Sun, 27 December 2020
With record unemployment, increasing income inequality and soaring poverty, it’s hard to escape the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, but there is one group of people that have fared well. The world’s billionaires are 27% richer than they were last year. As of July, their wealth has soared to a record high of $10.2 trillion. In the absence of a strong social safety net -- these are the people our society turns to for help. But is this philanthropy model working? For his 2018 book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, Anand Giridharadas spent three years embedded with the donor class. He found that many of the same people who are trying to save the planet, are actually responsible for making it worse, but he’s hopeful that our society is poised to turn a corner after 2020. “And so I think about this year as being obviously just one of unendurable pain for so many people, of a tremendous amount of loss. You know, we're getting to the level of one in a thousand Americans no longer being with us at the end of this year because of COVID alone. And yet also I think there is a way in which we're going to look back on this moment as generating not 2020 hindsight, but 2020 foresight where we might look back on this year as the year that freed us of certain illusions and, and compelled us to, to choose a different way. And what I hope is we're going to come out of this time exuberant, joyful, ready to celebrate, ready to enjoy physical space together again, but also politically galvanized to build the next chapter of the American story, because this one, this story is done.This chapter is bankrupted itself. We have learned very clearly from this year. And from these years that we have not been living, right. We just have not been living right. Our society was designed wrong and the immense pain and the immense loss of this year only confirms that. And so my hope is that we come out of this with an appetite, well, to enjoy, to celebrate, to live again fully but also to transform this country.”
Anand Giridharadas, Author and publisher of The.Ink
Markos Kounalakis, Visiting fellow, Hoover Institution
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