Winners Take All Book Review

Winners Take All Book Review

A Growing Divide

Anand Giridharadas, a former foreign correspondent for The New York Times, draws attention to the hypocrisy practiced among the “philanthropic” elites in his Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World. Giridharadas introduces us to “MarketWorld,” the universe in which corporate executives, thought leaders,  and globalists operate. While MarketWorld has grown aware of the fractures that have emerged in our society, they seek to find “win-win” solutions to our many problems. The elites believe themselves to be the agents of change who can usher in an era of global prosperity, assuming its on their terms. In MarketWorld, wage stagnation, growing inequality, and systemic racism can all be addressed through the free markets, strategic investments, automation, and revamped business models. What Giridharadas makes clear, though, is that those in MarketWorld must make sacrifices to repair these societal fractures. We learn that they have so far systematically ensured they won’t have to do so.

Bandaids Can’t Stop the Hemorrhage

Davos, the Aspen Institute, TED, and the Clinton Global Initiative. These are all gatherings of elites in which speakers share superficial solutions to our deep rooted problems. Those in attendance are told that we need to zoom in on the individual in order to empower him or her to speak up in the boardroom or find the perseverance to escape the cycle of poverty. The speakers who frequent these conferences tailor their presentations to the elites paying them. They make their messages as palatable as the bite sized tacos served by the waitstaff. With a focus placed on the individual, MarketWorld can avoid the scrutiny for creating a system in which the fortunate few can profit.

While Giridharadas does pull some punches, he doesn’t spare all of the MarketWorld operatives. Members of the Sackler family are known to many as philanthropists who donated millions to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University. Giridharadas points out that their company, Purdue Pharmaceuticals, is largely responsible for the opioid epidemic due to its creation and aggressive marketing of OxyContin. Donating millions does not excuse the billions made from getting the nation addicted to your pills. Giridharadas also mentions philanthropic bankers, technology executives, and university professors by name in describing the injustices MarketWorld created.

Maintaining the Status Quo

While the elites spend money on “win-win” initiatives and donate to their pet causes, they also spend fortunes maintaining the status quo. Corporate lobbyists descend upon Washington to ensure labor unions don’t disrupt business as-usual and tax bills are kept to a minimum. MarketWorld feels it can implement change while preventing major change from occuring. The hypocrisy that Giridharadas so vividly illuminates kept me from putting his book down. Giridharadas proposes that increased government regulation, higher corporate and personal tax rates, and better access to healthcare may actually help our ailing nation realize the changes the elites so publicly state they support. This, of course, would slow the gravy train they so very much enjoy riding on.

Winners Take All offers a pointed explanation of why there is growing discontent with the elites in our society. With such vast resources being spent on maintaining the status quo, I fear we will grow increasingly more divided. I prepare for the moment when those who have been left behind assert themselves. One could only hope this assertion isn’t done violently.

If you’d like to chat further about the book, feel free to contact me or leave a comment in the comment section. You can find other books I enjoy in the Bunker Basics Store.

Winners Take All Book ReviewWinners Take All Book Review

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Daisy Luther Prepper Interview

Daisy Luther Prepper Interview

Introducing Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther has been a godsend to the prepper community.

She manages multiple preppiDaisy Luther Prepper Interviewng websites like The Organic Prepper, Preppers Daily News, and Preppers Market and has authored The Prepper’s Canning GuideThe Prepper’s Water Survival Guide, and The Pantry Primer. She has published thousands of articles about prepping and also shares alternative news on her websites. I had the pleasure of interviewing Daisy Luther and I’m eager to share the transcript with you:

Daisy’s Story and Motivation

Bob: Many people experience hardship in their lives that draw them towards prepping. I understand that you faced your own hardship that ultimately led you to what’s become a successful and enjoyable career. Can you share your story with our readers?

Daisy: Well, after my father passed away, I was left very unhappy

with my current situation. I was living in the city, working about 60 hours a week, and utterly miserable. I had some serious financial problems, including the loss of my home and car. Then my children’s father died suddenly (we had been divorced for many years but it was still a terrible blow for our family) and I rethought everything I was doing. I took a payout to leave the company where I worked and decided it was “now or never” if I wanted to write for a living. My eldest went off to college and my youngest and I moved out to the boondocks, which is where we lived when I began my blog.

Bob: You’re a prolific producer of content consumed by the prepper community. What motivated you to start writing about your prepping practices?

Daisy: Well, they say to write about what you know, and what I opted to write about was the things I was doing at that time as well as my observations about what was going on in the world. I figured I was learning stuff and other people might also like to learn the same things. One thing I always hated about prepping blogs was how “perfect” the writers always were. I vowed to write about the good, bad, and ugly – so successes AND failures – and luckily, other people were interested in what I was writing.

Bob: You’re undoubtedly busy writing books and managing your websites, but I imagine you have some free time. What are your hobbies?

