce k. says:

    “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World” by Anand Girdharadas is an excellent book, I gave it 5/5 on Amazon. The charade of the good deeds done by this class of people are far overshadowed by the damage they do, but they control the discussion still, so far, and it looks as if that will continue and maybe even get worse.

    Another book that is very good, and from a unique perspective that is much like this one is “Capital without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent” by Brooke Harrington who talks about how the very rich do not have to pay attentions to laws or pay taxes.

    Americans used to happily delude ourselves that we all ( the white middle class anyway ) were the Empire and did not seem to care much about the indigenous peoples of the world being exploited by us, but now that system is expanding back into our own country putting us all in the role of being like Indians/Native Americans and I hope are realizing their error and that it is not so much fun not being treated like human beings in one’s own country. By corrupting other countries and doing business with them, we got the same spiel, that is was good for them and would bring them democracy, but we see the exact opposite happening in the world, the corruption and venality of these hugely rich corrupt dictators is having more influence on America than American ever had on them, witness the latest Saudi Arabian atrocities.

    My problem with this approach is that all these books … and new ones come out every week No one, but especially working people, can keep up with all these books, authors or the deluge of facts and ideas that come out. I believe the bottom line is that Democrats/Liberals/Progressives actions and strategies do not work, they do not scale and they do not get to the masses of people who really need to hear it, and even if they did the information is not in form that can be used or motivate action.

  2. Kenneth Paderewski says:

    PLEASE stop talking about the American Dream.

    That dream had never existed. And each heartfelt effort from the left is diminished when the term American Dream is used.

    Never mind that, some would even go so far as to say the US isn’t a “country” at all; merely an “idea” that is not working out – except for the rich in power.

    America hasn’t even STARTED yet!

    Already in Germany and elsewhere in Europe the Green Party has begun to form a new mainstream center in politics gaining parliamentary seats, a natural outcome of a concerned citizenry in a political eco system where over time Angelika Merkel brought the CDU party left to center.

    Unlike in America where Bill Clinton had selfishly brought the Democrats to the right seeking Wall Street money; the actual Right falling off spectrum as Noam Chomsky has reportedly said.

    America would need to engineer an off-frame restoration in Congress, that is to say, gut the building of the infamous 535; then install a parliament to get a genuine “We the People” experience. Enjoy the use of the referendum, a nice tool to have in the democracy toolbox.

    Short of the fundamental system gutting of old Washington and a dead serious hands-on conversion to a modern Washington Parliament, “We the PEOPLE” only hear talk of Hope.

    Hope that it all turns out well in the end.

    In boot camp at Parris Island the first thing recruits learn is that “Hope is not a strategy”.

    Act quickly folks, America is like the Titanic sinking. Hope doesn’t help democracy; it’s not a tool that does any good.

    By the way, go out and vote in the current system; the oligarchy is watching you and it expects you to participate in the US ballot box ruse.

    It’s only when – out of enlightenment coast to coast – nobody went to the ballot box that oligarchs would scream “It’s the epiphany! They’re finally on to us! They’re no longer buying into the propaganda of change at the ballot box!

    Parliament takes over! America and the world breathe a sigh of relief!

    • bruce k. says:

      I agree with a lot of what you say, and the tone in which you say it. As long as the “ruling class” have enough power, technology and enough buy in at the top levels to manipulate the uninformed into voting for people like Trump … or even “W” for that matter ( but then there is also the fact that they own the opposition party as well and seem to be able to program them to self-destruct on command ) there is little chance for a raising of consciousness of the American people. That’s why I wrote above about the whole thing about all these books that come out on every issue from the “Left”. They do not help to build any consensus, and even if they did they do not make it to enough people to create a movement. One thing is that the Left refuses to, or at least appears to refuse to prioritize and focus. Certainly “Citizens United”, health care, and taxes seem like a great place to start, but we do not even take the time to explain to citizens how taxes work, and most don’t care because it is programmed into the system that they get no way to benefit, and do not know all the benefits the rich get.

      As soon as there is some indication of a threat to the established political system, that system’s defenses fire up and use all the tried and true tested means to put down any rebellion or even the beginnings of such.

