Anand Giridharadas: "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World" | Talks at Google
Thank. You for having me. Look. We all recognize, the awkwardness, of. Me. Talking, about the elite charade, of changing, the world. At. Google, so. Let's just name. That upfront and. Be aware of that and be aware of our feelings complicated. Feelings, we, may have this gonna be like therapy I. Want. To start by. Laying. Out. Some, of some. Kind of, propositions. To you and I say, this in a spirit, of. Sharing. With you some of what I've. Found. As I've spent the last three years thinking, about what happens when the winners of our age. Move. With great sincerity to, try to solve some of our biggest, societal. Problems, but, also in my view end up, having an effect that they. Don't sometimes understand, which is changing. How we think about change and redefining, change, in ways. That. Makes it friendly to winners and makes. It hard to make real, change. I'm. Gonna advance some of these propositions and, then I'd really love to have a dialogue. With you because we are here in, the, belly of the beast the. First proposition is that we live in an age of extraordinary. Generosity, by. Any measure some of you may just have seen the, Bezos announcement. A couple. Hours ago, which. Only is the latest, installment. In, very. Wealthy, people who've done very well, many. Of them in the technology, realm, deciding. They want to give back deciding, they want to make a difference there's a hundred and eighty-four people have signed The Giving Pledge I think. American. Philanthropy, is now four hundred and ten billion dollars a year being, given away which, is starting to approach the level of non-military, discretionary. Spending. By the federal government. Every. Young person, and that, includes, many of you but, you got any campus, like every young person wants to change the world. Talks about making, a difference in millions of lives. Starting. A social enterprise people, tell you they've just come back from Africa where they started some. Organization, to recycle, poop into coffee or you know there's all these kinds of efforts everywhere. You look, of elites. Using their skills and talents to try to, respond, to an age of extreme inequality in the United States an age of extreme anger and do something. But. The second proposition is that we also cannot, deny that we live in an age of extraordinary. Cruelty. In the United States that. This is as unequal, as our society has been in a hundred years it's. As. Tough. A time to achieve the American dream of building a better life than your parents, as. We've, had in a hundred years, when. You look at. Economic. Growth over the last 30 or 40 years almost, all the benefits of the of growth have bypassed, the. Bottom half of Americans, about a hundred and seventeen million Americans, saw, their average income go up from sixteen thousand dollars to, sixteen thousand, two, hundred dollars in the age of Google and, the. Genetics revolution, and the, rise of India and China and automation and, everything. Else Tom Friedman writes about. All. Of that, amazing. Stuff the progress that you probably see around you every day in 50 different forms. Somehow. Miraculously. Bypassed, the. Bottom line of half, of our country. It. Actually takes a lot of Engineering. To. Achieve that outcome that is not a natural, outcome. And so. What I became very interested, is the question of how do we explain, the, extraordinary. Elite helping, of our time and the extraordinary, elite, hoarding. Of. Our time how do we understand, the two of those things together what is the relationship, between all, these elites making a difference, and all. These elites building, a winner-take-all, economy that, only generally, works for them and. One. Possible, answer is that. The, elite, helpfulness. Is, is. Trying. As hard as it can doing the most it can working as hard as it can, disrupting. Things and creating, things but, it's just not fast enough it's. Just a drop in the bucket that's one possibility, and I think that's probably the conventional, wisdom that's. Out there yeah, we live in a very unequal time but people are helping that there the. Ambulance is on the way. What. I want to argue is a more awkward. Proposition. In this space which is, I've. Come to believe and be persuaded. That a lot, of the elite helpfulness, in our, time is part, of how we maintain, the.
Hoarding. We. Do giving in ways that protect the. Opportunity, to keep taking. We. Make, a difference, in ways that protect, the, continued, opportunity, to make a killing, and. We. Seek. To change the world in ways. Carefully, chosen to, not change our world. When. You look at the ways in which the. Winners of our age give. Back help out make a difference. They. Are often designed. To. Protect the system above all that, the winners stand. On top of and. So I want to explore. What. I think of as the ideology. Behind, a, lot, of elite change making it's an ideology that will be familiar to you it's a it's an idea ideology. That has a lot of resonance in Silicon Valley. It's. Also an idea that you'll hear in Wall. Street, foundations. And. An idea you can actually hear, every, time you go to the shopping mall and. Someone. You know pitches you a red iPhone case that's gonna change the world or a tote bag that's, gonna change the world or, coffee that's, gonna change the world what's, the ideology. Something. That you. Probably have heard five times in the last week the, word win-win. How. Many of you have heard that term in the last week would, you say, how. Many of you have used that term, recently. And. What's your general impression win/win good, or bad. Good. Right posit it's got it's not just one victory, it's. Two. Right. Double. The pleasure double the fun. What. I want to suggest today, is that when win is a more sinister, and, dangerous. Ideology. Than, we, recognize, and, I know that's a little, mind-bending. Particularly. An institution, like this that has, created, some genuine, win wins for the world. But. Here's the problem, with a lot of. What. Happens when the win-win that comes our way of thinking not, about business but. About social change. When. Wind starts to mean that the only kind, of social, change that, is acceptable. With. A kind that should get the most funding, and the most attention is the kind of social change that kicks something up to the powerful. The. Only kinds of social change that are good or the kind that don't cause, problems don't. Ruffle feathers don't blame anybody don't accuse, anybody don't, have perpetrators. Just, solves. A problem in a way that is a win for the people you're helping and frankly, a win for those who aren't or helped. And. What has happened in our time I believe and I have found. Through my reporting, is that. On any number of the most fundamental. Questions. Of what ails us as a society. There. Is a real change option, out there if we think hard and study hard. But.
