Winners Take All

Winners Take All

The Elite Charade of Changing the World

Anand Giridharadas

Giussani observed, ideas framed as being about “poverty” are more acceptable than ideas framed as being about “inequality.” The two ideas are related. But poverty is a material fact of deprivation that does not point fingers, and inequality is something more worrying: It speaks of what some have and others lack; it flirts with the idea of injustice and wrongdoing; it is relational. “Poverty is essentially a question that you can address via charity,” he said. A person of means, seeing poverty, can write a check and reduce that poverty. “But inequality,” Giussani said, “you can’t, because inequality is not about giving back. Inequality is about how you make the money that you’re giving back in the first place.” Inequality, he said, is about the nature of the system. To fight inequality means to change the system. For a privileged person, it means to look into one’s own privilege. And, he said, “you cannot change it by yourself. You can change the system only together. With charity, essentially, if you have money, you can do a lot of things alone.”

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