Anand Giridharadas: Are Elites Really Making the World a Better Place?

In “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World,” Anand Giridharadas compels us to take a deeper look at elite leaders, their institutions, and their initiatives to make the world a better place. “In the very era in which elites have done so much to help, they have continued to hoard the overwhelming share of progress, the average American’s life has scarcely improved, and virtually all of the nation’s institutions, with the exception of the military, have lost the public’s trust.”

Today’s elites are some of the more socially concerned individuals in history. Yet, according to Giridharadas, while their philanthropic missions may attempt to reform the root causes of unjust systems, many elite initiatives serve only to maintain the very power structures they claim they want to fix. So, who really benefits? To what extent are the elite working to create real progress and systemic change for people and communities?

Anand Giridharadas was a foreign correspondent and columnist for the The New York Times and currently teaches journalism at New York University. He joins us for an in-depth discussion on elite leaders, how their philanthropic efforts preserve the unjust status quo, and how communities might work together to create a more participatory democracy.

 

We have 74 billionaires in San Francisco and 74,000 homeless.

Philanthropy:

  • changes the public conversations
  • how many newspapers have a philanthropy correspondent?

Ask not what you can do for you country, first ask what you’ve done to your country and stop doing what you’ve done.  Let’s stop the bleeding.  (43:20)

Bezos made his money because workers didn’t have bargaining power in the time in which the internet rose.

Jeff Bezos should give money away in a way that can make sure there isn’t another Jeff Bezos.

Google’s maturity will have them accept that they are power, not fighting the power.

There is nothing more dangerous than a Goliath who thinks he’s  a David.  (Google didn’t want to release it).

Lebron James is making small change to a school (a band-aid), and using it as a cudgel against the cancer.

inviting documentary film makers to compare it with a “regular school”

Tech Luminary Peter Thiel Parts Ways With Silicon Valley

Billionaire investor frustrated with what he sees as intolerance of conservatism in tech industry; has discussed resigning from Facebook board

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel is relocating his home and personal investment firms to Los Angeles from San Francisco and scaling back his involvement in the tech industry, people familiar with his thinking said, marking a rupture between Silicon Valley and its most prominent conservative.

.. Thiel has grown more disaffected by what he sees as the intolerant, left-leaning politics of the San Francisco Bay Area, and increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for tech businesses amid greater risk of regulation

.. Mr. Thiel has long stood out in Silicon Valley for his vocal libertarianism, but he drew heavy criticism from many tech-industry peers—including fellow Facebook board member Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix Inc.—when he backed Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and later served as an adviser on his White House transition team.

Mr. Thiel has recently said tech culture has become increasingly intolerant of conservative political views since Mr. Trump’s election, an attitude he has said is intellectually and politically fraught.

Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” Mr. Thiel said last month at a debate about tech and politics at Stanford University. “That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you’re all in one side.”

.. Mr. Thiel has bucked Silicon Valley conventions since his days as a Stanford University student in the 1980s, when he helped start a student newspaper to promote conservative views.

.. He also has backed more unusual initiatives such as an institute that advocates creating ocean-based cities outside the reach of governments.

.. Mr. Thiel also has been an emissary for Facebook to its large population of right-leaning users. In May 2016, after media reports that curators of Facebook’s “trending topics” feature suppressed news about conservative events and from conservative sources, he helped Facebook convene a closed-door meeting to smooth things over with a group of prominent conservatives.

.. Mr. Zuckerberg publicly deflected the criticism of Mr. Thiel, saying in March 2017 that demands for his removal were “crazy” and that “ideological diversity” had become a necessary component of diversity in the workplace and boardroom.

.. Mr. Thiel sees an opportunity to build a right-leaning media outlet to foster discussion and community around conservative topics, the person said.

Another year of American hilarity

Washington’s subway banned a civil liberties group’s ad consisting entirely of the text of the First Amendment, which ostensibly violated the rule against ads “intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions.”

.. United Airlines said: Assault? Don’t be misled by your eyes. That passenger dragged off the plane was just being “re-accommodated.”

.. The councilwoman who made the motion for protecting illegal immigrants said: “Our city depends on a Hispanic population to support our comfortable lifestyle.”

.. In more-progressive-than-thou Oregon, where you can get state-subsidized gender reassignment surgery at age 15 without parental permission, the legislature made 21 the age at which adults can buy cigarettes.

.. Although San Francisco’s hourly minimum wage has not yet reached its destination of $15, the city is surprised that so many small businesses have closed. McDonald’s probably was not surprised when its shares surged after it announced plans to replace cashiers with digital ordering kiosks in 2,500 restaurants.