Often That real change option, is expensive. For. The winners of our age one way or another and, then. Miraculously. A, fake, change light. Facsimile, of change, materializes. That. Is very inexpensive. For the winners and often what happens in our culture now in a culture overrun, by win-win, thinking, in my view is that we we, go for the fake change we go for the light facsimile, of change because, that kind of change is. Free, so. I'm gonna give a couple examples, in. Theory. Everybody in this room many many people in America would. Agree that we need to do a better job of empowering, women. Particularly. Empowering women at work, and in playing their many roles in life, now. We know if. You look at most countries, that have done this better than we have. The. Reason they generally have done this better than we have is social policy, like. They actually have maternity leave in a way that we do not as. Our law they. Actually, provide, a child care tax credit that, makes. It not, punitive, ly expensive, to. Go. To work after having a child and they. Do any number of other things at the level of the system and for, everybody. Well. What's the problem with all those ideas, expensive. Those. That's real money. That. We're, talking about multi-billion, dollar kind, of money to. Fix a problem like that it's not a mystery, but. It's expensive, so. What happens, we. Get an idea like lean in. Well. Again lean in seems great good, for your back to move around. What's. The problem with lean in it. Is telling women to bear. The burden of our. Failure, to, create the kind of policies that would actually help them it is telling women to bear the burden of sexism it is telling women to bear the burden of. Their. Lack of representation, in, the halls of power. And. This is what we often do we faced. With a real change that we know would make a difference. We. Gravitate, as a culture, and not just rich people people who then follow rich people's ideas and that includes many of us we. Gravitate, to. The lean in school. Of change which. Is cheaper and easier on the winners and frankly. For, many women unfortunately becomes, fake, change let's take another issue of Education. Across. This country right. And left rural and urban many. Many Americans, would agree with a problem with education many, Americans, I think would agree that if, you want to fix many of the deeper other problems, we have from climate, change to, our political polarization, to. Our economy. Education. Would be a great single, lever to make a lot of difference on a lot of those other issues right a good bargain, do. That get, a bunch of other fixes free. But. When the winners of our age as they very often do this is one of the most popular. Issues move into making public schools better what. Is their most common approach. Charter. Schools, right. Or, other. Kinds, of programs that maybe find help, match more effective, teachers of the students in need or things, like that. You. Know what the winners of our age don't do, in. General, when they approach. The problem public education America, they. Don't actually raise, the question of how we fund public schools in America which is a barbaric. Way. Of funding public schools which is funding public schools according to the value of essentially. The homes in your parents neighborhood, now. I don't know anybody in this building or any building who, could actually, sit. And look at a six-year-old in the face and explain, why their. Education. Should. Be indexed, to the home values, in their, neighborhood, I actually. Don't think there are right-wing people who. As a matter of deep principle, believe that that is the optimal, way to. Organize, an education, system, and. I. Think there are many people on the Left who would find that really objectionable. But, frankly who do nothing to challenge, that because in the neighborhoods where the winners live in the neighborhoods where perhaps many of us live. We. Benefit from a, system that, ring fences, our own property, taxes, for. Our own schools and that. Leaves schools in other parts of this country high and dry and. So. When the winners step, into social change they change change. They're. Not just joining change, they change what. Change is how its defined how, its talked about how it gets covered in the press and. Those. Are just two examples of, how that change, in how, we think about change can, actually be devastating, it can mean that, on some of the biggest issues of our time we move from, the.
Possibility, Of doing something transformational. Bringing. Millions of women into the workforce who. Find it hard to play, their many roles to. Sort of telling, them to raise their hand more. Actually. Funding public schools equally, and for all. But. You could achieve in theory. With a single Supreme Court ruling. Holding. This system that we currently have unconstitutional. Versus. What. A lot of rich people do which is setting. Up one. Charter. School in a poor neighborhood in their City and going and being on the board and mentoring and telling all their friends at the Country Club that, they help those three minority, kids get into Yale and it's. So great, so. Great. And. I'm happy to be having this conference I'm surprised, to. Be having this conversation at, Google and I'm happy, to, be having this conversation at, Google and I applaud. Whoever. It was who. Invited. Me or did not read my book, carefully. When. They invited me. Because. I think this is ground zero for this conversation it's ground zero for the following. Reasons that are obvious one, who. Represents, the winners of our age more than this institution. Who. Represents. The. Complexity. Of, win. Win change because, this, is not like. A coke brothers Factory, this. Is a company that I think we all know does tremendous real. Good in the world that has made a lot of money, making. A lot of people's lives better the win-win is real and you guys know that and live that every day, but. This is also a company that because, of the. Very real fact of the win-win can. Perhaps in my view be blind to the ways and the places. In which that story breaks down when, that ceases to be true you, may be the last to know, precisely. Because of how. Deep the truth is. What. If I write about some of you may have known. Him what worked for them is a guy named Justin Rosenstein. Worked. At Google and Facebook invented. Some. Very important. I think. He was one of the part of the team that admitted Google Drive but some very important. Things in this, company and. What. He and I talked about the win-win and he said you know the thing about tech that is so amazing, is that in tech. Particularly. There's other industries, where it's true but in tech particularly, there really are opportunities. Where you can have your cake and eat it too you, can make. Something that makes you a lot of money that, make that makes a big company it allows you to to. Have the. Darling of Wall Street, and you can truly make the world better and, he, said actually in in our interview Google, search out. Of the many things that you all do search is like the greatest example of this of all time it's. An incredibly, lucrative, franchise. That. Has. Immeasurably. Made the world better for all kinds of people right and I, think you could argue has, particularly empowered, people with the least power if you're a you. Know if you're a doctor, at Mount. Sinai here, in the US maybe. Google search made a certain amount of difference to you if you're a doctor in a very. Rural clinic in Uganda, the, marginal, effect of Google for you is probably. Transformative. So. That's very real. But. As I was speaking to Justin, I started. To realize. Where. We diverge, and where our perspectives. Divergent, I think, all of you know that the way in which America. Thinks about Silicon Valley and thinks about these companies has evolved over the last year. Or two and you may be feeling that and I. Started to realize where, we.
