Why the great disruptive project needs thought leaders, from Winner Takes All by Anand Giridharadas pg 94:
The Hilary Cohens and Stacey Ashers and Justin Rosensteins and Greg Ferensteins and Emmett Carsons and Jane Leibrocks and Shervin Pishevars and Chris Saccas and Travis Kalanicks of the world needed thinkers to formulate the visions of change by which they would live—and to convince the wider public that they, the elite, were change agents, were the solutions to the problem, and therefore not the problem. In an age of inequality, these winners longed to feel, on one hand, that they had “some kind of ethical philosophy,” as Pishevar put it. They needed language to justify themselves to themselves and others. They needed the idea of change itself to be redefined to emphasize “rolling with the waves, instead of trying to stop the ocean.” The thought leaders gave these winners what they needed.
As Anand Giridharadas points out on pg 86 of his Winners Take All, the eight billionaires who can account for half the world’s wealth all owe their income to technology, albeit to varying degrees:
Six of those eight made their money in the supposedly equalizing field of technology: Gates, Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Carlos Slim of Telmex and other Mexican businesses, and Michael Bloomberg, the purveyor of computer terminals. Another, Amancio Ortega, who built the retailer Zara, was famous for applying advanced technology to manufacturing and for automating his factories. The final member of the gang of eight, Warren Buffett, was a major shareholder in Apple and IBM.
From Common Wealth, by Jeffrey Sachs, pg 327-328. Quoted in Jefffey Sachs, by Japhey Wilson, loc 1457:
There are now around 950 billionaires in the world, with an estimated combined wealth of $3.5 trillion. That’s an amazing $900 billion in just one year. Even after all the yachts, mansions, and luxury living that money can buy have been funded many times over, these billionaires will still have nearly $3.5 trillion to change the world … All in all, it’s not a bad job for men and women who have already transcended the daily economic struggle faced by the rest of humanity!113
Who are the world’s 950 billionaires? How do they see the world and their place within it? How do they conceive of their own interests? How are they raising their children and how might this in turn shape their children’s answers to these questions?