Loopholes and “Merchants of Fake Change”

Today’s Thought:  Anand Giriharadas, author of  the forthcoming Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, has received recent coverage in The New Yorker and The New York Times.  Here is a quote from Giriharadas’ book which brings forward a nuance to remember when we think that philanthropy alone is an answer to a social problem:  “Fake change isn’t evil; it’s milquetoast.  It is change the powerful can tolerate. It’s the shoes or socks or tote bag you brought which promised to change the world.  It’s that one awesome charter school — not equally funded public schools for all.  It is Lean In Circles to empower women — not universal pre-school.  It is impact investing — not the closing of the carried-interest loophole.”   My belief about this quote from the opinion page of The New York Times on August 26th is that we need both strategic and compassionate private sector philanthropy, and we need holistic public policy that isn’t a reaction to what has already happened, but anticipation of what’s going to happen in the next five and ten years and beyond.  This is quite a battle, requiring that we the people speak up again and again.

Background about The Postcard Storm: People participating in The Postcard Storm with Friends for Civil Action have a variety of religious and secular viewpoints and political outlooks, but share a common desire for an inclusive, kind world.  As a political moderate, I personally am interested in political policies that focus on outcomes.  The Friends for Civil Action movement looks at ten outcomes we should all want: a habitable planet, good healthcare, quality public education, public safety, economic well-being, freedom, enrichment of experience, problem-solving capacity, hospitality, and kind behavior.  Because these outcomes are largely interdependent, reducing tactical options to either/or actions will rarely effectively address the complicated matters at hand; yet, that seems to be how options continually get framed.  The likelihood of the political arena beginning to function at a high enough level to meet all the facilitation needs government faces in these highly chaotic times seems slim to me.  A partial promise lies in speaking up for what we believe is right. Governing is complicated, and the voices of we, the people, are needed.

For people and groups interested in learning more about The Postcard Storm, ten outcomes we should all want, copies of a short book describing the collective actions of Friends for Civil Action is available online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Onward we go in pursuit of kindness, purpose, and hope.  Molly Sharpe

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