Justin, And I parted, from. That initial sense that yeah you. Can in some cases have-your-cake- and-eat-it-too make the world better and and and, and, make. A great company and make a lot of money and where. We diverged, was. The. World. He was. Calling for was a world in which the. Concentration. Of wealth and power and, the. Emancipation. Of mankind, could, both keep growing, in tandem, to. Infinity. If. He is right. That. A company. Like Google or Facebook or others is able to make money in ways. That. Just empower more people and and and do more public good the more money is made play. That out what. Is 50 more years of that look like what is a hundred more years of that look like it, is a vision in which it, is possible to imagine there. Are only three companies left in the United States but. Everybody is so empowered, they're tired of being empowered. And. I. Think even those of you who are here know that there's probably, some. Kind of irreconcilable, tension. In that vision. That. Needs to be thought through and worked out. And that's. Why I think. You. Will notice all around you and I. Think we notice all around us in this society more, and more of, a. Desire to challenge the win-win story to. Challenge you all who work in Google work in tech who work among. The winners of our age, to. Push yourselves a little harder, than. To simply say whatever we do happens to be what's best for Humanity to, explore, the. Uncomfortable. Possibility, that there are places and situations, and. They, may be more of them that you then you think we're, what is good for you and what is good for the world are different, and what. Will you do when you come to those places. That. Is a very important, question and what will the society do when. We come to those places a. Lot. Of the winners of our age. When. They're thinking about getting back when they're thinking about doing CSR, when they're thinking about any number of things a lot of the winners of our age ask the, following question what can I do, what. Can I start. What. Can I create. That's. An understandable question, in the age of entrepreneurship. Right, oh. What. A lot of the winners of our age refuse, to ask is what, am I already doing how. Am I already involved, in. These problems how am i complicit. In an. Economy. And a society that has been so unkind, to so many people even, as it built, and created amazing, things. How. Am i part of the central. Drama of American life today which. Is. More. Future, raining, on America than we know what to do with but. The very few harvesting, almost. All of that rain water, how. Am i involved, in that and how, could I be part of changing that and not, just what new initiative. Could. I create. So. I want to raise with you a. Couple. Of questions that I'm sure you think about a lot I'm sure you. Explore. Within and I'm. Raising them as questions, as an outsider, the. Obvious question that. Comes. Up again and again is the, question, of should Google be broken up right, is, this, company, intrinsically. Anti-competitive, and, just the scale. That. It's got. And. That's. A hard question right I mean do we divide. The room this way or would we divide the room this way I would how would we do it it's, an awkward thing to talk about let's be honest we're all feeling awkward right now because I'm talking about breaking up Google at Google. This. Happened all the time of this like never happens, never, happens yeah I told. You they didn't read my book and. So. I'll. Give you one example of. Where this question comes up in an important way in my. In. My industry which is the media right. One. Place where the story of what's good for us is good for Humanity one place where that breaks down I think an important, place we'd all agree an important place so, recent piece in The Guardian I'm, quoting in the, nine years since Google bought, the mobile ad company AdMob annual, ad revenue, at Google and Facebook has soared to more than ninety five billion dollars in almost forty five billion dollar forty billion dollars respectively, during this period ad revenue at newspapers, fell, around, fifty billion dollars in 2005 two hundred twenty billion dollars today and you.
