Sunday, April 12, 2015

Anand Giridhardas on the 1%

After a recent Ted Talk by Giridhardas, Adam Lashinsky talks to him and reports in this article in Fortune. An excerpt:
"First, he wanted to stress that he doesn’t view the way he posed his challenge as being about the vaunted 99% versus the 1%. The people who fit his description are “probably 20% to 30% of Americans,” he said. “This would include a secretary at GlaxoSmithKline, for example. If you’re a small business owner making $200,000 a year, America is working for you.”
Giridharadas is particularly focused on those who view their success and helping those in need as two completely separate topics. “The thing I was trying to get people to think about is how they invest their lives and their day jobs in addressing these issues. The dominant paradigm in this crowd,” he said, motioning to the scrum of overachievers walking around us at TED, “is business as usual in your day job: Sell them hamburgers and soft drinks, trade stocks, and take a small bit of that money and rescue abused amputee war refugees in Sierra Leone who have Ebola. Because of the sheer enormity of the issues, that covers up that what you do for a living adds to people’s suffering."
This reminds of a conversation with a relative in USA about ten years ago. Many people of Indian origin I know who live in Australia, USA are successful and invest a lot in their children who are also generally successful. But I was worried by a trend; many of them were going to studies like law (since they heard of possibilities in IP rights or investment bankin (one father boasted to me that his son was probably the highest paid indian in the southern hemisphere), or companies like Halliburton. Another explained that his daughter was working very hard to save money for a mining company in a eight hundred million dollar litigation. And so on. The relative did not see any problem and said "A job is a job". Anyway, Anand Giridhardas seemed to be touching on such issues and it seems to me that it is not just the one percent but larger percentage which help hold the structure together. There are also some similar hints from Gabriel Palma's work, for example Palma Ratio.
P.S. But Connor Kilpatrick at Jacobin does not like it.

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