Oliver Sipple: Thwarted Ford Assassination, Outed as Gay

One morning, Oliver Sipple went out for a walk. A couple hours later, to his own surprise, he saved the life of the President of the United States. But in the days that followed, Sipple’s split-second act of heroism turned into a rationale for making his personal life into political opportunity. What happens next makes us wonder what a moment, or a movement, or a whole society can demand of one person. And how much is too much?

Through newly unearthed archival tape, we hear Sipple himself grapple with some of the most vexing topics of his day and ours – privacy, identity, the freedom of the press – not to mention the bonds of family and friendship.

The Best $100,000+ Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Concentrated in Just 8 Cities

High prices aren’t enough to stop the momentum of the leading tech cities

In theory, the high-wage jobs of the technology industry could be filled by people working anywhere. But in practice, the best tech jobs in the U.S., offering salaries in excess of $100,000 a year, are becoming increasingly concentrated in the metropolitan areas of just eight cities, according to new research.

The eight leading U.S. tech hubs account for slightly less than 10% of U.S. jobs and about 13% of overall job postings. But the cities —

  1. Seattle,
  2. San Francisco,
  3. San Jose,
  4. Austin,
  5. Raleigh,
  6. Washington,
  7. Baltimore and
  8. Boston

— account for more than 27% of the listings for U.S. tech jobs

.. The finding is surprising in part because the cities are some of the most expensive in the country — for both employees and employers. Of the eight, only Raleigh, N.C., has seen home prices rise at a pace comparable to the national average. The other seven cities have grown dramatically more expensive in recent decades.

Silicon Valley is Driving American Media, Not New York

Yes, sportswriting has moved far left. The entire media has moved far left. The media used to cater to New York, the hub for traditional liberal values. Journalists used to be obsessed with working at a New York magazine or newspaper or TV network. Now the entire industry is obsessed with going viral and how words will be received via social media. Who determines this? San Francisco/Silicon Valley, the hub for revolutionary, far-left extremism, the home base for Twitter and Facebook. Twitter and Facebook’s employee base is from the area. New York and San Francisco are distinctly different. San Francisco is driving the American media, not New York. You have young, microwaved millionaires and billionaires reshaping the American media in a way that reflects San Francisco values. This is a major story the mainstream media ignore. San Francisco hacked the media. Frisco-inspired clickbait is the real fake news.

.. Whitlock puts his finger on why today’s conservative complaint about a liberal media is different from that of ten years ago or twenty years ago. The old New York establishment Left, shaped heavily by Watergate — Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Anthony Lewis, Woodward & Bernstein — could drive the right batty but it was all driven by a noblesse oblige: a self-awareness of the power of their positions and a duty to correct the world’s injustices through exposure.

.. The old journalism saying, “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” implied punching up; the more powerful you were, the more you needed scrutiny.

For Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, My Lai, all that the press needed to do was expose the wrongdoing and the public would instinctively recoil and dole out appropriate consequences.

Today’s social-media outrage-mob-driven click-bait journalism is much more about punching down, finding someone who has deviated from the range of acceptable thought and ostracizing them and enforcing the tenets of a shame culture.

It’s less about exposing the sins of the powerful than exposing the sins of the near-powerless, whether it’s those gorillas-in-the-mist reports from Red State America or gleeful exposé about the hypocrisies of religious conservatives.

The hypocrisy of a self-proclaimed environmentalist who enjoys a private jet with a massive carbon footprint never quite stirs the hearts of the media as much as a preacher’s affair.

.. No wonder their dominant attitude towards immigration, legal and illegal, is so welcoming, if they feel such contempt for the Americans who are already here.

.. most of those in journalism are driven by the impassioned belief that Republican lawmakers represent the preeminent threat to all that is good in America

.. our media today is driven primarily an ostentatious, smug progressivism

.. Of course, a good portion of what Silicon Valley develops runs on our now-ubiquitous smartphones, built by Chinese workers on 12-hour shifts that few Americans would ever tolerate for themselves. Silicon Valley’s super-elites may not be as different from those old, exploitative plutocrats as they like to think.

.. One can’t help but wonder if there is some repressed guilt coming out in the form of demonization of others:

“Silicon Valley has stopped being the place where people who can’t get jobs elsewhere go. Now it’s like the first stop on the privileged elite bus from the Ivy League—and do not even stop by Wall Street on the way,” Mr. Garcia Martinez said.

.. at least some of California’s wealthy progressives find solace in the thought that if flyover country is comparably poorer and struggling to get by, it must be because they’re morally worse people – “deplorable,”