All Know you read all the time the stories, that flow, from that, you. Know. Newspapers. Cutting they're laying off half their staff overnight, there's another one of those kinds of stories every day newsrooms. In America lost 40 percent of their people over the last, decade. Or two right. In my world and as a journalist, the. Professions, essentially, feels like something's been gutted. Right. They're just and. It's not the, New York Times and the post the you know that actually have some some, resources, and are gonna do okay it's. Every. State legislature, in this country that basically like doesn't have a full-time correspondent. Anymore, or sitting, there reporting. On what happens in the state there are many states in this country that basically, like. Their, legislative, process is now an unreported, thing. You might as well have the Chinese system because, what. Is done by public officials in that space is, not reported. On in a way that's presented, back to people now, did. Google go in and caused that effect, directly and mean - probably not right. But, most of the best thinking, on how. It is that in a very brief period you. Went from 50 billion dollars in ad revenue at newspapers, of 20 million billion, dollars. Involves. The rise of the online ad visits, which, is what. Powers what, you guys do but. Also and, this is not nowhere enough sour grapes it was like you. Did better than everybody else there's, the question of monopoly all. Right let's be real there's a real question of is, there the abuse of a monopolistic. Level. Of power over that online ad business that I mean does anybody really use Yahoo let's be let's be real here and. That. Creates, a condition in which. Newspapers. Could not, thrive. Even if they were. Thinking. Innovating, figuring, it out hacking, it reinventing. Themselves, that's, what monopolies means right, and I, am NOT an antitrust lawyer. And. I. Can't litigate that question, here today and I'm sure you're relieved and. But. I think it's an important, question and, certainly. In the EU you have people. Have grappled, with that question and have charged big fines to Google and have found, that there is an anti-competitive issue and that it is suffocating. To parts of the economy that we need full, of error and. The. Question is do you block that or. Do you let the public, do. What it needs to do on that score do. You obstruct, that or do you say. Okay. Here's. A place where Justin, Rosenstein theory. Cracks. A little bit here's. A place where there may be a divergence. Between what's good for me and good for the world and what, will your posture, be then if. It. Is simply to insist. On. The old story, more. Of what's good for you is more of what's good for the world, we. May live in a world in which this country doesn't have journalism, anymore that. Is not I will tell you as a working, journalist that is not a an insane. Possibility. That's. Not a remote, possibility it. May not be probable. But. In an era when the. Business is collapsing. With, the numbers I said to you and the president United States thinks. News is fake and, journalists. Are enemies of the people those are headwinds. That. May. Not be recovered, from. There's. The question also. Moving. On from the monopoly issue, there's. The question of. When.
Organizations. Like, this give back and help. What. Does that buy you in terms of influence. Right, when I say the. Winners change, change, by getting into the arena of change. There's. That whole. Controversy. That some of you may remember which, made, very big waves and was on the front page of newspapers, where. You. All had made some very well-meaning. Donations. To new America, the think tank which, does, exemplary. Work that it does work on actually. Thinking about how. Do you bring this country together how do you solutions, that are, cross. Partisan, and any, number of other, thinking. A lot of thing about democracy right now how do we protect and defend democracy right, now, but. When one of those, not. Just one person but one person plus a whole team of, thinkers. With, new America sponsorship, started to push the, question, actually I said I was moving away from monopoly it sort of related started, to push the question of what. Do we do about Google's, market power. Eric. Schmidt made his displeasure known, the. Guy was fired new. America spun off that think tank to. Itself right, and. There, was a whole discussion at new America and elsewhere about how, do we protect honest. Research and, scholarship. From. The. Winners. Of our age who have all the money now so they inevitably. Are going to end up sponsoring. Research. And. Thinking there. Are fewer, institutions, that have the kind of money to sponsor that thinking, and again. You get into this cycle of that very noble, giving. Comes. With strings attached and. It's, gonna take a lot of fortitude on your part and a lot of. Self. Protectiveness, on the part of think tanks and others. To. Take that help in ways. That don't compromise the help to. Take that help in ways that allow. Researchers. And thinkers to actually, push for real change and not be. Hobbled. By. The source of their, patronage. How. Many of you. Moving. On to a third issue how many of you. Feel. Like you have a good, sense. Of. What. Google lobbies, for in Washington. Who. It meets. What. Issues. It. Lobbies, on what, positions, it takes on those, issues who, it gives money to and in. Terms of campaign donations and how that is structured. To, kind, of deliver against those guys does, anybody here raise your hand if you think you know I. Mean. It's being done in your name. It's. Being done on behalf of your work they're, doing that to make your work to protect it to to. Allow. You to do your work but you don't really know that right and and and that's something that I've that. I've heard a lot and that. Companies. A lot. Of with a rubber, of. An, age of an extreme it quality hits the road a lot of where that happens is actually in lobbying not in the companies themselves right. Because, the companies are doing what they're doing but. In order for. That. Work to mean individual. People are at their head down at their desk doing their individual, thing it is, somewhere, else often. That. A particular policy. Is fought for. External. To you that, that that has to do with the interface, of the society, and the company, that. Is actually the place where out of your view a, certain. Policy is being fought for that would relax. The pressure on this or that would allow this or not allow this right. And. One. Of the things I've found and. I've been educated by you know going on book tour and talking to people and talking to a lot of people privately, about. Their experiences. Particularly. In Silicon Valley companies, like. Obviously, using that term broadly because we're in Boston. People. Are almost totally. Kept. In the dark about. What's. Being done with, their work and in their name and with the resources they generate, in the. Realm of politics. And. The. Reason that's important, is, I. Actually think, that. If, people in. These companies. Insisted. On the following idea I'm going to propose this idea and you guys see if you want to run with it I think. The employees of a company like this that is all about transparency, and open information you, should demand as, employees, to. Know have. An annual report not a financial, annual, report but another annual report, that is an audited, report. That discloses, to you as employees. The. Full lobbying, and political persuasion. Activities, of your company I, think. You should know those things, we. Can argue about whether I should know those things but I think you are entitled to know those things, and.