  3. Marc Hudgens says:

    Indeed America is not #1 in the world, and by several key indicators. Among developed countries, and sometimes including developing nations, we are either dead last or very near it when it comes to:

    Healthcare (both cost and quality)
    Prescription medication affordability
    Income equality
    Elections quality (US ranked worst among all Western democracies according to Electoral Integrity Project)
    Public Education
    College affordability
    Childcare programs
    Family Leave
    Low childhood poverty
    Social mobility
    Voter turnout
    Quality of life
    Low household debt
    Employment rates
    Worker rights/protections, including union membership levels
    Low murder rates
    Gun (& ammo) control laws.
    Renunciation costs (more that 20x the avg cost in other wealthy nations)

    However we seem to be very good at:
    Obscenely high military spending & presence
    Mass incarceration (something like 5% of the world’s population but housing 25% of its inmates)
    3rd most attractive tax haven in world

    And we love to strut around the globe preaching we’re a democracy. Nope. Never been one, never will be one. If there’s one thing the Founding Fathers intended on keeping at bay, it’s a true democracy. Unless we’re talking about the caveat of democracy for the rich of course.

  4. The Commission on Restoring the American Dream has wings and it might work as well without biliousnares.
    First thngs first, structural reforms to the election system and the upgrade to proportional representation would have to happen first.

  5. Hank Henry Himmler says:

    The thing about Dreams is that you have to be asleep to have them.

  6. Dale West says:

    “The emperor has no cloths” is the era that we live in. Corporate emperors, celebrity emperors & political emperors fill our world with non stop fallacies & spin. We should take this children’s fable to heart as adults and learn to be critical thinkers again.

  7. Hugo Brown says:

    I am reminded about what Philip Knight and Nike Corporation are doing to universities. They try to give the impression that they are helping a university in Oregon with funding and marketing. However, in reality they are using the university to further their own business and philosophical aims. Knight, the co-founder of Nike, at one point was paying the president of the University of Oregon a bonus and contributing to the president’s personal charity.

    The Nation just interviewed the author of the book “University of Nike: How Corporate Cash Bought American Higher Education “:

    Supposedly the author may have made a few mistakes. However, regardless it is worth a read. I even think your show should cover this topic. It is a very important topic and one of the reasons why higher-education is becoming less affordable.

  8. joe peeer says:


  9. C. French says:

    Hi, love your show. Would love to see you do a show on Bill Gates and his mission to force vaccinate around the world, altered mosquitos, investments with Monsanto and big Pharma. How many people have been harmed/paralyzed by the polio vaccine for instance. How he has partnered with charitable organizations to make it seem more legitimate and get more people behind him.
    I have been researching vaccines for awhile now and am shocked at the propaganda that pushes it on society. People do not question the efficacy yet alone the lack of proper unbiased testing, the throngs of people injured or killed and how Pharma keeps doing a smoke and mirrors game while it lies. How they spend so much to keep all actual science quiet and pays people to look the other way. How the cdc hold actual patents to vaccines. How you can never sue Pharma for any vaccine harm. I would love you look into this and not just blindly swallow the rhetoric that is being fed to all of us. There are rights being stripped and people being disabled and killed so that Pharma can make trillions. Please please bring your investigative and unbiased mind to this subject. When you recently mentioned the US mortality rate you might want to compare the amount of vaccines and how that affects infant mortality around the world. There are a growing number of healthcare works afraid to speak out about vaccines. There are many banning together to refuse to have them. There are states denying schooling and even taking away children for not vaccinating. How can any democracy force a medical procedure on any one yet alone a product by private companies that benefits greatly, that has harmed and killed so many and has little proof of efficacy and is allowed to self regulate? Generations since vaccinations have become common are the sickest ever. You might also look at the history of vaccines, what they are made of. The aluminum, mercury (rebranded as thimerosal) dyes, formaldehyde and various other rather toxic ingredients. Check out the actual amount of mercury versus the fda recommended amounts. Look at the difference between these toxins injected versus consumed. Look at court cases where Pharma testing is exposed as a sham. There is so much there if you want to find it. Most people just go on faith until they are harmed because they believe all the advertising and propaganda and their doctors who are fed the same lies and are not well versed on vaccines to begin with. I sure hope you take this us. Surprised you haven’t yet. Thank you cf