Daisy: I’m not really good at just sitting around. I read a lot, and in the evenings with family, I usually work on some kind of project while we watch Netflix. Right now, it’s crocheting some Christmas gifts. We also travel as often as possible. I know that shocks a lot of people in the preparedness world, but I think it’s important not to just hunker down in your home if you enjoy doing other things. Life is meant to be lived. I focus strongly on skills and hope this is enough should something terrible happen when we’re away from our home base.

Prepping for The Event

Bob: I’d argue that every prepper has at least one potential cause of their advanced preparation. What potential “Events” keep you up at night?

Daisy: Currently, the escalation of the current unrest in our country. Neighbor turning against neighbor. It isn’t as dramatic as an EMP taking down the grid but I think it’s a lot more likely.

Bob: What would you say is the number one prepper skill that would differentiate you from other survivors in a post-apocalyptic world?

Daisy: That’s a hard question. I would have to say it’s my adaptability. That may not sound like much of a skill, but I’ve lived in a lot of different places – I’m kind of a nomad – and at each place, I have picked up potentially life-saving information. From dealing with – 48-degree temperatures in the forests of Canada to landslides and droughts in California, I’ve been fortunate to pick up knowledge about things like heating off-grid, handling natural disasters, predicting the flow of events in an emergency, water conservation, animal husbandry, and gardening.

I think there’s a lot to be said for the whole “Jack of all trades, master of none.” And what I mean by that is that it doesn’t have to be a negative. I may not be a trained physician but due to my variety of experiences, I’ve picked up bits of knowledge that could one day be lifesaving. I was never trained in how to raise a baby deer, but because I knew their physiology was similar to goats, I was able to keep a rescued fawn alive and well for several weeks until an organization could pick her up.

My knowledge of the history of collapses and disasters means that I usually have a good idea of what is likely to happen next. You can apply this across a huge variety of situations. Not everyone is a homesteader or a wilderness survival guru, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t still survive. They just might survive differently.

The Prepping Community

Bob: When I began prepping I was amazed by the size of and the engagement within the prepping community. Which preppers do you look up to, collaborate with, or stay up to date with?

Daisy: A couple of the guys who write for my website have taught me a lot. There’s Jose, a gentleman who survived the collapse of Venezuela and escaped with his family. Then there’s my good friend Selco, who survived the Balkan Wars in Bosnia.

Bob: Unfortunately, there are those who are outright hostile towards preppers. I can appreciate healthy skepticism, but I myself have experienced a share of internet abuse due to my beliefs. How do you handle the “trolls” and others who spew vitriol in the comment sections of your websites?

Daisy: I usually just let them spew. Most of the time, a reader will say something to them in my defense. I don’t want to get down on the ground with them. It’s just not worthwhile, and it’s unnecessary stress.

Sometimes they have good points, although hostilely expressed. When that’s the case, I try to turn the conversation into a positive one.

Bob: Some people stereotype preppers as “tinfoil hat crazies.” You’ve been blogging for over half a decade. Who are your readers, where are they from, and would you consider them to be practical?

Daisy: I have such a wide array of readers. Because I am neither a conservative nor a liberal, I have readers from all points on the political spectrum. I try hard to be respectful of their opinions for the most part. I have learned from this that what the mainstream focuses on is the extremes and most people are just not extremists.

I have people with a big variety of living situations – city folks, people who live in suburbia, and homesteaders out in the country. I love the variety and it adds a lot to the comments section.

Most preppers are very practical – it’s what led them to prepping.

Homeschooling

Bob: Your youngest daughter is homeschooled and has excelled academically as a result. What do you believe to be the benefits of homeschooling relative to “traditional” schooling (aside from its compatibility with prepping)?

Daisy: First things first, it really depends on the kid. My oldest daughter would have been completely miserable if she had been homeschooled. She thrived in a classroom. I think it’s very important to not make a blanket statement because it is not right for every child.

The best thing about homeschooling was the freedom it offered. We did a great deal of traveling and the cool thing about that is how it brings the lessons to life. If you are learning about how the United States was settled and then you go to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, that is a lesson that truly sinks in. If you are navigating through the United States using a paper atlas, you’re going to remember that geography. As well, when we had a small homestead, there were loads of lessons on the farm – anatomy on butchering day, botany while hiking – you get the idea.

Following Daisy

Bob: How can people stay in touch with you on social media?

Daisy: On Facebook, my page is The Organic Prepper, but the real way to interact is to join my group, Prep Club. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/op.prepclub/) We have great discussions there. I’m on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as @DaisyLuther

I know that social media isn’t for everyone, so you can also find me on my website. Definitely subscribe to my daily newsletter – there’s information in there sometimes that isn’t published elsewhere.

Bob: Thanks so much for your time. I really enjoyed our conversation.

Daisy: You’re very welcome! It was lovely talking with you!

Have any more questions, or want to see other interviews? Contact me.

Daisy Luther Prepper Interview