I, Think you should know if. Your, work is being. Used to spy on people in other countries I think you're a right to, know that because I think you have the right to decide whether or not you want to be part. Of that I, think. You deserve to know whether. Your. Work is being advocated for in, ways that foster. Your. Belief say in competition. Or in any, journalism. And any anything else or whether, you your work is being used. In, ways that undermine, your own values, that's. The whole point of having values, you're allowed to do you're, allowed to do you and the company is allowed to do it right. But. Often, that. Cognitive, dissonance that I actually have found as a very, deep, reality. In many many of these elite spaces, in our time my reporting, tells me there's, a huge, divergence. Between. Many, people, in the in these leading institutions, of our country there's, a huge divergence between what many workers, and executives, feel, and, the. Way their companies show up in the world and part. Of what allows that cognitive, dissonance to go on is. Not. Knowing, what. Your company actually how it fully shows up in the world not, knowing and, I, think that's something that that we could start right here at Google, with. Some of you insisting, that. You have the right to know that and you have the note give you the right to know what is being done with your work I. Think. One of the challenges of, some of these kinds, of ideas. Of looking, within, is. That. Because. There is some truth to the story that. You. Here at Google have. In. Your finger - at your fingertips, some genuine, tools of human liberation because there is truth in that story. It. Is possible, to also believe that anything that slows you down. From. Executing. On, your. Mission is. Bad. Journalists. Asking you questions bad. Regulators. Pushing back bad, courts. That want to slap fines on you slowing. You down from your mission of emancipation, and so, I think what's going to be incredibly, important, in. Phase. Two of. The, tech revolution if, we think of this backlash, that you've, been living with as a kind of pivot point I think was gonna be a real importance to be able to actually hold two. Different ideas in your head number one that, you have at your fingertips some genuine, tools of human liberation that if deployed, correctly can really make the world better number, two that there are large and, possibly. Growing, areas, of. Human. Societies, well what is good for you is different, from what is good for the world. And. Not. Just. Solving. Those problems or, Columbus, ignore way into those problems but actually first and foremost, not, being part of the obstruction, of. The. World as a world, as a society, as a nation as a city as an EU whatever, not. Being part of the obstruction, of the public solving those problems as, a public, an. Understanding. That a deeper, consequence, of. The. Kind of world you've fought to build a world that's transparent and has information and knows truth a consequence. Of that once you get big and powerful is that. Much of what that world is going to want may not benefit, you and to. Have the fortitude as I say to, to. Press on with, humility. In the face of the public's desire to solve some of its own problems, without. Your permission slip I. Think. When, you when. I was growing up I remember seeing on the news you know you'd see, news. Of some war-torn country, and you'd often. See. Like rebels, and, pickup, trucks. You. Know fighting this kind of ragtag, army fighting, an unjust King. Or fighting a. President. That was corrupt and, sometimes. The rebel army would win and, the. Guy in the back, of the pickup truck, would. End up in the palace. And. I think that's what happened to Tec this, was, in many ways an, industry, of renegades. And hackers and, tinkerers, and people, doing weird things and, I could imagine when, some, of these technology. And some of you may be old enough to remember some of these technologies were getting off the, ground I can. Imagine that, to. Be up against. General. Electric or Walmart, or IBM. You. Must have felt like rebels. Against the incredibly. Powerful. Establishment. But.
Here's The problem when, the rebel and the pickup truck ends up in the palace. You. Know you're in trouble if they keep wearing that beret. Think. Of Saddam, or Mugabe, the PD I mean the people who keep the beret on you know what happened to them they never, truly, process. Their. Own arrival. They. Actually never. Crossed. That threshold of, understanding, that I am now the establishment. That I was once fighting against I am. Now power I'm not, going. Up against power I'm not the rebel I am Goliath, now. And. There. Is a great danger in being a Goliath who. Thinks they're a David. There's. Great danger, in being an. Establishment. Figure. Who thinks, they're. A rebel, there's. Great danger in being a king. Who. Thinks they're an insurgent. And the. Danger, is a, blindness. To those spaces, where the story of what is good for me and good for the world breaks. Down I. Think. What would be really. Important, to start thinking about in this realm of tech. But. Would mark a new kind of maturity, as a. Response, to this backlash as a response, to the way in which the society seems, to be looking at you with new lenses, is. Actually, relinquishing. This. Fantasy, of the win-win. It's. A cherished fantasy. All. Of you seem to have positive. Associations. With it. But. I think maturity. Now. That you've ascended, to the palace, maturity. Means. Accepting. That. It is your job to play offense and it's. The Society's job to play defense, it's. The society's job to protect a bunch. Of things that are properly, its to protect, and. That you can't be in charge of both, you know there's that saying the best offense, the, best defense sorry, the best offense is the I'm very bad at sports the best offense, is defense, and, in. A way you. Tell us something similar. That. The best defense. Of our values and institutions as, a, society. Is letting, you play offense. Unencumbered. But. I think we have to accept that our best defense, as a society, is not, your offense. Maybe. That was true at some moment in time but I don't think, it can be true today I. Think. Those. Of you in the temples, of this new power. Need. To learn they do you and, let. Us do us. I think. You have to be learn to learn to be satisfied, with creating. And innovating, and profiting, and doing all those amazing things that you do and. Yes. By all means do, them with a view to making the world better. But. Also. Stepping. Out of the way, when. The society. Unimpeded. By you seeks, to tend, to its own welfare in. Ways that may be at your expense, that, may make it harder to build a particular business that. May mean more intrusion, into your affairs that, may mean. Less. Profitable, quarters, I. Think. If. You. If we think about what. It means for, this, industry. And spaces, like this to truly, accept. Their. Arrival to accept. Showing. Up in the palace and to take off that beret. It. Means actually it, will require. Moving. Past the win-win fantasy. Accepting. The. World's need to fight. For. Itself in ways that. May. Threaten you and. Above all actually. Because. I truly believe this. Above. All listening, more, and giving more space to. The voices of individuals, within this company and/or another and many organizations like.
It Who. I think. Privately. And they confess to me all the time and they. Did so for my book and now that I'm out in the world with the book I'm getting more and more messages every day. There. Is a quiet, rebellion. Happening, across many, of the. Victorious. Institutions, of our age. Tech. Big. Philanthropy. Any, number of big banks in Wall Street and, I get these messages every, day from people young, people often, but not only. Saying. I don't. Like. The way my institution shows up in the world I. Like. What I do. But. I can't defend what it does in, some. Bigger aggregate, way and, the. Way things are set up now people. Are sending me that in private, when. You guys probably know about it because you're at Google but in general, it's. Private to most people. And. I think what we got to think about is how do we actually. Let, those people that I'm convinced, there's a minority, of people at least of. Rank-and-file. People within some. Of the most powerful institutions, in our age who, know that, they are part of a system that they can't defend and who want it to be different but who are often isolated from, each other and don't quite know how to speak up and who sit, there calculating. In a meeting the risk of their speaking truth to power. And. I need to I think we need to think about how can. We create space for those people, because. Those people are the people who are actually. Going. To turn these ships in. Directions, they're going to make fewer people hate you and actually. May. Help. You get out of the way of. The. Society, doing what you have long been committed to doing which is changing the world for, the better thank. You very much. So. I think a lot, of the there's. An idea I think that's at the root of a lot of people not wanting to for example increase. The top marginal tax rate to fund early early. Childhood education that kind of thing is this, idea and I think it's wrong that, the government can't do anything right and I think it's because, the. Government is doing things right all the time and it's transparent and we don't notice it unless it's not there. Why. Or why isn't, changing people's minds about that that. Particular thing, sort, of the part. Of the solution where people, might stop hoarding, their money and then spending. It privately and support, higher tax rates for example I think that's a such a great question and you're absolutely right, the. Way that I tell the story in the book is, there. Was a has. Been a 30 or 40 year all-out, war. Mainly. From the political right in this country against, the very idea, of government. Against. The idea of virtually, of having a government. Government. Is the problem government is the enemy the government's taking this the government's doing that right now. I think most people here probably don't subscribe to that version of the theory. That, has, been a very successful revolution. My. Government has truly. Scaled back. That. There's a reason that that private philanthropy, giving a certain approach the. Level of. Federal. Non-military. Spending, discretionary spending. But. One, of the things I explore in the book is that, that, revolution, prosecuted. By the political right didn't end there because, often what happens when, a revolution like that succeeds, is that, it kind of changes, the cultural, atmosphere in which everybody operates, and even. Those on the other side of it end up. Playing on its field. If. You see that I mean, you, may be you, may be an an opponent, of that idea but. You're not playing that game you're forced to play that game so. It, is not an accident that after Reagan said the you know government. Is the problem. Some. Years later Bill Clinton from the other party very, different world view very, much, more favorable, view of government nonetheless. Said, the era of big government is over, right. That's what it means to be an. Opponent. Who's still fundamentally, playing on someone else's field, and. I. Fully. Fully fully agree with you that one of the most essential, things we need to do and I end the book by talking about this on a hopeful note is. We need to redeem the idea of government people's, eyes is the, government, bloated. And inefficient, and underfunded, and not good at a bunch of things yeah but, as you say. The. Government is also a miracle, all the things that go right I mean have you been to other countries where you need to. Like. Do, a lot of the homework before you eat out in public. To. Figure out make sure you know when was the last time you got sick eating in a restaurant in America what. Was the last time you put your kid in a car seat and wondered. If it had been properly tested, when. Was the last time you. Know you stayed. In a hotel room and wondered if it, was safe or been combed like, when was the last time, you. Know you think about all. The people degreed in this society I mean Wall, Street for, all that it does wrong. It is so carefully.
