In the last couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I term defensive elites. This line of thought began with curiosity about the much-reported hyperbole with which some influential figures within the financial elite of the United States greeted what would barely count as mildly redistributive […]
There’s a disturbing snippet in Naomi Klein’s latest book, No Is Not Enough, discussing the growing market for disaster-preparation amongst well-heeled elites. While it’s possible there’s a large element of conspicuous consumption at work here, amongst people who have more disposable income than things they can buy with it, it […]
What do we think of when we imagine elites exercising their power? There are many ways we can approach such a question, with varying degrees of abstraction. But reading The Divide: American Injustice In The Age Of The Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi, has left me preoccupied by how they […]
From Rethinking Social Exclusion, by Simon Winlow and Steve Hall, pg 116: One of these is the apparent desire of the rich to retreat into private enclaves free from the malignancies of the real world. They want to encounter only those judged safe, subservient or ‘like them’ –and even then […]
In my search for ‘defensive elites’, which is to say high-net worth individuals exhibiting insecurity and defensiveness about their position within society, I’ve tended to focus on the business world. But this fabulously readable book by Harry Browne, The Frontman: Bono (in the Name of Power), suggests I’ve cast the […]
A really interesting overview of the changing composition of the 1%, including the over-stated but nonetheless interesting claim that we are seeing the beginning of a new age in which the 0.1% are coming out from “their behind-the-scenes positions and stepping right onto the political stage”: All told, the 0.1 percent now […]
I wonder how widespread this sentiment is? Obviously there are particular aspects of the Cameron case that this analysis applies to, but it’s hard not to suspect that it reveals a broader world view in which wealth is seen as a constraint due to residual class antagonism: You often hear […]
To what extent can we see this same idea expressed today, through the discourse of ‘wealth creators’? What action does it license in the minds of those who hold it? What action might it license?
A great round up plutocrats being absurdly defensive about their social position: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-12-20/bankers-join-billionaires-to-debunk-imbecile-attack-on-top-1- If anyone encounters further examples of this, I’d love it if you were willing to share them with me. I’m in the early stages of trying to systematically catalogue this stuff.
This is a fascinating account in Mother Jones of the, seemingly botched, attempt by the Koch brothers and their political organisation to smear a New York Times journalist: Prize-winning New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer made headlines recently when she released a new book, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires […]