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Winners take all: the elite charade of changing the world

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by Anand Giridharadas, pps. 263, (pub. A.A. Knopf,2018)

Follow this author on Twitter – @anandwrites

More on this work by Anand Giridharadas

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What I learned from this book

The author lays some eye-opening stats on us in the Prologue. It does as much to shed light on the financial anxiety most Americans are and have been feeling for quite some time – that contribute to much of the division and fear mongering that has become an American staple for others to ‘swoop in on’ and take full advantage of.

Giridharadas references a study that discovered:

“…middle and lower class Americans (born from 1984 on) now have merely a 35% chance of achieving a comparable lifestyle to their parents (down drastically from previous generations).  He goes on to mention that the top tenth of earners income has doubled since 1980, the top 1% has tripled – and, if you’re in the top .001%, you earned 7x.”  (paraphrased from Prologue, pg. 4) 

The author tells us it is time to examine how income disparity numbers like this arose, and to take an honest look at how the crushing impact it has on the majority of us. 

The author also suggests that the general population would be foolish to (think and hope) that it can sit back and allow the super wealthy and super influential to save us all from this situation.  The reasons, as so carefully laid out in this book, are that many of the same individuals (and companies) who orchestrate, participate, fund, and preside on speaker panels are, in fact, the ones responsible for creating many of the global issues they claim to be solving.

This book is a very eye-opening exposé on what the author terms to be “a charade” that the rich and famous carefully play on the rest of us.  It shows repeated demonstrations as to how and why some very important social problems are to be addressed (as outlined by the super-rich), but fail to ever be resolved. The author informs us that this all appears to be more by design than by circumstance.  It is a harrowing thought– but one he insists is real and that we need to examine.

 What I liked about this book

Having watched Mr. Giridharadas appear on numerous television round tables, I’ve found his overall outlook and knowledge of the world catches my attention.  So, in the interest of full disclosure, I went into this book already knowing I would enjoy his style and delivery. It is one of the main reasons why I was even interested in the book in the first place. Nevertheless, what surprised me most was how he used cases of specific grievances from real-world individuals who run in the same circles of people who play this charade.  He even ‘razzed’ himself for being part of the process (as a well-compensated public speaker); putting him in a willing role within the charade itself in some ways.  He was very forthright in how easy it is to become an unwitting participant in the process due to the willingness to make a living directly from the proceeds (of the charade).

What I disliked about this book

I couldn’t find anything to dislike about this book. In fact, I will bookmark this author in my archives and make sure to flag any future works he brings forward to the reading public.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

I would recommend this book to anyone, anywhere who is curious or “feels frustrated with the system.” These are the real issues we’re dealing with and that must be addressed honestly in order to heal the problems they cause in society.  This applies not only in America, but also to many other countries around the globe.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

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*NOW!!* Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

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Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailCan Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?

-by Robert Kuttner, pub. April, 2018, pp. 309

www.robertkuttner.com

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What I learned from this book

This book is a phenomenal examination of the myriad “ingredients” combining over decades to endanger democracy as we know it.  They run the gamut, from social to cultural to, of course, political.  More importantly, as Kuttner explains in graphic detail, we must never forget the economic reasons that have consistently “stirred the pot”; both at home in the U.S. and in democracies abroad.

It was nice to see the author lay out the “global plan” that began decades ago – but now poses the gravest threat since the World War II era.  This was never something could have happened overnight.  The author drives home that if we don’t pay close attention to how and why this is happening – and demand change – there is no limit to where this could lead us as an international community.

What I liked about this book

I liked the way that the author “spread the blame fairly” in this work.  It would have been quite easy for him to pick a side and push the agenda.  However, he took a 360-degree view of the situation, applied factual evidence and real-world events, and made sure he pointed out the: who, what, when, where, why and how of it all took and continues to takes place.  I really enjoyed his reader-friendly writing style and attention to detail.

What I disliked about this book

Nothing. In fact, because of its authenticity, I am proud to say that I am of the opinion that there are no major flaws in this book.  It is right on the money and written at the perfect time.

Whom would I recommend to read this book

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn the truth as to how and why our democracy became under siege.  Like it or not, it definitely matters to us all, because no matter whether you consider yourself a globalist or a nativist, we all will live with the consequences of our choices on every level.  Hindsight, per norm, will make it easy to glance back to, or, “armchair quarterback” what we should have done better in 2018.  But the fact of the matter is those of us elected to leadership positions – who, by the way, took an oath to protect us all – seem to be the ones who are currently most comfortable with sitting back, enjoying their vacations, and just seeing where the show lets us out.  Sure, it’s an easy way to deal with it, but this may be the precise reason why our democracy ultimately fails after 240-plus years.

Any thoughts?

-A.N.

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Nuclear Showdown – by Gordon Chang (publ. 2006)

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Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailNuclear showdown: North Korea takes on the world – by Gordon G. Chang, approx. 225 pp. (publ. 2006)

 

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“Today he can hit most of the continent of Asia and even parts of the American homeland. In a few years–probably by the end of this decade–the diminutive despot will cast his shadow across the globe: He will be able to land a nuke on any point on the planet.”

Quiz: When do you think the aforementioned was said?

  1. Last week
  2. Last month
  3. Last year
  4. Several decades ago

The correct answer, believe it or not, is “D.”

It’s mind-boggling to realize that the above statement was not made describing current DPRK leader Kim Jong-Un by the present administration, but rather about his predecessor – and father – Kim Jong-Il, way back in the 1990s.  It sheds serious light on how long we have been stuck in this pattern with North Korea and its leadership.  No one in any U.S. presidential administration has been able to successfully “move the needle” at all.  The reason given has been something to the effect of “…it’s complicated.”  And, yes, it certainly is complicated.

What I liked about this book

I liked the way the author laid out the complex history of both North and South Korea and their relation to the situation we still wallow in today.  Gordon Chang clearly “did his homework” on this work – presenting all of the events that have led up to today’s standoff.

What I learned from this book

It is jaw-dropping to learn that the U.S. and Korea never formally ended the Korean War in the 1950s It has been passed around like a hot potato to each subsequent administration to “figure out” – supposedly with cooperation from border countries like China, South Korea and/or others. One thing the “historically-naïve reader” learns is that each country has differing interests in this “game.”  Unfortunately, this contributes to providing North Korea with excuses to continue to build and refine its nuclear arsenal; while creating a “ping-pong effect” of international rhetoric to its advantage.  As years turn into decades, the only outcome thus far seems to be a higher and higher probability of global nuclear annihilation.

What I disliked about this book

I disliked the fact that our leadership is still discussing the same unsuccessful tactics with the same associated countries without any real resolution.  South Korea, Japan, Russia and China have all participated in one way or another.  The entire scenario just seems wasteful, useless and irresponsible to the citizens relying on their leadership to safeguard their lives.  It gives the world an impression that leadership seems “okay” with everything continuing as is (even though we know they are not, but rather mostly puzzled as much as we are) The optics persist and continue to look really bad.

 

To whom would I recommend this book

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who lives – or plans to live – in the following place(s): any location on planet earth!

Your thoughts?

-A.N.

 

 

 

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