Regulated, And hyper regulated, you can't just do crazy stuff, except. Every now and then when you can and take the world economy. But. We forget, like how much works right because we have not. Some big overbearing. Like. Evil stepdad of a government but because we have a government. That actually in all these million, done some ways tends to come welfare and I what I would say I'm not saying Google specifically, but Silicon, Valley institutions. And the complex of thinking around tech have, been part I think of. Discrediting. Government. Of. Framing. Government, as this, old. Kind. Of 1.0, thing. That. Can't, really fix things anymore and. Crediting. The, kind of innovative, sphere as being the place for a real change happens, and, I think that's very unfortunate, not. Least because the entire internet was made by the government in its origin but, also because. There's. A real reason that Silicon, Valley didn't arise in another country. Right. A lot, of the common, institutions we, share in this country the courts the boring, stuff the. Yearning realize, allows you to do what you do our. Public, things are common things the things we share in common and we need to give those things more credit otherwise, we're gonna head into a society that is, actually like many, very poor countries where there's a lot of rich people and some great companies and most people that is not part of a are, just not part of the economy are not part, of building a better world I don't think that's actually well that anybody wants to live in so. In your discussion today you've talked about some of the problems that can result from good-faith, actors, who. Maybe grow, about things in a way that's not helpful, to society how, much of the problem do you think comes from bad faith actors or like how much do they end up co-opting. Or corrupting good, faith efforts that's. A great that's a great question I mean I, focus. This book on. People. Who I think are genuine, in trying to make a difference and. To. End up upholding, the system that causes the problems but you're exactly right and, I. Think that has more to do with what I was saying a moment ago I think, when. I think about the Koch brothers I. Don't. They're not part of my story. When. I think about Fox. News, that's. Not part of my story I don't think that those are people. Chiefly. Motivated, by making the world a better place I think. Those are people who wanted to grab wealth. And power and understood, that a certain kind of influence. Campaign. And changing, people's norms, and values and. And and, and kind of tricking. Astroturfing. Issues, so that regular people supported. Things that actually benefit billionaires. That. That was a cynical. Effort. To. Achieve their own business interest at, the expense of the society, and the you know there's a very good book on that called, dark money by Jane Mayer about how that was done that's, not my story my, story is the story of how. Is it that Mark Zuckerberg. Can. Be one of the most powerful idealists. In. American, history but. Also the first person in American history to potentially. Allow. An election, to be compromised. And. And. Are those things just a coincidence, or his idealism. Part. Of why he was able to get enough power to have. The. Election be compromised, and part, of why when. Reporter. Friends of mine have tried to investigate what happened and what happened with Kim Jenna let her go they get so much pushback from.
Him And his company they could barely do their job his, his idealism and his sense of himself as a savior, part. Of what actually allows. That problem. To. Happen the way it did so. You asked the question, what. Are we already, doing, and. One answer, that comes to mind that I see. At Google, and elsewhere is the issue of, subcontracting. There's, a great New York Times article recently comparing. A janitor, at Kodak think, in the 70s and a general Apple today and back in the day the janitor at Kodak received, the same vacation and, health, benefits, as every, other Kodak, employee and now the, janitor at Apple is an. Employee of some contracting. Company and they're. Not receiving any of the same benefits. And I, my understanding, as the situation is similar. Here. And. We. See, these workers every day, can. You can, you comment at all on that particular. Situation. That's, a great, question is another story even more recently the Kodak one was amazing there's, another story a couple of days ago about. Harvard. And Harvard, the students, at Harvard. On. The exact same issue you named revolted, against the administration, and, basically. Forced, them to stop doing this thing of, subcontracting. It out to like you. Know essentially, it's like the labor version of shell companies so. That you can say uh I had, no idea they didn't provide maternity leave I'm shocked shocked, and. Harvard. Students found out about that and pushed. Larry. Summers was the president of Harvard at the time and. Harvard. Fixed it and they, you, know the probe the story was focused, on on this woman. Who. Works I forget what part of the university, she works in but, she makes machine. Her husband between them make like a low, six-figure, income both doing like working-class, jobs it's, exactly like what it used to be at Kodak, in. The past and they, make a good living they have a home they're, living in dignity, and decency and, it. Was because students, said. Don't. Clean, up after us or. Don't. Serve us food in. A way that's degrading other people and so look one, of the things that people have talked about is you all like relative, to most employees in America you have a lot of power, you. Really do. Right. The China thing the Microsoft can have like these are also like. Particularly. The people with the kind of I think coding an engineering background, like have an enormous, amount of power in these companies but, you all have a lot of power like this you're, very talented people and each of you in general with, a couple exceptions there's always a couple exceptions but each of you generally, would be a huge loss for your company right each of you. They. Don't want your talent, next. Door fighting. For someone else right, and. I think I don't think about like how do you use that how do you if you if if there were people at this company who wanted to work, on that issue i. 100%. Guarantee you, you could get that issue done in a month and. That would have a huge, effect. How. Many offices Google have around the world. But. Now. We have a huge real, effect, like, this month on a lot of people's lives on, people's kids and whether the kids can go to school or not right, like real real that's.
An Example of using that, power in, a way that feels right and I but. But that involves, a painful, conversation, about look that's gonna cost real money, that's. Gonna come at the expense of something, and. Those. Are exactly the kind of conversations, that I would encourage you to have. And I think one of the myths. One. Of the people that read. The book recently an explorer, kind of Leonard meant for her she said it's very profound thing which is this. Book has. Raised has. Made me, resist. My urge to overestimate. The. Risks. Of speaking truth to power I think. We all tend to overestimate the, risk of speaking truth to power I actually think if you raise the issue you raise I don't think anything would happen to you and. We, could all do more, on. This front so thank you for your question and good luck with your campaign, thank you. Looking. Forward to reading your book and thank you for in, your word speaking, in, the belly of the coming and speaking in the belly of the beast. My, question, is regarding. Global. Movement of capital right I mean there is absolute. Impunity. And the issue that you spoke about. Healthcare. Education all, of these are national issues. How. Without. Any democratic control over over. Movement. Of capital versus, say, movement of labor how. Are we going to make any real effective, changes, and what of, course, this is a very general question but what do. You think we, as kuku employees, can. Even, say. Or do about something that's a great question I mean I so, when I think about if. You're persuaded, by me that we need to do less of the fake change and more real change it's nothing okay what are the three or four really. Big areas. Of American, life, where. A little. Tinkering is not gonna solve it where we you. Know we need some transformational. Reform I would. Say a couple one is health. Regardless. Of what your view is on the right system, I think we can all agree like we're not UK healthy country. It's. Very cruel people, are dying of things they don't need to die of life expectancy is going down it's not supposed to move in that direction like. Health, I think, we'd all agree on education, as another in a major area major, transformational. Change required simply, to keep up with where the world is I think a third area is labor and thinking about work, and the kind of question that. Was, raised by that woman but also, questions. Around like what. Is it what does it mean to protect an uber driver from the vicissitudes, of the. Gig economy and, you know it's not the. Solutions, we have don't really fit the realities, we've created but, the fourth area that I think is a big one is when you raise which is. In. A world where money, is. Not. Necessarily a physical thing in your wallet not, just the thing in an account anymore either but, can be crypt I'm not even understand what all these things are but that you probably do you know but is virtual, and can bounce around untraced, and can be anonymized, and can be you know move through shell companies have transferred, and, turned. Into things faster, than any government, may. Ever be able to make. Sense of, what. Does it mean to tax people. Right. Like. Let's. Just face reality, many. Of the largest American corporations. Do. Not pay corporate income tax any given year, we're. Talking about big big big big companies. Companies. That make an, enormous, amount of money right. There's the double dutch with an irish sandwich i don't know if you ever eaten that but that's a tax, maneuver, that saves, you know a lot, of companies pretend, to be a lot bigger in ireland and they actually are let's put it that way. You. Got all these tax havens that kind of. Individuals, use that and others and. I think we just have to face I don't know what the answer is but. In a world in which it is as easy, as it is and, by the way all of that that I described is like without any of those crypto stuff having really affected it right we haven't even seen, like. When GE adopts, crypto, right. Like it's. Gonna be a slip and then, that becomes part of how, we have to figure out tax sake like it's gonna be a nightmare. And. We're very if, we're not careful we are heading into a world in.
Which The. Most important, pots of money to, tax to, fund a. Basic. Common existence. Are, gonna be invisible to the taxation authorities, and, so. What can you at Google do I mean your play the. Technology. And know how you have your pipe one of the few people who can actually think. About solving that issue how. Do we from the beginning, of this. Money revolution, that's happening how. Do we. Embed. In. That. Those inventions. The. Ability, to tax. People right, that may be very empty and that's antithetical to why, a lot of these people do cryptic right. But. One, of things were going to the internet that you know very well is like early, design choices matter a lot right. The. Internet was designed to. Protect, anonymity. And. That's very hard to work. Around that well the. Internet it ended, up being this like incredibly. Abusive racist, space that you know and if. Persistent. Identity had been more. Of a part of the early design of the internet maybe, the internet would be in a different way, maybe people would behave online more than way they do at cocktail parties which is like occasionally. Mean but not you know calling, people by like racist names every time they say, something that slightly offends them, these. Kind of design choices matters sorry I think it's worth thinking well how do you design money. There's new money in a way that is, not gonna lead to a world in which there is no money for the common good so I'm. Really glad you came here also I, came, to hurt your energy on Ezra Klein which I thought was great and is, he's, like one of the greatest, viewers over he's. Very good like I I was struck by like. How. How. Much. You seem to get all of it right like I don't have a lot of I, don't. See a lot of what having the big plans like but it all makes sense like you have a whole bunch of people who like there's concentrated, wealth they're, gonna give money those, people are gonna be, unintentionally. Influenced by like that that all like everything. You see made a ton of sense and. To. Your. Question, I've, actually brought stuff to an SVP so, I was one of like 5,000. Of his reports and brought, him some like you know I pushed. Him directly so, and got no retribution on. That issue or a different issue a completely, different issue but just like I. Don't. Mind. Getting, yelled at that's, an important, asset and make me change, I got. Surprisingly. Little. Pushback as it went up the chain only. Just like crisp, up your message but like. Go. For it. The. Only thing I want to push back on is like it's. It's. Not always easy to tell when, you're being the Goliath or not so. Google. Will start off as a very small company we crew we put a lot of businesses, out of business. Was. That bad which. Of those businesses do we put out a business boys. Act like, there's there's some I think trail of relatively clear-cut cases but a lot of cases like, companies. Grow, and then they get old and they become inefficient and they eventually go out of business that Google, will. Not be in business probably, 300 years from now. That's. Okay so. Like how like what what is your yeah my god a simple answer for that that's actually embedded in the law. It. Is not bad to put another company out of business when, you do so out of an abundance of competition. It. Is bad to put another company out of business when you do so because of a lack of competition, so when you guys were starting out and you were. Smarter. And nimbler, than. Competitors, and there were competitors, and and and, and people wanted to come to you instead of them I don't think anybody cries, for that except, the people who are being disrupted. As you guys say right but. I think when. You get to a state where there's like for many people, wanting to advertise, basically. Only one company, left to, do their ad buy on and, you. Then see. Like. The New York Times or. The Washington Post or actually more to the point swallow newspapers. Struggling. To. Exist. At. That point I don't think. That. Business is struggling. Because. Only. A competition. I think, if there were eight, Google's, vying for the online ad business. That. Price. Dynamics, in the market might be different. Enough that newspaper could compete. So. I think, you have to ask yourself, when is there an abundance of competition, and when have we become the thing. That. Results. In a lack of competition. Thank. You. Thank. You for embracing the awkwardness. You.